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An Open Letter Regarding Our Premature Reports of Dio's Death

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On Sunday morning, May 16th at 2:20 AM ET, two of our staff reported that Ronnie James Dio had passed away. These reports turned out to be premature and at the time false, said to be a “viral hoax” by many. Many readers expressed outrage and disappointment that we would post such unfounded news, and I am here to offer my apologies for the unfounded reports and make clear our official stance on such tricky situations.

As I've stated before, it's a narrow line to walk between reporting the news in a timely manner and assuring its credibility when it comes to certain situations such as this one. But in a case such as the death of an icon and hero to many, we should have erred on the side of caution. On the other hand, I am not opposed to making mention of rumors or unconfirmed reports in the effort to get you news first, as long as those reports are explicitly identified as such. Unfortunately, our late-night reports of Dio's death were posted as unqualified truths, despite being based on unnamed sources, many or few.

Unfortunately, it was not just a viral hoax, but appears to be more of a premature leak as to the graveness of Dio's condition. This fact, that we posted a correction, or the fact that Ronnie James Dio died later this same morning has no impact on the correctness or wrongness of our initial reports, however.

Within minutes of the posting, Metalunderground.com was flooded with visitors and became unstable, making it difficult to properly update the articles or post follow-ups. When I got word that Dio's death had been confirmed, Dio's official web site itself was down due to traffic. Once I confirmed the information, it took me nearly an hour to get the article posted through the server instability and even longer to update the original articles with that information, leading people to then complain that he had passed away and we were saying he hadn't. So despite the initial mistake, we were faced with challenges throughout the day in getting the correct information out to the public even once it was confirmed.

Metalunderground.com has grown tremendously in the past few years and I realize many people trust us to provide accurate and timely news and reporting on the metal scene. I apologize to those of you who feel that your trust was violated by our unconfirmed story of such incredible weight and importance, and I assure you that we are taking steps so that what happened today will be less likely to happen in the future. I cannot claim it will never happen, as there are many factors that play into such a mistake, but we have all learned from today's experience and will do our best to not repeat it.

I am establishing a more formal process for posting breaking and/or sensitive news so that we can convey our message in a more clear and accurate manner in the future. I have never been one for sensationalizing news in the first place, and certainly do not wish to mislead our readers in any way, as building a credible news site has been a priority of mine from day one.

I hope you'll consider our position and this apology in your decision to continue relying on Metalunderground.com for the latest metal news and commentary.

While I feel the sad news of Dio's passing totally eclipses these issues of yesterday, I wanted to address them nonetheless to let our readers know that we take our responsibilities here very seriously and have not simply swept the mistakes under the carpet and ignored those who expressed concern or anger over our initial premature reports.

Sincerely,
Doug

R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio.

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48 Comments on "An Open Letter To Our Readers"

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Anonymous Reader
1. Metal Monster.uk writes:

Fair play, takes balls to apologize to the world, only could have signed off just "Doug" not Doug “deathbringer” Gibson considering the situation,,,,,But respects anyway....

# May 17, 2010 @ 12:33 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
2. stoney writes:

Mistakes happen, and learning is neverending process. Most important part of journalism of any kind, is to confirm, confirm & confirm the news, especially the bad ones.

Anyway, hats of to u guys, ur doing a great job with the site. Taking responsibility shows backbone. Good to read u guys not blaming only them deep throat sources.

# May 17, 2010 @ 12:36 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

3. deathbringer writes:

Agreed on the signature - was thinking about it anyway. Thanks.

# May 17, 2010 @ 12:38 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
50bmg's avatar

Member

4. 50bmg writes:

Good to see such a professional response. Tired of seeing the Metal community dismissed by our detractors because most folks take a "f*** em all" attitude when a little diplomacy and professionalism is all that's needed. \m/ salute!

# May 17, 2010 @ 12:40 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

5. Blindgreed1 writes:

Well done DB.

# May 17, 2010 @ 12:41 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
weasel321's avatar

Member

6. weasel321 writes:

Deathbringer - good job. Your credibility and the site's credibility is still in tact with me. Breaking major news is always hard; just ask the "professionals" on TV who do it all day. Again, great job with the site and a professional and well thought-out response to the users.

