Posts filed under ‘Penn State in the news’
There’s plenty of diverse perspective today in the wake of Jerry Sandusky’s conviction.
Dan Wetzel of Yahoo has been as good as anyone in covering the scandal, and his wrap-up column is no exception. Wetzel acknowledges what many in the national media have been unable or unwilling to over the past eight months:
“The verdict ended the fallacy that this was an area too devoted to Penn State football to render a fair and proper judgment. The anger at Sandusky was deeper than the outside world could fathom. There may have been a conspiracy to protect Sandusky … [but] none of that represents the rank and file here, not the good people who never hesitated to see Sandusky as a monster and were pained when he seemingly dragged the entire region’s reputation down with him.”
Among some of the other content worth checking out:
* A broad overview in the New York Times on the how the scandal and trial have affected Penn State thus far, and what might be next.
* An analysis by Reuters of the university’s potential liability.
* A piece in the Journal News of New York on how Sandusky’s conviction will help other male victims of sexual abuse come forward.
* A profile of sorts on Sandusky ’66, ’71g in his last hours as a free man, in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
*An NBC interview with one of the jurors who found Sandusky guilty.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
If you’ve been following the Sandusky scandal, I’m sure you’ve noticed the tenacious reporting of Sara Ganim ’08, whose March story first alerted the public that Jerry Sandusky ’66, ’71 MEd H&HD was being investigated by a grand jury, and who was at the forefront of the coverage when the scandal became national news in November. She was honored Monday afternoon with journalism’s highest prize, the Pulitzer.
The citation, for local reporting, reads like this: “Awarded to Sara Ganim and members of The Patriot-News Staff, Harrisburg, Penn., for courageously revealing and adeptly covering the explosive Penn State sex scandal involving former football coach Jerry Sandusky.”
“This is definitely a win for the whole newsroom,” Ganim says in this video, which is upside-down. “For everybody standing here. And more important, I think it’s important for everyone in every newsroom just like ours for every newsroom across the country. because better than any award., the most rewarding thing in this whole process is people telling me this story and our coverage has changed their minds about local reporting.”
Ganim, who’s 24 years old and one of the youngest Pulitzer winners, is one of a very small group of Penn Staters who have been so honored:
Norman C. Miller ’56 of the Wall Street Journal won the 1964 prize for local, general, or spot news reporting for a “comprehensive account of a multi-million dollar vegetable oil swindle in New Jersey.”
Rod Nordland ’72 was part of a team from The Philadelphia Inquirer that won the 1983 prize for local, general, or spot news for coverage of the Three Mile Island accident.
Janet Day ’82 was part of a team at The Denver Post that won the 2000 prize for breaking news for coverage of the Columbine shootings.
Novelist Richard Russo, who taught at Penn State Altoona, won the 2002 prize in fiction for Empire Falls, and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Theodore Roethke taught at Penn State from 1936–1943. Additionally, archivist Paul Dzyak ’92 tells us, Donald Bartlett, half of a dynamic investigative duo with James Steele, briefly attended Penn State. Bartlett and Steele won the 1989 Pulitzer for national reporting for an investigation into the 1986 Tax Reform Act. And Mark E. Neely Jr., McCabe-Greer Professor of American Civil War History, won the 1992 prize for history for The Fate of Liberty.
Thanks to Dzyak and Vicki Fong ’81, manager of public relations for the College of the Liberal Arts, for helping to compile this list. If you know of anyone we missed, please let us know in the comments or at our Facebook page.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
From our intern, Emily Kaplan:
Over the weekend, a friend of mine tweeted: Boy, what I would do to sit in on a journalism ethics class at Penn State this week.
I am fortunate to be enrolled in that course this semester—COMM 409: News Media Ethics, a section taught by Malcolm Moran, a veteran journalist and head of Penn State’s John Curley Center for Sports Journalism.
My friend was right—Tuesday’s lesson was never more relevant. When I walked in, I had pretty good feeling we wouldn’t be discussing the assigned reading on the syllabus. Not after a weekend where dubious reporting and social media gone wild resulted in an announcement that the most recognizable face of this university had died—when in fact, he was still alive.
“There’s nothing more important to be right about than if an important figure is alive or not,” Moran said. “Nothing.”
So who better to be a guest lecturer than Mark Viera ’09? He’s the New York Times reporter who dispelled reports that Joe Paterno had passed away Saturday night by simply asking a family spokesman whether the rumors were true.
The class had a meta feel. Moran asked Viera what lessons from the course he has applied to his reporting—and what lessons couldn’t be taught in the classroom. Moran also pointed out the seat that Viera occupied just a few semesters ago. The girl sitting there now has some big shoes to fill. Viera, 24, has been one of the Times’ lead journalists in Penn State coverage over the past two months because of his familiarity with the school and dogged reporting.
But Tuesday, he stood in front of about 50 of us. Everyone seemed attentive as he spoke. I don’t know whether it was respect for Moran, respect for Viera or simply respect for the subject matter, but I didn’t see one person texting under their desk or day dreaming blankly at the wall. (more…)
To say the least, 2011 was a year of highs and lows for Penn State—and for our blog. From fun updates on Tina’s travels, celebrity alums, and Penn State sports to the heartbreak and confusion of the Sandusky scandal, this year’s posts ran the gamut. Here’s a look back at the top 10 blog posts (ranked by page views) of 2011:
In the days after the Sandusky scandal broke, with the University in upheaval, senior editor Lori Shontz ’91 sat in on a SOC 119 class taught by Sam Richards and Laurie Mulvey ’94g, who helped students explore the ethical issues behind the crisis—and their own feelings.
