I just heard a rumour on Barren’s Chat (virtual world chat) that Peter Brock had been killed. Nothing on wiki until a few minutes ago and then only today’s date and a “just kidding” next to it.

But now News has

Car champ Peter Brock dead: report

MOTOR racing champion driver Peter Brock is reported to have died in a racing accident in Western Australia, according to Sky News.More to come

No clue if traditional media are just picking up on the same “Just Kidding” report on wiki or if its true. Ah the nature of viral news reports…

If true, hot on the heels of Steve Irwin, it seems unlikely the traditional media will have upgraded their services to take the outpouring of emotion in guestbooks and the like. This is the online equivalent of people taking flowers to a crash site or lining up for Princess Diana’s funeral. The human race has always wanted to take news to an emotional level but are rarely allowed that luxury. Look to the feedback, conversations, dialogue. That’s the telling point of an online community – the eagerness to participate, not observe.

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