# May 17, 2010 @ 12:56 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
7. RTB writes:

Its very rare in todays society that people point the finger at themselves when sh!t goes wrong. Everyone these days tends to blame everyone else for there own fu*kups. Deathcrush took a beating yesterday, but eventually apologized and took his lumps, deathbringer fesses up and does the same,( thank you for that as well DB) however i would like to see OZ come on and say something as well. He broke the story at 1128p saturday night or so it says, but has yet to issue and apology and or condolensces to the readers and the members. Especially after what deathcrush had to endure yesterday.
Oz is my favorite MU staff member by far and away, his taste in music are almost equal to mine, especially old school hip hop. I would defend oz against anyone who attacks him prematurely, but in this case i would like to see him step up and issue some sort of apology as well for the mishap. It was a dark day for metal and the MU yesterday, but as time goes on we will all get through this and eventually the MU will restore its reputation. What DB did was step 1 towards redemption.

# May 17, 2010 @ 1:14 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
zMETALlica's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

8. zMETALlica writes:

well said and to the point. good call man.

# May 17, 2010 @ 1:17 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

9. Diamond Oz writes:

You called? You're very right RTB, I do owe everyone an apology and I think now would be a good time to do it. Fact of the matter is, I made a completely amateur mistake. It doesn't happen often, but in this case I did. I'm really sorry about it all, and as I've assured DB earlier, it definitely won't happen again. I'm not going to blame my sources, because the fault rests with me.

# May 17, 2010 @ 1:22 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
10. RTB writes:

^Good show mate.

# May 17, 2010 @ 1:30 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

11. Blindgreed1 writes:

In case nobody else heard we also lost Debbie Abono (manager/promoter from the bay area) this weekend too. RIP Debbie and Dio.

# May 17, 2010 @ 1:35 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
zMETALlica's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

12. zMETALlica writes:

damn lots of deaths in metal BG. even behind the scenes... not something i hear about often enough either.

# May 17, 2010 @ 1:44 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
13. Ck writes:

Well said , apology accepted.

# May 17, 2010 @ 1:54 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

14. Blindgreed1 writes:

z: *sighs a heavy sigh* \m/\m/

# May 17, 2010 @ 2:14 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
brandedcfh420's avatar

Member

15. brandedcfh420 writes:

Ok, but what about the fkrs who acted like un-evolved monkeys and verbally attcked Deathcrush, or is it all about the "customer"?? I see this as a 1 sided issue. Yes, the story was put up earlier than it shold have, but jesus fkn christ, people make mistakes, and the troll fks act like stupid fkn monkeys with their BS facless rants! SO, lets all get on our knees and say sorry to all the little b**** a$$ cry babies who were so mad over a small mistake. AND HONESTLY, SINCE OZ POSTED IT BEFORE DEATHCRUSH (as it says here isn this thread), WHY ISNT HE IN THE CROSSHAIRS AS BAD AS DEATHCRUSH WAS?!?! OR IS IT OK BECAUSE OZ IS A "SENIOR NEWS CORRESPONDENT"?

# May 17, 2010 @ 4:03 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

16. Diamond Oz writes:

Deathcrush posted one minute before me, so call it a draw. DeathCrush got more personal attacks because I kept silent and he took said people on.

# May 17, 2010 @ 4:15 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
brandedcfh420's avatar

Member

17. brandedcfh420 writes:

WELL WHY THE FK DID YOU REMAIN SILENT THEN, ONCE IT WAS REALIZED IT WAS A BAD STORY?! HHHMMMM, KINDA CHEESY!!!!!!

# May 17, 2010 @ 4:23 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

18. Blindgreed1 writes:

Guys... I need a hug.

# May 17, 2010 @ 4:40 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
IrishMetal's avatar

Member

19. IrishMetal writes:

Me hugs BG.

Calm branded, you're goin over the top too ;)

# May 17, 2010 @ 5:11 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

20. Blindgreed1 writes:

Irish: Thanks buddy.

I think Oz may have missed his calling as a clairvoyant.

