Trying my hand at writing Press Releases:
Death by Obiticide: The Media strikes again
This past Sunday former Penn State coach Joe Paterno passed away at the age of 85. However, as far as the national news was concerned. Paterno had passed away Saturday. This news was circulated on national media continuously, though journalists did not even look to see if the source of the information was accurate.
Paterno died in the hospital at 85 from lung cancer. News media used Onward State as their source when reporting Paterno’s death, however, writers from the Onward State never expected to receive national attention. They had not even determined if their source was reliable. They, like many others before them, did not research into the story. Onward State reported the death of Paterno prematurely based on an email that had been proven to be false.
Onward State is not the first online news source to report a celebrity prematurely dead; this has, in fact, happened on numerous occasions. Actually, it has happened so frequently that individuals are actually calling “death by media” obticide.
Readers expect reports, especially from national news, to accurate. Writers, even those who are not as main stream, like Onward State, have a duty to audiences to make sure that their information is accurate and reliable. Many families have been hurt by obticide. While Joe Parterno was holding on to hope, clinging for his life, the national news and media had already given up on him. Joe Paterno and his family should not have to grieve twice because of faulty journalism. But this does not just fall on the journalist. Readers have to make sure that the information they read is upheld by reliable sources, that what they are reading is legitimate and based on evidence. We all must take responsibility when it comes to circulating information we claim to be true.
“Death by Media: Joe Paterno”. It’s time to look at the facts and try to help prevent death by media. It’s time to take responsibility, both as reader and as journalists.
McCarthy, M. (2012, January 22). Media dead wrong to repeat false report of Paterno's death. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
Until Next Time…