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On Friday, Shira Lazar’s web series What’s Trending sent out a tweet mistakenly declaring that Jobs had died. As The Hollywood Reporter exclusively reported Saturday, the error led to CBSNews.com severing its partnership with the show.
On Tuesday, Lazar told viewers at the top of the episode that a junior staffer was to blame for the mistake.
“Last Friday, a miscommunication in the newsroom resulted in a junior staffer at What’s Trending sending a tweet that contains an unchecked, unconfirmed and ultimately untrue report about Steve Jobs,” she said.
Lazar went on to say the tweet was retracted less than a minute after it was sent.
On Friday, Lazar, through the What’s Trending Twitter account, issued a somewhat flippant apology on Friday for the tweet: “Apologies — reports of Steve Job’s death completely unconfirmed. Live on.”
In her Tuesday broadcast, she noted that the tweet was “hastily written” and that the show went on to issue a more “formal” apology later via Twitter: “On behalf of all of us at @disruptgroup we sincerely apologize for the inaccuracy of what was tweeted earlier today. – EP/Host @WhatsTrending.”
But she noted that the damage had already been done by that time.
“Unfortunately by then, the original tweet had already made its way around the Internet, and who did it and how it happened no longer mattered,” she added.
Lazar also issued a direct apology to CBSNews.com, which had been hosting the series on its site since May but did not have a newsgathering partnership with the show. Still, after the tweet was sent out, the news organization became the subject of embarrassing headlines that accused it of making the blunder.
Lazar also apologized to Jobs himself.
“We love Steve Jobs, he is an inspiration to us at What’s Trending, and his work influences our entire company on a daily basis, she said. “We are immeasurably sorry for what happened, and we apologize unreservedly to him, his family his friends, his fans and anyone else who was or is affected by our actions last week.”
Lazar also assured viewers that What’s Trending would seek to prevent another error of this magnitude in the future and vowed to follow high journalistic standards.
“While mistakes do happen, this mistake was a particularly terrible and unfortunate one that left our organization humbled and deeply apologetic,” she added.
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