Posts tagged ‘New York Times’
A generous parting gift: President Rod Erickson and his wife Shari on Thursday announced a $1 million gift to the university. The donation, which coincides with this weekend’s celebration of the closing of the “For The Future” capital campaign, will benefit the Arboretum, the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, and the Smeal College of Business. Erickson is set to retire from the university next month.
Klosterman on ethics: I wandered over to the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on Thursday to hear Chuck Klosterman speak at the “Religion, Ethics, and Choice” symposium hosted by Penn State’s Center for Ethics & Religious Affairs. I met Chuck a decade or so ago through our mutual friend (and occasional Penn Stater contributor) Michael Weinreb ’94; if you know Chuck’s name, it’s probably from his books, his writing for the likes of Esquire and Grantland, or more recently, his role as the Ethicist for the New York Times Magazine. Based in Brooklyn, he generally makes a handful of college speaking engagements each year, but this was the first time he’d been invited somewhere specifically based on the Ethicist gig.
Speaking to a small room—a mix of students, faculty, and campus and community religious leaders—Chuck was, like his writing, often funny and always thought provoking. He read from his latest non-fiction book, I Wear the Black Hat, in which he uses real and fictional villains to grapple with the idea of good v. evil. But for this crowd, the insights into his Ethicist gig were especially interesting:
* He opened by saying he’s not remotely qualified for the job, then added that, in his opinion, “no one is.” (The Times‘ first Ethicist, he noted, was Randy Cohen, a former writer for David Letterman.)
* He was only half joking when he said that, due both to the nature of the job and the reactive tone of so much of modern culture, he’s certain “I’m going to get fired at some point.”
* He said he receives about 100 submissions each week, and that the correspondents are most likely to be “lawyers, new mothers, and academics. Also, a lot of atheists.”
* In helping people solve their ethical quandaries, Chuck says he aims to be “hyper-rational … almost Spock-like” in his responses: “I’ve advised people to do things I’m not sure I would do in my own life.” As for his process: Once he and his editor have chosen which letters to run, Chuck said he thinks about the dilemma, composes a response, and then “I spend two days thinking about all the ways I’d disagree with that response.” He then edits it accordingly. It’s a unique gig, and qualified or not, I think he’s as right as anyone for the job.
Football is back: The forecast calls for temperatures in the high 60s and blue (and white) skies—a perfect day, in other words, for the Blue-White Game. There’s all sorts of fun stuff scheduled in and around Beaver Stadium Saturday. Kickoff is at 1:30. Hope to see you there…
Ryan Jones, senior editor
Four the glory: David Taylor and Ed Ruth became Penn State’s first four-time Big Ten champions on Sunday, leading the Nittany Lions to their fourth straight Big Ten team title. Next stop: The NCAA championships, which start March 20 in Oklahoma City.
All downhill from here: You might have seen our post Friday on the U.S. Paralympic duo of visually impaired skier Staci Mannella and her guide, Kim Seevers ’86g. Turns out we’re not the only ones who realized Mannella and Seevers are a compelling story: The pair was featured Sunday in a New York Times story on these unusual partnerships on the slopes. Mannella and Seevers will go for gold this week in Sochi.
Talk to the Hand: New offensive line coach Herb Hand on Friday continued his utter dominance of the internet. He took a break from tweeting long enough to take part in an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit. Among the highlights, Hand revealed his favorite State College pizza spot, how he’s handling all this snow, and what he throws on the grill when his linemen come over for dinner.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
A leader lost: A bit of news we missed last week, but which seems appropriate to share on the day we observe the life and work of Martin Luther King: A memorial service was held Saturday for Thelma Price, a longtime Penn State administrator and civil rights activist who died on Jan. 8. She was 88. She came to the university in 1964 to serve as assistant dean of students at New Kensington, and later served as assistant VP of student affairs at University Park. The first charter president of the State College chapter of the NAACP, she was also a vocal advocate for minority students, earning the nickname “Mom” for her tireless work on their behalf.
