The Race to be First

Reporting any new information to the public can be risky, especially when it is a headlining topic.  As any social media expert, one should always make sure that the information they are providing the public is 100% accurate.  Any false information can put you and your company’s reputation at risk.

With overwhelming attention surrounding the football program at Penn State, every tweet, wall post and blog comment brings more and more Internet traffic to the school and community.  In a society that completely thrives and relies on Internet access, acquiring information has never been easier or faster.  Along with the ability to supply millions with information via Twitter, Facebook or other social media sites, comes the responsibility to maintain an ethical mindset when sharing information.

Joe Paterno, the recently released Penn State head football coach who served for 42 years, passed away at 9:25 am this past Sunday. On Saturday night, several hours before Paterno’s death, Onward State, a student-run news organization, reported through a tweet that the community icon had passed. The Onward State managing editor, Devon Edwards claims the tweet was based on an email hoax and has since resigned.

It is shocking that a student organization (which presumably is more focused than professional organizations on performing tasks “by the book”) that is tied to an institution which has been so heavily shrouded in controversy recently, would fail to perform such a basic and necessary task as confirming information, especially when dealing with such an emotionally charged topic as the passing of Joe Paterno. Unfortunately, this is just the latest occurrence in what seems to be an ongoing problem with many forms of media.

Managing Editor of Onward State’s Apology

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