Devon Edwards, the former managing editor of Penn Stateâ€™s online news organization Onward State, learned, this weekend, that while reporting false information may cost you your job, it doesnâ€™t have to take your career as well.
And we at the Collegian are especially glad heâ€™s not letting one thing define him, because we need more people like him in journalism.
The 21-year-old sent Onward State tweets Saturday night reporting the death of Penn Stateâ€™s former football coach Joe Paterno.
And, despite the fact that Paterno remained alive until the morning, news organizations followed Edwardsâ€™ lead, retweeting the publicationâ€™s misinformed report.
With evidence against the claims and newfound national attention, Edwards retracted the tweets and did something that showed he not only had integrity, but also a future in journalism â€“ he apologized and resigned.
“In this day and age, getting it first often conflicts with getting it right, but our intention was never to fall into that chasm,” read a letter Edwards wrote about the incident. “All I can do now is promise that in the future, we will exercise caution, restraint, and humility.”
Edwards showed that journalists are far from perfect. They can make mistakes and be human. And, by swallowing his pride and leaving Onward State, Edwards also proved that it was possible to move on.
By resigning, heâ€™s allowed himself and his former publication to leave the mistake behind.
We at the Collegian offer our support for Edwards and commend him on dealing handling this with dignity. Things happen; itâ€™s how you handle them that defines your character.