Lori recaps the Nittany Lions’ emotional loss to Nebraska, which took place at Beaver Stadium just three days after Joe Paterno was fired.
Last May, editor Tina Hay ’83 and a group of Alumni Association travelers explored Turkey. She updated the blog with lots of stories and photos along the way.
Our first post of many on the scandal and its fallout, written by Tina on the Monday morning after the news broke.
Former Nittany Lion football player Jason Ganter ’07 tells senior editor Ryan Jones ’95 how he scored the unlikely gig as Joe Jonas’ executive assistant.
On the morning after Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier were ousted, (more…)
As a teenager, I wrote a “Dear Abby” style column for my high-school newspaper. I, the advice guru, would respond to “Stressed Senior” or “Perplexed Prom Date” with a witty, convenient solution to the problem in 300 words or less.
Truth be told, most of the letter writers were my friends, whom I’d convince to detail recent heartbreaks or college-rejection sagas for the student body’s reading pleasure. And my advice was mostly banal—Take a bubble bath! Call a friend!
More interesting, though, was the relief my friends seemed to find in just writing about their feelings. Despite my nagging to do so, expressing their emotions publicly provided a catharsis that even confiding in a best friend during study hall could not.
Today, I’m the letters editor at The Penn Stater. This means I’m responsible for organizing the manageable handful of compliments, criticisms, and occasional corrections we receive for the previous issue, and editing them for print. The methodical process has become an almost-soothing constant in the rushed weeks before deadline.
On Nov. 4, that, like everything else at Penn State, changed. (more…)
Like everything else in the past two weeks, things at Proud to be a Penn Stater have been moving at warp speed.
Since its launch on Nov. 10, the grassroots group founded by a handful of Penn Staters has raised more than $463,000 for RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network—and earned plenty of media coverage in the process.
Co-founder Larena Lettow ’98 appeared on CNN’s American Morning last Thursday, and MSNBC, Huffington Post, Time, and a handful of blogs (including ours) have covered the group’s fundraising efforts. Proud to be a Penn Stater has a goal of raising $500,000 for RAINN by Thanksgiving.
There are some new ways to help: T-shirts with the phrase “[Still] Proud to be a Penn Stater” are available for $18, with proceeds going directly to RAINN, and cell phone users can text PSU4RAINN to 20222 to make an automatic $10 donation.
Funds raised will support RAINN’s Online Hotline, which provides free support for victims of sexual abuse. The hotline has seen a 54 percent increase in calls since news of the Sandusky scandal broke two weeks ago.
Mary Murphy, associate editor
Tom Bradley ’78 is known among reporters and Penn State fans as a reliably jovial presence. He laughed just once on Thursday during the press conference to introduce him as Penn State’s interim head football coach. It was a short, ironic laugh, referencing how little there was to laugh about.
On Thursday morning, Bradley took a seat at the podium in a packed and sober Beaver Stadium press room. He was preceded by acting athletic director Mark Sherburne, whose introduction was mindful of the week’s events. “Families who entrust us with their children and their Penn State experience demand us to be stewards, role models, leaders and solid decision makers,” Sherburne said. “Tom fits that mold and will take that responsibility to heart.”
It’s well known that Bradley, the Nittany Lions’ longtime defensive coordinator and one of the most respected assistant coaches in the nation, (more…)
I’m afraid I don’t have any eloquent words to describe the mood this morning here at Penn State, and among Penn Staters around the country. The feeling is one of overwhelming sorrow.
In the space of five days, we have:
—learned of unspeakable, almost unimaginable acts allegedly perpetrated on vulnerable young boys;
—seen a longtime vice president and a longtime athletic director also charged in the case;
—watched as a swarm of news media converged on campus and made this one of the top stories nationwide;
—felt the pain of watching our alma mater cast in such a harsh, ugly spotlight;
—saw a legendary, iconic football coach—arguably the most famous college football coach in America—announce his retirement after 61 (61!) years at Penn State;
—saw the resignation of the University president (also one of the most prominent in American higher education), as well as the immediate dismissal of that football coach; and
—watched in dismay as students took to the streets of State College to vent their emotions, showing the news media, and people everywhere, yet another ugly face to this tragedy.
What happens next, I don’t think anyone knows just yet. I guess today we’ll start the process of trying to figure that out.
Tina Hay, editor
The Penn State Board of Trustees met tonight and has just made a momentous announcement:
“The Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees and Graham Spanier have decided that, effective immediately, Dr. Spanier is no longer president of the University.
“Additionally, the board determined that it is in the best interest of the University for Joe Paterno to no longer serve as head football coach, effective immediately.
“The board has named Dr. Rodney A. Erickson, executive vice president and provost, as the interim president of the University. Tom Bradley, assistant coach, has been named interim head football coach.”
Trustees chair Steve Garban ’59 and vice-chair John Surma ’76 fielded questions at a packed news conference at the Penn Stater Conference Center tonight. The above statement is already on live.psu.edu, where we hope more details will be available later.
Tina Hay, editor
I took this photo at 3 p.m. today. It’s a bunch of Penn State students gathered on the Old Main lawn to mark 100 days until the 2012 edition of THON, the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. These kids and their countless hours of dedication represent much of what remains great about the University.
It’ll be a monumental challenge in the coming months to remind the world that Penn State is more than what has come out over the past five days.
The latest news—and it remains strange to type—is that in addition to the pending departure of Joe Paterno, who has announced his retirement effective at season’s end, multiple outlets are reporting University president Graham Spanier will soon step down as well. What will tomorrow bring? Not a clue.
Ryan Jones, senior editor