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Here we go again: Death reports on Twitter greatly exaggerated
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By Lisa Glowinski
Penny Riordan manages digital content partnerships for GateHouse Media. She works out of the Center for News and Design in Austin. Prior to joining the company, she worked at Patch.com for four years, where she led social media, blogging and UGC ...
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Penny Riordan manages digital content partnerships for GateHouse Media. She works out of the Center for News and Design in Austin. Prior to joining the company, she worked at Patch.com for four years, where she led social media, blogging and UGC efforts for the company. She also launched a Patch site in Maryland. Penny has also worked as a reporter and editor at newspapers in Maryland and Connecticut.
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A week after the anniversary of false reports of Ariz. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' shooting death, Twitter quickly spread false reports of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno's death Saturday night. Paterno passed away Sunday morning of lung cancer.



The sin here was not necessarily the first report of his death by OnwardState.com -- its info was based on a note about Paterno's passing reportedly sent to members of the PSU football team; the email turned out to be fake -- but the ensuing retweet and broadcast of the news, based simply on the fact it was on the Internet.



Kudos to the student editor who posted the first erroneous tweet -- he resigned the same night in a letter of profuse apology to his readers and the Paterno family. But come on, CBS News -- seemingly the first major media outlet to report the misinformation online and on TV -- people were calling for your head. Yes, you corrected your story and apologized, but don't you think more was needed? You'll find out how much your credibility has sunk the next time you have breaking news, I guess.



Poynter's Jeff Sonderman put together a good Storify timeline of the events, if you weren't following the drama Saturday night.



So if anyone out there still thinks getting it first is better than getting it right, I hope this helps you see you're wrong.

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