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Penn State Editor Quits Over Paterno Death Report

Ex-coach in serious condition, but many outlets reported him dead
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 22, 2012 5:38 AM CST
Joe Paterno Death Report: Student Editor Quits Over Wrong Report of Coach's Death; National Media Picked Story Up
David Marselles a senior at Penn State, stands with a cardboard cutout of Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium on the Penn State University campus Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012.    (Gene J. Puskar)

(Newser) – The managing editor of a student-run news organization that covers Penn State resigned yesterday after the publication's Twitter account sent messages saying former coach Joe Paterno had died, according to a letter on the publication's website. Paterno's sons refuted accounts of their 85-year-old father's death in Twitter messages posted after those by Onward State. "I appreciate the support & prayers. Joe is continuing to fight," Jay Paterno tweeted.

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Paterno has lung cancer and has been in a hospital since Jan. 13. His doctors say recent complications have made his condition "serious." Onward State recanted its posts but not before the erroneous information was reported and amplified by many media organizations across the country. Devon Edwards said in the letter that he takes responsibility for the misinformation. He said the publication retracted its tweets after "the mountain of evidence stacked opposite that report became too much to ignore." The incorrect information found its way onto media websites, including CBSSports.com, People.com, and the Huffington Post. Edwards did not explain how the error occurred but hinted that the pressure to get the story first may have been a factor. "In this day and age, getting it first often conflicts with getting it right, but our intention was never to fall into that chasm," the letter said. "All I can do now is promise that in the future, we will exercise caution, restraint, and humility." (Read more Joe Paterno stories.)

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