Steve Jobs death tweet costs Shira Lazar her CBS News gig
The network has dropped the celebrity blogger whose site issued the erroneous report
Hours after a false report Friday that Apple’s (AAPL) CEO had died set newsrooms around the world scrambling for confirmation, CBS News severed its relationship with both What’s Trending, the site that issued the erroneous tweet, and the celebrity blogger who produced it, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Shira Lazar, 28, a Canadian-born actress and TV personality, launched the daily Web report and a companion weekly webcast on CBS.com in May.
CBS executives stressed Friday that What’s Trending was produced independently by Lazar’s Disrupt Group and had no news-gathering relationship with CBS News.
But the network that once hosted Edward R. Murrow had clearly hoped to benefit from Lazar’s online cachet and access to Web celebrities. It paid the price Friday when an unchecked tweet from her What’s Trending’s account was let loose on the Internet and attributed — at least by some headline writers — to CBS.
It’s not clear who wrote the original tweet. It was quickly removed, but not before being widely reposted. Lazar’s initial response — “Apologies — reports of Steve Job’s death completely unconfirmed. Live on.” — struck many as flippant.
She issued a second, more heartfelt apology from her personal account: “On behalf of all of us at @disruptgroup we sincerely apologize for the inaccuracy of what was tweeted earlier today. – EP/Host @WhatsTrending.”
Murrow must be turning over in his grave.
UPDATE: On Tuesday, Lazar apologized once more on her What’s Trending show and attributed the tweet to an unnamed junior staffer, according to Gizmodo. “Who did it or how it happened no longer matters,” she told viewers. “We love Steve Jobs. He is an inspiration.” You can see her on-screen apology here and get a taste for the show what once carried the CBS imprimatur.