Posts tagged ‘Daily Collegian’
We thought we’d give our new intern a chance to introduce herself. You’ll be seeing much more of her on the blog throughout the spring semester. —RJ
My name is Emily Kaplan, and I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be The Penn Stater‘s editorial intern this semester.
In my introductory blog post, I could recite the same spiel I’ve given in all my classes so far: “I’m a junior from Montclair, N.J., majoring in journalism. I spent the last two years covering a variety of sports for the Collegian, including women’s volleyball and men’s basketball. I love Chipotle, the beach, and hockey. A fun fact about me is that I coached Stephen Colbert’s son in t-ball. No, Colbert never showed up.”
However, I’d rather tell you about the things I’ll be doing for this blog and why I can’t wait to get started.
Not that I needed any reminding, but it’s clear Penn State alumni are wonderful ambassadors of what’s great about our university. Just last Sunday, I was at the Giants playoff game when I struck up a conversation with the woman sitting next to me. She could whistle louder than anyone in our section and knew just as much about the X’s and O’s of football as a veteran sportswriter. I was quickly impressed.
She asked me where I went to school, and I sheepishly responded “Penn State,” hoping not to (more…)
I attended Penn State in the late ’70s and early ’80s, a time when the student publications consisted of the Daily Collegian and La Vie. I think Froth might have been in hibernation during that era—or, if it was active, I sure wasn’t aware of it.
Some of the students involved in those publications got together last Saturday for a dodgeball game, with StateCollege.com senior editor Adam Smeltz refereeing. Andy Colwell, a photographer who’s just finishing up his undergraduate career at Penn State, shot some video and still photos and put together a fun little three-minute video. You can watch it below.
Tina Hay, editor
We’d be sufficiently impressed to see a former Nittany Lion golfer teeing off Thursday in the 93rd PGA Championship; we’re pretty much floored by the thought of a Penn Stater playing in one of golf’s biggest events after not even playing the sport in college. Somehow, that’s exactly what Danny Balin ’04 is doing. Now an assistant pro at a Connecticut country club, Balin apparently didn’t start playing seriously until after he graduated. His fraternity brother and caddy, Marc Mondelblatt ’04, told the Daily Collegian that Balin’s unlikely progression can be explained simply enough: “Danny is pretty much a natural.”
How will Balin do against the likes of Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, and that Tiger fella? You can track his progress on the tournament website.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
The rumors have swirled for months — years, actually — and it looks like they’re finally coming to fruition: Penn State will soon be home to Division I ice hockey.
Multiple reports in recent days have hinted as the news, and The Hockey News on Wednesday night all but confirmed it. An announcement is expected Friday outlining what is reported to be an $80- to $90-million donation from Terry Pegula ’73 to fund a new on-campus hockey arena, as well as promoting men’s (and possibly women’s) club hockey to full varsity status, with scholarships to match. We won’t likely have confirmation on any of this until Friday, but in the meantime, we can share these Daily Collegian stories on the opinions of Penn State fans and current Big Ten coaches, this round-up of insights from the Black Shoe Diaries blog, and this prescient column from June in the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
A few weeks ago, Alumni Association executive director Roger Williams ’73, ’75g, ’88g received a letter from Brian Canada ’99, a doctoral candidate in the University’s Integrative Biosciences Program. Canada’s letter proposed updating the Penn State alma mater—written in 1901 by Fred Lewis Pattee and tweaked in 1975 to reflect gender equality—to remove what he saw as a “passive” reference to Penn State’s impact on the future. It seemed a valid point, and Roger put it to our alumni to decide whether we should change the line “for the future that we wait” to the more proactive “for the future we create.”
The validity of Brian’s proposal couldn’t overcome popular sentiment, however. As the Daily Collegian reported last night, some 171 alumni replied to Roger’s query on AlumnInsider, and nearly all of them—151—voted against the lyrical adjustment. Roger told the Collegian that the vote “puts the matter to rest from where I stand,” but it sounds like we might be hearing from Brian again before this is over. He says he might start a Facebook group to build support for his idea—just as soon as he finishes his doctoral thesis.
Correction: My colleague Kate Delano informs me that the Collegian’s numbers are off a bit: 115 of 174 respondents voted not to change the lyrics to the alma mater. Not quite as lopsided as we thought, but the majority rules nonetheless.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
The men’s volleyball team last night swept Cal State Northridge 30-21, 30-23, 30-28 in the NCAA semifinals to earn a berth in the national title match. The third-seeded Nittany Lions will face top-ranked Stanford on Saturday night for the championship. You can watch the match live at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.
The Stanford connection is a familiar one for Penn State teams in big games: The Nittany Lion women beat the Cardinal in 2007 and 2008 for the first two of their three straight NCAA titles, and the women’s rugby team has beaten Stanford in each of the past two national title matches.