Happiness and heartbreak: Sunday night was a memorable one for three former Nittany Lions, although one that NaVorro Bowman ’09 no doubt wishes he could forget. Bowman, the San Francisco 49ers linebacker whom NFL.com calls “arguably the best defensive player in the league this season,” went down in gruesome fashion in the fourth quarter of the Niners’ eventual 23-17 loss to Seattle. Afterward, his all-pro teammate, Patrick Willis, told reporters, “If he doesn’t get defensive player of the year, I don’t know what they go by. Most important, I just pray he’s all right.”
On the much brighter side, the Seahawks duo of Michael Robinson ’04 and Jordan Hill ’13 are going to the Super Bowl, marking the 43rd time in 48 years that at least one Penn Stater is on a roster for the big game.
Times up: Sunday’s New York Times carried a couple of pieces of note for Penn Staters. Michael Mann, distinguished professor of meteorology and arguably the world’s most famous climate scientist, wrote an oped for the Sunday Review in which he talks about embracing his role as a public advocate for awareness and action on climate change. On a very different topic, over in the Business section, there’s a profile of Ross Ulbricht ’09g, who is facing federal charges of computer hacking, drug trafficking, and money laundering as the alleged mastermind behind the online black market Silk Road. It’s disturbing, fascinating stuff.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
Zeynep Ton’s revolution: When we featured MIT business prof Zeynep Ton ’96 in our Nov./Dec. issue, when knew she was doing interesting and important work in the field of retail labor issues. Turns out she’s making an even bigger impact than we realized. Ton’s research was the subject of a very cool feature in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, in which the writer calls Ton a “revolutionary force” in the field of operations management, and cites examples of major companies that have been influenced by her work. For companies savvy enough to follow Ton’s lead, it’s a (seemingly) simple equation: pay your employees more, and they’ll do a better job; when your employees do a better job, your profits go up.
Still searching: There’s been plenty of talk and rumors (with even a little bit of reporting here and there), but as of Monday morning, Penn State has not found a new head football coach. Much of the weekend buzz centered on University of Miami coach Al Golden ’91, with reports that he had been offered the job—and many hinting he was ready to accept it. On Sunday, Miami released a statement in which Golden said he was “not a candidate for another position.” But could that change? Mike Poorman ’82 of StateCollege.com says it could. Meanwhile, NFL.com is reporting that there’s “mutual interest” between Penn State and Mike Munchak ’82, who was fired over the weekend by the Tennessee Titans.
Feel-good football news: Coaching uncertainty aside, there are still plenty of reminders of why you love Penn State football. Here are two: During the first quarter of tonight’s BCS national championship game, John Urschel ’12, ’13g will be honored on the field as the winner of the Campbell Trophy, which Urschel was awarded last month as “the nation’s premier college football scholar-athlete.” And over the weekend, Nittany Lion linebacker Ben Kline posted an “open letter to Nittany Nation” at Onward State, in which he writes passionately of the commitment of Penn State’s players. Great stuff.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
From news to features, your daily dose of everything Penn State.
Shrine dedication: The Nittany Lion Shrine opened a few weeks ago after a summer of renovations—mostly to its “habitat,” if you will—but it was officially dedicated Friday. The stonemason said his goal was to create a “stoney, mountain-y environment.” The Daily Collegian has the coverage here.
A romantic at heart: Turns out that the Blue Band’s feature twirler, Matt Freeman, is as smooth off the field as he is on it. (more…)
The “City Room” section of the New York Times specializes in stories that find the individual humanity amid the often faceless, fast-moving masses of New York City. Today’s story comes with a compelling Penn State angle.
