CBSSports.com – Earlier Saturday night, CBSSports.com published an unsubstantiated report that former Penn State coach Joe Paterno had died. That mistake was the result of a failure to verify the original report. CBSSports.com holds itself to high journalistic standards, and in this circumstance tonight, we fell well short of those expectations.
CBSSports.com extends its profound and sincere apology to the Paterno family and the Penn State community during their difficult time.
I wasn’t on twitter much yesterday, and I couldn’t figure out why an old Joe Paterno blog was getting a ton of traffic. Welp, this explains it. CBS Sports wasn’t the only gigantic news outlet that got duped by a student newspaper at Penn State called Onward State. Read this full report of how the snowball got rolling. Incredibly fascinating. In conclusion, even the finest of news outlets are gonna get it wrong sometimes trying to break a story. Idiots. Good luck getting better, Joe Pa.
Oh and here’s the statement released by the man that started it all.
A letter from the Managing Editor of Onward State:
Earlier this evening, Onward State reported that Joe Paterno had passed away. However, the mountain of evidence stacked opposite that report is too much to ignore. At this time, I would like to issue a retraction of our earlier tweets.
I never, in a million years, would have thought that Onward State would be cited by the national media, and today, I sincerely wish it never had been. To all those who read and passed along our reports, I sincerely apologize for misleading you. To the Penn State community and to the Paterno family most of all, I could not be more sorry for the emotional anguish I am sure we caused. There are no excuses for what we did. We all make mistakes, but it’s impossible to brush off one of this magnitude. Right now, we deserve all of the criticism headed our way.
In this day and age, getting it first often conflicts with getting it right, but our intention was never to fall into that chasm. All I can do now is promise that in the future, we will exercise caution, restraint, and humility.
I can only hope and pray that the outstanding work our writers and photographers do on a day-to-day basis is not overshadowed by the events of tonight. I understand that our reputation is in serious question, but I hope you will continue to stand by us as we do everything in our power to make amends.
To begin that process, I will be stepping down from my post as Managing Editor, effective immediately. I take full responsibility for the events that transpired tonight, and for the black mark upon the organization that I have caused.
I ask not for your forgiveness, but for your understanding. I am so very, very, sorry, and we at Onward State continue to pray for Coach Paterno.
Just like that… resigned. Student journalism went toe-to-toe with the internet…and lost.