And in hardwood news of a slightly different configuration, the Daily Collegian today is confirming a report by an Albany, N.Y. TV station that Talor Battle will return for his senior season. Battle had thrown his name into the hat for the 2010 NBA draft, but it was widely expected that he was only trying to get a sense of his chances of being picked and would be back in Happy Valley for a final season. The Collegian report cites Battle’s mother confirming his decision to return.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
If you have a lot of time on your hands and you’re interested in a glimpse into what Penn State students today are doing, you might enjoy reading some of the blog entries written by Daily Collegian staff members who are studying abroad this semester.
The Collegian has collected them all in one location, and it’s fun to check in every couple of days to see who has written a new posting.
Reading them, you get the sense that the students are spending a little time in class, and a lot of time playing tourist: sightseeing, attempting to make crêpes, visiting pubs, and going on weekend beach getaways. And you can’t blame them—obviously, that’s part of what Study Abroad is supposed to be about: experiencing another country in all its dimensions, not just the classroom.
Actually, there’s also an entry by the mom of one of the students—Kim Sullivan (mother of journalism major Katie)—addressing this very point:
[O]ur adventurous daughter Katie … is supposedly taking classes at the University of Limerick in Ireland. I say supposedly because every time we talk to her she is rock climbing, traveling around Europe or attending practice for her new-found sport of rugby. She didn’t play rugby when she left the good old U.S. of A! She has been to Galway, Dublin, and this past weekend took a little jaunt to London. She is taking advantage of every opportunity that presents itself while she is on this journey. I am sure she studies while on the bus or plane or train.
The students are also expanding their comfort zones, which is also part of what Study Abroad is about. Here’s an excerpt from an entry by Lexi Simchak, a journalism major studying in South Africa:
I just got back from spending a week at another nature reserve called Mkambati. With no power and living in a remote location by a river, it was definitely a different experience. When we first arrived late at night (after one of our vans got stuck on the “road” leading to the lodge which was little more than a path beaten down by the animals) I opened the kitchen cabinet and a few cockroaches climbed out. I instantly thought, “What am I doing here?” However, within the next day, I began to appreciate this new way of living. We were greeted by monkeys sitting outside in the trees on a daily basis. … As I sat there looking out at the beautiful and vast landscape every day, I just couldn’t stop taking in the beauty and appreciating this life that I had in front of my eyes.
The Study Abroad blogs, by the way, are just one collection of blogs by the Collegian students. You can see the entire lineup here. Another one that I enjoy is called “Exposure” and features images by Collegian photographers; some of them are really, really good.
Tina Hay, editor
State Patty’s Day was celebrated in State College on Saturday, and the effects are still being felt. The fourth annual “holiday” attracted national media attention, with the likes of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Washington Post, and U.S. News & World Report covering the event. The news leading up to this year’s party seemed to imply a toned-down affair—downtown bars agreed not to open early for the revelers, the undergrad who helped start State Patty’s Day announced he was disowning it, and at least two local bars, the Lion’s Den and the Shandygaff, didn’t open at all — but the post-party numbers told a different story. Local police announced 430 reports over the weekend and made 160 arrests — more than half of them of non-students and “visitors” who apparently came to town last weekend solely to party.
I’m sure that plenty of students — probably a large majority — enjoyed the day and didn’t get out of hand. Like a lot of locals, I avoided downtown on Saturday, so I can’t account for how crazy it actually was. Reading accounts of a hit-and-run DUI and the State College cop who was punched in the face, however, I think I made the right choice.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
A week from tomorrow, thousands of Penn State students (and more than a few alumni) will celebrate what has become the University’s newest — and most controversial — tradition: State Patty’s Day. Started by students a few years ago as a sort of replacement holiday after St. Patrick’s Day fell during Penn State’s spring break, “State” Patty’s Day has quickly evolved into a raucous and popular holiday of its own. But its popularity is hardly universal.
As a Penn State alum, I can understand the sense of pride in an event that’s exclusive to your school — in that, State Patty’s Day is similar to THON or the Beaver Stadium student section, something students at other colleges can envy. Where State Patty’s Day differs, of course, is the impact it has on the community, and as a taxpayer and father of young children, I’m not a fan of the costs — in terms of property crimes and extra police and emergency workers — or the spike in arrests and ER trips associated with what is, for many, nothing more than an excuse for a green-clad, day-long drinking binge.
