Joe Paterno, the legendary coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions, who lost his job over the Jerry Sandusky scandal in November, died this morning after a short battle with lung cancer. Paterno, 85, is being memorialized with flowers and candles at his statue on the campus of Penn State, as shown during live reports on ESPN and CNN.
Fox News was first to report the news at 10:19amET, ESPN about a minute later, MSNBC at 10:22 and the NFL Network at 10:34.
CNN sent a breaking news alert earlier, but the cable channel did not report the news until 10:34, when Candy Crowley interrupted “Fareed Zakaria GPS.” At 11am, Howard Kurtz’s “Reliable Sources” reported the news with Susan Candiotti reporting from campus in State College.
On his show this morning, Kurtz also fessed up to sending a Tweet last night after a report that Paterno had died. “I didn’t check it. I said it was sad news. I should have been more careful. Lesson learned.” As Poynter reveals, the erroneous report, picked up by several news organizations, stemmed from a Tweet sent by Onward State, a student-run website.