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NY sports reporter reported dead (and eulogized during Yankees game) is still alive

Bob Trainor is a longtime local freelance sports reporter for radio stations.

Radio reporter Mike Mancuso — who has done work for WFAN and other places — tweeted on Sunday that Trainor had passed away. A wave of eulogies and remembrances followed, from former WFAN update man John Minko to veteran PR man Joe Favorito to Yankees play-by-player Michael Kay during a YES broadcast.

And then on Monday, Mancuso tweeted again to report that Trainor is actually alive (WFAN jack of all trades Peter Schwartz also confirmed this).

Mistakes happen in journalism. Just as no reporter is as good as the biggest stories they’ve broken, they are not as bad as their most-glaring errors. Most journalists work extremely hard to be accurate and fair. As long as they operate in good faith and are right the vast majority of the time, they deserve the benefit of the doubt. And Mancuso appears to be getting that after clarifying the record and apologizing.

That said, there is absolutely no excuse for erroneously reporting someone’s death. None. It just cannot happen. You do not report a death until a government official or the deceased’s related or representative say it on the record. Or there is an obituary published elsewhere. The upside of being “first” on a death is minuscule compared to the immense downside of being wrong.

(It’s hard to hammer Favorito, Kay, Minko and others for eulogizing Trainor because they had no reason to not identify Mancuso as a credible source in this situation.)

I have reported on the death of prominent people related to my beat in the past. And on several occasions, sources have called to say the person had died before they actually had died. In one case, several calls with bad information came in. That is why you have to wait until the news is ironclad.

We are glad to hear Trainor is still with us. And we hope he is not too impacted after being put into an unacceptable position.

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James Kratch can be reached at james.kratch@xlmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JamesKratch.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.