Lately, the controversy has generated a lot of discussion — and maybe even some action. The University Park Undergraduate Association has joined other student groups in promoting a “Safe and Responsible Actions” pledge to encourage safer, smarter partying on State Patty’s Day. Some are going further: Dennis Shea, the head of the health policy and administration department in the College of Health & Human Development, is calling on fellow faculty to work toward stopping the event altogether. He told the Daily Collegian about one local resident whose church postponed a fundraising event scheduled for State Patty’s Day because its members were afraid to go downtown.
Inevitably, the conversation is active online — there are competing Facebook groups for and against State Patty’s Day. If nothing else, I hope the discussion helps temper the worst aspects of what is, for better or worse, a very visible part of Penn State student life.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
Last Thursday, GQ magazine published a powerful and absorbing story by Jason Fagone ’01 about a pair of shootings in Philadelphia—one in April 2008 that wounded a man, and a second one last July that killed that same man. The story makes the case that the person behind both shootings may well be eight-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Marvin Harrison of the Indianapolis Colts.
When he was an undergrad at Penn State, Jason worked on the staff of the Daily Collegian and did an internship here at The Penn Stater. He stayed on with us as a staff writer before heading off into his career with newsstand magazines. We’re very happy that he still freelances for us on occasion.
How did you first hear about the whole Marvin Harrison situation? And how did the GQ story come about?
It was the idea of my editor at GQ, Brendan Vaughan. He’s a football guy—we had worked together on a piece about Tim Tebow, the University of Florida quarterback. Brendan has really good instincts, and he had read some of the clips about the Harrison case and sensed that there might be a bigger story there. And he knew I lived in Philly and asked me if I was interested in doing some digging. That’s how it got started.
Why do you suppose the shootings and Harrison’s possible role managed to fly under the radar, in terms of media attention, for so long?
Couple answers. The obvious one is that Harrison was this famously quiet, humble, hardworking family guy. He didn’t seem like the kind of person who would walk around with loaded a .32-caliber handgun strapped to his leg. So there was this dissonance about his persona.
Also, there was dissent in the law-enforcement community. The Philly district attorney at the time, Lynne Abraham, gave a press conference in January 2009 that killed the Harrison story for months. It was amazing. She tarred the witnesses as liars and downplayed the strong physical evidence that had been gathered by the detectives.
Abraham made it hard for any journalist to advance the story, because to do that you’d have to show that the DA of Philadelphia was wrong. And to do that you’d need to spend a lot of time being a pain and gathering sources and documents and other stuff to help you sort out the thing that the DA said you could never sort out. So I was lucky that GQ took a risk here and basically said, “Here, spend a month on this and see what you find.” That’s a luxury.
Seems like Robert Nixon, a major eyewitness to the first shooting, was a big catch in terms of your reporting. How did you get him to talk to you?
I called his lawyer and asked.
Nixon is suing Harrison in civil court, for an amount in excess of $50,000. Attention will help his case, and he wants to win and get paid, so he had incentive to talk to me. Of course, as a witness to a shooting in a city where witnesses sometimes end up dead, he also had a disincentive.
My sense is that the FBI had already reached out to the police before my story posted online. But as far as Seth Williams goes, yes, I talked to his people, and they confirmed that his renewed interest in the case is a direct result of the firestorm sparked by the GQ story. He was planning to dig into it anyway, but he’s a busy guy, and our revelations helped to move the Harrison case to the top of the pile.
What kinds of e-mails have you been getting from people as a result of the article? Seems like Colts fans in particular aren’t too happy with you.
Yeah, there are some Internet commenters who hate the story and the way I wrote it. Some people think that Robert Nixon is a liar, and so they discount the whole piece, which is baffling to me, because part of the point I tried to make is that you don’t have to believe Nixon at all—you just have to believe the physical evidence, and Harrison’s own words in his statement to police. But I am not going to convince those people.
Judging by the Twitter account of Terrell Owens, he’s not a huge fan either—there was a passing mention of Owens in the story, as an example of a black athlete with a reputation for histrionics (as opposed to Harrison), and some sportswriters thought this was unfair, because Owens has no criminal record and this was primarily a story about crime. I think that’s a fair criticism.
And the gun people are not happy. I got a couple of e-mails from guys who seem to know a lot about guns, and said I was wrong to characterize Harrison’s handgun as an unusually nasty sort of weapon. I disagree.
Overall, though, the feedback has been positive in a really gratifying way. Sometimes when you write a long piece in a magazine and it gets blogged about, the first thing people say is something like, “This is REALLY LONG.” But here, I think people got something out of the length. The saga of the two shootings was just so bizarre, and it had been out there in so many tiny fragments, that the larger truth of the thing had been kind of lost. So when it was all stitched together in one story, it had an impact.
So that tells me that there is still a role for long-form journalism. There’s something it can do that is useful.
(You can read even more about the story behind Jason’s GQ story here.)
Tina Hay, editor