Friday, October 3, 2008

Steve Jobs Heart Attack Story on CNN iReport Is Bogus

A citizen journalist’s report this morning that Apple chief executive officer Steve Jobs had suffered a severe heart attack and been hospitalized is not true, and it highlights the dangers of news organizations allowing citizen journalists to post items without independently verifying them.

The report falsely cited an unnamed reliable source. But Apple spokesmen have been scurrying around media circles telling everyone that the reports are not true.

The initial report, posted about 9 a.m. Eastern, sparked a flurry of Twitter conversation throughout the internet. It appeared on CNN’s unfiltered citizen journalism site, called iReport, which has now taken the story off its site. Apple stocks dropped dramatically on the false news, but have rebounded. You have to wonder if anyone took advantage of the Apple's stock blip.

Unedited citizen journalists reports could cause CNN, and any other news organization, to take a hit with its credibility. These reports, or rumors, are irresponsible not only by the idiots who post them but the organizations who give them a venue.

In justifying its iReport venture, CNN has said:

With this site, we want to share our passion about the news in a way that invites you — and everyone else — to share your passion about the news. At CNN we live for news. We love talking about it. And we know that there’s a whole lot more to it than what you see on TV or read on your favorite Web site. So we’ve launched an independent world where you, the community, tell the stories we’re not used to seeing. And the most compelling, important, and urgent ones may get seen on CNN. So head on over the homepage and jump in. Tell your story and see how it connects to someone on the other side of the world — and build a new kind of news site, one made from communities of shared interests, impassioned discussions and great storytelling.

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