CNN took care to confirm TV legend Andy Griffith's death on Tuesday, spending nearly two hours contacting sources.
News of Griffith's death broke on Twitter shortly before 10:20 a.m. on Tuesday. TMZ reported the story, which was confirmed by his close friend and former University of North Carolina president Bill Friday.
Reuters obtained a CNN email sent out at 11:38 a.m, which directed staff not report Griffith's death until the network confirmed the report with other sources.
The message said that the network had reached out to Griffith's management, the local funeral home, state medical examiner and local sheriff's office, in addition to speaking with Bill Friday. CNN finally sent out a wire at 12:13 p.m — nearly two hours after the news surfaced — after Sheriff Doug Doughtie confirmed Griffith's death.
Below, see the full text of the email to CNN staff (via Romenesko):
DO NOT Report the death of Andy Griffith at this point CNN continues to confirmation
Guidance from CNN National Desk \ Terence Burke
CNN National desk and ENT unit continues to work to confirm the death of Andy Griffith. At this point we are not at a point to confirm the death. ENT unit has reached out to the actors mgt\agent. The desk has spoken to a local funeral home and ME for the state both could not confirm and have directed questions to the local sheriff. The National Desk has spoken to the sheriffs office and at this point the [sic] will not confirm the death. CNN has also spoken to Bill Friday who has spoken to other media and others media has used to confirm the death. However CNN does not feel that his information can serve as a confirmation. We continue to work the phones and will update when we have more.