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Monday September 12, 2011 5:43 pm
Steve Jobs death tweet results in What’s Trending’s CBS deal dying
Steve Jobs might be alive and kicking, but those responsible for posting a Twitter message suggesting otherwise have suddenly found a new death on their hands to talk about: The death of their Web show's affiliation with CBSNews.com.
The Twitter account for the web show "What's Trending" was responsible for the Friday Twitter message: "Reports say that Steve Jobs has passed away. Stay tuned for more updates." The problem? Jobs sure wasn't dead.
The show attempted to cover its bases by disavowing the death report minutes later, but armies of users retweeting the update had already cast the unconfirmed report out into cyberspace. And CBS was left to mop up the egg on its face–even though What's Trending shares no newsgathering partnership with the company, plenty of news reports started to attribute the erroneous tweet to, "a CBS Twitter account."
According to sources speaking to The Hollywood Report, CBS executives began the process of distancing the company from the What's Trending show that day. The show has since been removed from the company's website, and CBS has ended its relationship with What's Trending and its 28-year-old creator and executive producer Shira Lazar.
Since the message, Lazar has been busy apologizing across the Web for What's Trending's Twitter gaffe. However, show fans have been criticized Lazar's apologies for their terseness: "Apologies- reports of Steve Job's death completely unconfirmed. Live on," read one such apology posted to the official What's Trending Facebook page.
"I think you might want to replace the almost blithe-sounding 'Apologies' with a more sincere-sounding 'I apologize' in order to come off as more contrite and mature," wrote Facebook user Joan McCarthy in response. "[And] 'I am deeply sorry' wouldn't hurt either."
According to Rocketboom creator Andrew Baron, who allegedly spoke with Lazar after CBS began its expunging process, neither Lazar herself nor the show's producer were responsible for sending the Twitter message. The official source of the message has yet to be revealed, but he or she has likely learned an unforgettable lesson about news reporting: It's pretty difficult, and embarrassing, to scoop a death when a subject is very much alive.
This article, written by David Murphy, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.
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