# May 17, 2010 @ 5:17 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

21. Diamond Oz writes:

I knew you were going to say that BG :P

# May 17, 2010 @ 5:23 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
brandedcfh420's avatar

Member

22. brandedcfh420 writes:

maybe so, but o well..............no more from me on this 1!

and josh koscheck is going to destroy gsp. rampage will destroy evans too!!

# May 17, 2010 @ 5:51 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Trendkill91's avatar

Member

23. Trendkill91 writes:

It was a bit misleasding , but so was every other site.

Props to deathbringer for clearing it up tho!

# May 17, 2010 @ 6:34 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
24. Kadmium writes:

Perhaps a warning indicator on news that hasn't been confirmed? Nobody's saying you shouldn't post the story, but it might be a good idea to let us know when you're posting unsubstantiated rumour and when it's confirmed news.

# May 17, 2010 @ 6:57 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Demise's avatar

Member

25. Demise writes:

i agree with branded a lot of those people who lashed out in outrage really didn't need to it was realized as a mistake and corrected. That being said well done on the apology and finally

R.I.P Dio

# May 17, 2010 @ 6:59 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
HeadbangerHippy's avatar

Member

26. HeadbangerHippy writes:

Guys, great job on the apology, no love lost on my part for the mistake. I am glad you guys all have apologised, and now people should have no reason to complain, if they do, they can go f*** themselves. :P Rest in Peace Ronnie James Dio, your music, your legacy and your skullet will live on for ages to come. Metal has lost a father, and his family has lost a great man. My regards and best wishes to his family.

# May 17, 2010 @ 7:06 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
OlafBerzerker's avatar

Member

27. OlafBerzerker writes:

Thanks for clearing the air Deathbringer. On a double sad note, at work today i put on a little Dio tribute and threw the horns up....... Nobody out of the 6 dudes i was working with new His stuff......... soft Fawkers ! \m/

# May 17, 2010 @ 7:46 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
EsotericSurgery's avatar

Member

28. EsotericSurgery writes:

I rely on Metalunderground.com as my only news source, and more recently, a community of metal brotherhood. I for one am not in the least phased by this mishap by the staff. I realize that people are human and do make mistakes...and this mistake was totally un-intentional. Good on you all for appologizing though, takes a lot of balls. \m/ Keep up the hard work guys, you do a fantastic job and you're very appreciated!

# May 17, 2010 @ 7:51 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

29. hellrat writes:

yessir ES....excellent as always

i wasn't around for the 'debacle' or the subsequent emotional roller coaster a lot of people must of experienced...is it true? is it not? so perhaps my but 'underground was hardly alone in this mistake...

our man dio was an incredibly warm hearted person.... very accepting and forgiving of his fellows' occasional shortcomings....it would seem to honor his spirit to do the same?

'crush is a young dude....give him a break

cheers my friends!!

rock on ronnie D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

\m/ X \m/

# May 17, 2010 @ 8:23 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

30. hellrat writes:

"...so perhaps my perspective is unwarranted, but 'underground..."

sorry!

# May 17, 2010 @ 8:24 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
HarvesterOfSorrow18's avatar

Member

31. HarvesterOfSorrow18 writes:

It was always going to be hard covering a story like this for there not to be some sort of confusion in the midst of trying to communicate it with a large amount of people as quick as possible.

MU is still the first place i will check for updates as all previous posts seem to be very reliable and it is always up to date. A solid reputation is extremely difficult to attain but so easy to lose so it would be unfair to dismiss the entire site's credibility after one incident.

RIP Dio

# May 18, 2010 @ 5:05 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
WOLF7's avatar

Member

32. WOLF7 writes:

Fully agreed, HOS18.

I always check the MU news first.
But News are news, stuff happen. It's virtually impossible at first to find out what's an actual fact and what's just a rumour or plain bs.

After all the recent negative feedback, Let me praise MU here;

Apart from great journalism, excellent columns and a great bunch of metalheads/friends around here at MU, one thing that I absolutely love about MU is that you guys stick to the facts and "real" news, and none of the "guitarist of x was seeing kissing the drummer of x...", "Alice Cooper wears women's underwear on his spare time" or "Rob halford"... you get the point.