Joshua Johnson is a Penn State undergrad — the story doesn’t say, but we think he might attend the Altoona campus — who, like many students, is working to pay his way through school. It’s his job that’s unusual: Johnson, a Harlem native, tap dances for tips on New York City subways. The story details Johnson’s challenging family background and includes a short video, with highlights of his subway routine. It’s absolutely worth checking out.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
It’s been a while since I met and interviewed Beverly McIver ’92g, the North Carolina-based artist and subject of the upcoming documentary Raising Renee. My profile of McIver ran in our Nov/Dec issue, timed (we thought) with the airing of Raising Renee on HBO late last year. But we never saw a firm date for the premier, and given the events of the past few months, I forgot to ever follow up.
The New York Times Style section offered an unexpected reminder Thursday with a profile of McIver, set at her Durham, N.C. home. It covers much of the same ground our story did—her path to artistic prominence, and the compelling family drama that inspired the documentary—but it offers something we didn’t: a firm date for Raising Renee. The doc is scheduled to air Wednesday, Feb. 22, on HBO. I’ve watched it a few times and highly recommend checking it out.
Ryan Jones, 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…)
After Rip Engle retired as Penn State’s football coach, Joe Paterno was introduced at his successor at a news conference on Saturday morning, Feb. 19, 1966. On the front page of the next issue of The Daily Collegian, this was the top headline: “Model U.N. Whips USSR Bloc.”
Underneath, there were stories about whether changing the rules on female students living in apartments would lead to moral ruin (one student testified that at other schools with similar rules, “they have no trouble with pregnancies”), about the Collegian’s new editor and business manager, and about the concert that kicked off Greek Week 1966: Simon and Garfunkel in Recreation Building.
Paterno was mentioned on page 6. At the bottom. In a story headlined “Paterno Retains Staff.”
To be fair, the Collegian published Tuesday through Saturday in those days, so the news was a couple of days old. But it’s still remarkable to contrast the introduction of Paterno with that of his successor, Bill O’Brien, who was introduced Saturday morning at the Nittany Lion Inn in a ballroom full of media members, donors, university officials, alumni, and what seemed like some fans who wandered in. O’Brien’s news conference was televised and streamed live by the Big Ten Network (if you missed it, you can watch it here), and dozens of media tweeted his every word to an eager Penn State fan base and a national audience.
And, of course, the composition of O’Brien’s staff, while important, wasn’t the big story. It was how and why he was chosen to lead Penn State after the Sandusky scandal.
O’Brien’s Friday evening flight from Boston to State College was tracked online by media, and shortly after the plane landed at University Park Airport, photos started to show up on Twitter. The photos, taken in the dark, weren’t great—Jim Seip of the York Daily Record tweeted that he’d seen better definition in photos of Sasquatch.
Photographers got better shots Saturday before the new coach actually met the media; O’Brien’s 5-year-old son, Michael, (more…)
If you’re trying to get a handle on the last-minute announcement that Jerry Sandusky ’66, ’71g would waive his preliminary hearing, you’re not alone. I’ve spent part of the afternoon monitoring Twitter and checking out various news organizations’ coverage, and here’s what’s caught my eye:
Adam Smeltz ’05 of StateCollege.com provides a good synopsis here, and the New York Times, which obviously has a broader audience, does something similar here on its college sports blog, The Quad. This MSNBC video, featuring investigative reporter Michael Isikoff, is also good, although the studio host mangles the pronunciation of Bellefonte.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette talked to a couple of defense lawyers who are baffled by the strategy of Sandusky’s lawyer, Joe Amendola ’70. ESPN’s Lester Munson, a lawyer and journalist, gets into more of the details here, with everything from how the preliminary hearing can benefit the defense to whether the defense will eventually request a trial by judge, not jury. There’s a video of Bob Ley speaking with legal analyst Roger Cossack at the same link.
Dan Wetzel, a columnist for Yahoo Sports who has weighed in early and often on the scandal, has what might be one of the first opinion pieces published; he says that Sandusky’s late decision “put the accusers through the wringer.”
And while I don’t love everything that Deadspin does, this piece on the morning’s events is a really good read.
Please let us know in the comments if you’ve found other worthwhile stories.
Lori Shontz, senior editor