I wrote a retrospective on how a student news organization falsely reported the death of Joe Paterno, a report that quickly infected mainstream outlets. My piece was co-published at Poynter and ProPublica, so, uh, choose whichever one you like better.
If you’re interested in learning more about the episode, there are three pieces I suggest you read:
Craig Silverman, of Poynter, approaches it as a breakdown of verification, not as a rush to judgment. I think that’s a more useful and relevant lesson to come from this.
Mathew Ingram, of GigaOm, gives Onward State its due for impressive transparency.
And be sure to read Onward State’s own autopsy, which quickly and thoroughly owned up to the mistakes they made.