Website editor stands down after false report on Paterno

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The managing editor of Penn State's student-run Onward State stood down Saturday night after the website incorrectly reported that the university's former football coach Joe Paterno had died.

The report, which cited sources, caused an online frenzy after CBS Sports ran with it — originally without crediting Onward State — before a family spokesman told The New York Times that the reports "were absolutely not true."

Joe Paterno's sons Scott and Jay also took to Twitter to deny the reports, saying their father — who has been in the hospital since Jan. 13 — was in "serious condition" and "continuing to fight" in his battle against lung cancer.

The Onward State report said Penn State players had been notified of the legendary coach's death via email, but the website later tweeted an apology saying, "We were confident when we ran with it, and are still trying to figure out where our process failed. We apologize sincerely for error."

The managing editor, Devon Edwards, then released a statement saying he would be stepping down, effective immediately.

"I take full responsibility for the events that transpired tonight, and for the black mark upon the organization that I have caused," Edwards wrote.

"I never, in a million years, would have thought that Onward State would be cited by the national media, and today, I sincerely wish it never had been.

"To all those who read and passed along our reports, I sincerely apologize for misleading you. To the Penn State community and to the Paterno family most of all, I could not be more sorry for the emotional anguish I am sure we caused.

"There are no excuses for what we did. We all make mistakes, but it's impossible to brush off one of this magnitude. Right now, we deserve all of the criticism headed our way."

Paterno was diagnosed with cancer a week after he was fired on Nov. 9, amid the fallout from the child sex abuse case involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

Sandusky has denied charges of sexually assaulting 10 boys over a 15-year period. Paterno is not accused of any criminal wrongdoing in the case.

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