So I say, good work MU, keep it up!

# May 18, 2010 @ 7:36 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

33. deathbringer writes:

Thanks for all the support and positive words, guys. We really appreciate it.

# May 18, 2010 @ 8:51 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Rubyred's avatar

Member

34. Rubyred writes:

Error's will happen and you/Deathbringer-Doug handled it with the ultmost "care" ...'your indepth coverage on Icon Musician Ronnie James DIO death was Heartfelt & soul-grounded. Thanks for bringing such vital news & updates to our attention. Keep up the good works: it's a difficult job to do and your excellent at it. Peace and thanks for clearing things up! cheers.

# May 18, 2010 @ 8:55 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
35. indeathsembrace writes:

Well, this wasn't your first time ( i remember an unconfirmed news.. about Danzig if i'm not mistaken) but either way this things (errors) happen because we all are just humans. You guys are doing your best to provide us a quick and complex infos about what's happening in this whole metal business and i'm very greatful for that and always will be.
Cheers

# May 24, 2010 @ 1:54 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
wilco's avatar

Member

36. wilco writes:

hail to you db

# May 24, 2010 @ 5:06 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
metalgod666's avatar

Member

37. metalgod666 writes:

binldgreed1 is a fagit

# May 29, 2010 @ 11:33 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
brandedcfh420's avatar

Member

38. brandedcfh420 writes:

binldgreed1 is not a member here and has never been to this website!!!

# May 29, 2010 @ 11:37 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
WOLF7's avatar

Member

39. WOLF7 writes:

You really like the word "fagit" metalgod666.
What's the attraction, or is it all too personal for you to tell?

# May 29, 2010 @ 11:42 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
40. b.bristowe writes:

Just saw this post, must have missed it the day after.

In my opinion (reading everything after the fact) everyone did jump down Metalundergrounds throat. Especially considering they reports the news, not create it.

That being said, this IS a justified apology, but not REALLY necessary.

None the less, RIP Ronnie James Dio

NP: Nevermore - And the Maiden Spoke...

# May 29, 2010 @ 8:22 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

41. deathbringer writes:

No more trolling plz metalgod666

# Jun 1, 2010 @ 1:30 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

42. hellrat writes:

ah hell! you know who that was for 'bringer^

what the hell is the deprived goon child on about, anyway?

# Jun 1, 2010 @ 1:37 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

43. deathbringer writes:

OK hellrat, well don't join in on the trolling or attacks so you don't end up as collateral damage when the ban hammer comes down.

# Jun 1, 2010 @ 2:06 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

44. hellrat writes:

you got it Captain, 10-4

i shan't talk to it....i shan't encourrrage it !

no more shabby trollish fun ;)

# Jun 1, 2010 @ 3:31 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

45. Blindgreed1 writes:

LMAO... I think the kids in love with me.

# Jun 1, 2010 @ 3:47 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Hammerheart's avatar

Member

46. Hammerheart writes:

Not sure how I missed this article.

That being said, I know the staff here at MU is a busy bunch, and you're all doing your best to get the news to the readers as fast and as accurately as possible, and it's only human to slip up once in a while. Keep up the good work, guys. Cheers! \m/

# Jun 1, 2010 @ 4:25 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
killernofiller's avatar

Member

47. killernofiller writes:

Sh!t Happens. I, for one, am thankfull for all the hard work the staff of MU put in to make this site what it is. This is the ONLY site I check into to see what's up in the Metal community, and a "slip" here and there is going to happen. All the high-handed b@stards that wanna wag a finger need to attempt to approach this with 1/10 of the love, dignity, and devotion that the folks at MU display each and every article. Horns Up, Mother F*ckers!!!!
Oh, and Branded, Rampage got his a$$ handed to him by Evans!!! F*ck YES!!!!

# Jun 1, 2010 @ 9:38 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
brandedcfh420's avatar

Member

48. brandedcfh420 writes:

i am very sad about rampage losing!! but its not the end, yet!! they def will have a rematch!!

# Jun 1, 2010 @ 10:15 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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