How the media wound up reporting Pat Burns's death—then retracting it

Anatomy of a screw-up

You may have wondered how the pillars of the Canadian media, from the Toronto Star to CTV, managed to falsely announce in their online editions the demise of Pat Burns, forcing the legendary hockey coach to issue his own variation on the immortal Mark Twain line: “the report of my death was an exaggeration.” Fortunately, when something as fundamental as a man’s life is in question, some in the press feel the need to explain. The story begins, apparently, with a conversation between the Star‘s Damien Cox and Cliff Fletcher, the former Leafs’ GM and an old friend of Burns. From there, Twitter and blog insanity took over, as everyone scrambled to be “first” with news that several reporters had by then heard (how exactly Fletcher got such bad info, however, remains unclear). Cue the recriminations and inter-media bickering.

Toronto Star

Globe and Mail

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