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CBS REPORTS PATERNO DEATH PREMATURELY

January 23, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Penn State football coach Joe Paterno died Sunday morning, although CBS News, using the technology that pushes news of major breaking events to mobile phones and tablets and to Twitter and Facebook users, posted word of his death on Saturday night. “Eye On College Football – Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno dies at 85 – Cbssports,” it said. Although the report did not attribute news of his death to the Penn State student news website Onward State, that was the apparent source of the erroneous report. “Our sources can now confirm: Joseph Vincent Paterno has passed away tonight at the age of 85,” Onward State had said. After CBS’s report, other news organizations picked up the story, many of them attaching canned obituaries. But some, including CNN, the New York Times and the Associated Press, decided to corroborate it first. Minutes later, the Times quoted a Paterno family spokesman as saying that the reports about Paterno’s death were “absolutely not true.” At which point CBS and the other news outlets that had moved the false story retreated, with several of them blaming the student website for the original misinformation. Mortified, Devon Edwards, the Onward State managing editor, ran a retraction. “To all those who read and passed along our reports, I sincerely apologize for having mislead [sic] you,” he said, adding, “In this day and age, getting it first often conflicts with getting it right, but our intention was never to fall into that chasm.” Edwards submitted his resignation. Not until nearly four hours after its original report did CBS Sports post an apology on Twitter, simply saying, “CBSSports.com extends apology to Paterno family”.