Does Steve Jobs Have Nine Lives?

No, But False Report Said He Had a Heart Attack

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Although I have ruthlessly defended new media’s potential for legitimacy as a news source, nobody said citizen journalism was a flawless concept. Today a story was posted at iReport.com claiming that Apple CEO Steve Jobs had suffered a severe heart attack. He did not.

Before we talk about how much more legitimate traditional news sources are though, let’s keep in mind that iReport is owned by CNN. Let’s also keep in mind that this is not the first time that Jobs himself has been the object of false reporting involving him and fatal health circumstances. Not too long ago, "trusted news source" Bloomberg accidentally posted his obituary with one critical flaw. He was not dead. Shortly after this morning’s report, CNN pulled the story from iReport and disabled the account of the user who posted it.

Apple’s stock temporarily dropped, and Silicon Alley Insider (who confirmed with Apple that the story was false) believes an SEC investigation will come about as a result of this fiasco, noting that the IP address of the "reporter" would be easily traceable.

As I tried to make the point in a recent article about CareerBuilder gaming Twitter, new media’s legitimacy deteriorates as a result of abuse on the part of some users, and it is up to the sites themselves to help eliminate offending content. CNN did the right thing by eliminating the story that was proven to be false.

Where the legitimacy shines through is in the communities themselves. There are always others to call something out as BS in new media formats where discussion is the key to coming away with useful information.

When all is said and done, it is up to readers to use their heads and think about where they are getting their info. Just as has always been the case, (even long before social media, blogs, and citizen journalism were ever heard of) you shouldn’t believe everything you read. But damning an entire medium because some abuse it is just ridiculous.

Does Steve Jobs Have Nine Lives?
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