CBS Fires Blogger that Incorrectly Reported Joe Paterno’s Death

Adam Jacobi, the blogger responsible for the story released by CBS Sports that incorrectly reported Joe Paterno’s death, has been let go.

“I had an awesome 17 months with CBSSports.com. I’m sorry to everyone, most importantly the Paterno family, for how it ended.”

Adam Jacobi (@Adam_Jacobi)January 27, 2012 (The Business Insider).

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Has the Rush to be First Disturbed Basic Ethics of Journalism?

As a print journalism enthusiast, I often hear that the newspaper, and other print forms will die out, leading to a complete digital era. Many class discussions focus on the rush for newspapers and magazines to have a firm online stand. No longer has it become acceptable to print today’s news tomorrow, information is constantly being updated and added to these media sites. In addition to become digital, news must now be instant, further driving the need for media outlets to be the first to release information, the first to break a story, the first to interview a celebrity or person of interest. But, has the need to be the first to publish or share information, shaken the core ethics of Journalism?

No I’m not being dramatic, let me provide you with a simple and recent example.

On Jan. 21, Joe Paterno, former foot ball coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions was falsely declared dead by a tweet.  Onward State, an alternative paper based at Penn State Main, who is often competing with The Daily Collegian, the official campus student newspaper,  declared Paterno to be no more. In hast to be among the first media outlets to report changes in Paterno’s condition,  CBS Sports went ahead and released Paterno’s obituary without citing a direct source for news about Paterno’s death.

Media outlets such as Onward State, The Daily Collegian and CBS must surely have codes of ethics. What was the decision like when deciding to publish information about Paterno’s death. How did the need to be first play a role in the decision? Did it weigh more than the need to verify information?

What has happened to the days of double, perhaps triple checking sources?

The false report of Paterno’s death caused a great stir among Penn State fans, and among several of the people I follow on twitter. Imagine my surprise Saturday night, as people  began replying to the tweets of larger media outlets, correcting their mistake.

Paterno is not the only one who has been falsely declared dead by the media. Over a year ago news organizations pronounced Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifforddead after a shooting in Arizona. Giffords has recently resigned from Congress.

It is rather unlikely that mistakes like these will stop, as the demand for instant information will never go away. Should media outlets compromise their ethics in the drive to be first? What do you think?

Where Do Your Rights Begin? Where do they end?

This week hundreds of protesters gathered on Wall St., the business capital of New York, to voice their disaproval of the present state of democracy.  The plan was to camp out on Wall St., for days, weeks, months if possible. According to the organizers’ web site, Occupy Wall Street, “We want freedom for all, without regards for identity, because we are all people, and because no other reason should be needed.However, this freedom has been largely taken from the people, and slowly made to trickle down, whenever we get angry.”

When protesters arrived at the designated site on September 17, they found that police barricades on portions of the the street, preventing protesters from fully occupying Wall St. Activist Luella Mink, from the Lupe Fiasco Street team was among the protesters. Through twitter she has shared that musician Lupe Fiasco has played a major role in the protest, donating tents and hosting discussions. According to Mink, it has been mentioned that the bigger tents may be used as learning facilities during the protest.

As the protest continues it will be interesting to see both the authorities and media’s reactions.

Hurricane Irene

The first time I experienced a hurricane I was about five years old. We were living in a pink headmaster’s house in Cockburn Town, San Salvador, Bahamas. I can vividly remember the neighbors boarding their windows in preparation for the hurricane. When Hurricane Lili struck the island she came in full force, I now know it was because the eye of the storm passed over Southwestern cluster of islands that make up the Bahamas. I remember the wind blowing down a large tree, blocking any entrance or exit of our street. As the wind began to pick up our back door flew open and the birds, who were previously dealing with winds reported to have been over 100mph, flew into our small pink house seeking shelter, settling on pots that sat on the stove . As the birds and my family grew comfortable, my sister and I gathered by the front window to watch the hurricane’s wrath.  We gasped as we saw pigs from the farms on the other side of the  fly by, squealing. Note that according to The Bahamas Guide, the island is only 63 sq. miles.   We saw our satellite dish fly across the street onto our neighbor’s property. Now this was no small feat our satellite dish was nothing like those of today, in fact it was probably over 20 times larger than the small grey dish that now resides on the roof of my parents’ home, and was attached to a black pole, much taller than our house. I remember as the winds died down, walking outside to inspect the damage with my dad. Trees succumbed to Lili’s gusts of wind and had fallen all around us. Several animals displaced, miles away from their homes and farms. I recently learned from my parents that there were no deaths on the island during that hurricane.
Fast forward 15 years later, the night Hurricane Irene was expected to hit Philadelphia, I crawled into bed and slept as the hurricane killed, destroyed and caused floods on the east coast. While many believe that the hurricane was “hyped” by the media, I believe that it was the hype that saved lives and lessened possible damages. Americans were prepared for the hurricane as those Bahamians were 15 years ago. And as the sun shines on a beautiful Monday morning, I am thankful that the media created a “hype.”