Jan 10, 2011

NPR news head apologizes for network report that Arizona congresswoman had died

In an editor's note on, Dick Meyer, executive editor of NPR News, said the network committed a "serious and grave error" when it reported that U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had been shot to death in Tucson, Ariz.

In its 2:01 p.m. Eastern broadcast on Saturday (Jan. 8), NPR informed listeners that Giffords was dead. That erroneous news also was posted on, and sent as an e-mail news alert to subscribers.

But Giffords had survived the shooting, which happened at a mall during a public appearance, and remained hospitalized Sunday night in critical condition after neurosurgery.

"The information we reported came from two different governmental sources, including a source in the Pima County Sheriff's Department," Meyer said. "Nonetheless, in a situation so chaotic and changing so swiftly, we should have been more cautious."

He said that corrections were issued within minutes, along with "properly updated reports."

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