Posts tagged ‘The Daily Collegian’
I can’t imagine that by Monday evening, there’s not a Penn Stater on the planet who doesn’t know the news: THON set another fundraising record: $12.3 million dollars.
That’s more than $2 million more than last year’s amount, which shattered the previous record. This year’s total ($12,374,034.46, to be precise) raised the total amount that THON has raised for the Four Diamonds Fund to more than $100 million since 1973. No wonder Penn Staters, who have been saddened by so much of what’s happened over the past 14 months, were jubilant when the total was announced.
But we figured that you might not yet have caught up on the terrific THON coverage, starting with the cover of The Daily Collegian, which you can see here. If you want to get a feel for what it was like to be there, through words and pictures, you’re going to want to check out the following:
Click here to read the main story in the Collegian and for a chart with THON milestones over the years, and go to the Collegian’s home page for links to more stories and more photos. If you want a PDF of the paper, you can click here.
If you want to relive THON as it happened, click here for Onward State’s live blog. (Of course, you’ll have to scroll to the bottom and scroll up should you want to go through the whole 46 hours in chronological order.) There are links to videos, photos, and blog posts here, as well.
The College of Communications goes all-out on THON, too. (Someday I’m going to count the number of student journalists covering THON. But I digress.) You can click here to see how 15 student photojournalists, working in shifts, covered the whole 46 hours, and you’ll also find links to daily coverage, too.
And if all of this makes you want to relieve the highlights from 40 years of THON, check out this history piece, which appeared in the February issue of AlumnInsider, a monthly publication of the Alumni Association.
Let us know about your favorite THON coverage in the comments.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
Leave it to NPR business and financial reporter Jim Zarroli to sum up why so many alumni of The Daily Collegian got together last weekend to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Penn State’s independent student newspaper.
Zarroli ’79, the keynote speaker at Saturday night’s banquet, told the story of his years at Penn State, when he arrived as an uncertain freshman who wasn’t sure where he belonged … until he found himself on the Collegian staff. There, he began growing into the professional he is today because, he explained, “We weren’t just learning journalism. We were doing it.”
But he got something else from the hours and hours he spent reporting and writing and just hanging out in the Collegian office. Said Zarroli, “It really became my home.”
I knew the feeling—both of them, really. (I appeared in a house ad for the Collegian in the mid-1990s, and the copy read something like, “Everything I needed to know about journalism, I learned at The Daily Collegian.” Still true.) And I know each of the other nearly 200 alums who were listening to Zarroli could identify, too.
There’s an immediate kinship among various generations of staffers. It doesn’t matter whether you laid out the paper with the latest version of Quark or wielded a photo wheel and an Exacto knife. Or whether your first assignment was to ask people sitting on The Wall along College Avenue where they bought their pot (true story, related Friday night by a 1970s alum) or, as was true for some students last year, you jumped right into covering the biggest news story in Penn State’s history.
I’m sure there’s a similar feeling among students and alums devoted to other activities. (One of my best friends, Laura Eckert Thompson ’92, made that point in this column geared toward incoming freshmen in a 1991 Collegian magazine.) But one of the things I loved about the Collegian is that although our group was tightly connected, we were never insular. We had to know and understand the other student groups, the other students’ concerns. We felt a true responsibility to the rest of the student body—we were their newspaper.
Which is part of what got last year’s staff through the late nights and long days covering the Sandusky scandal and Joe Paterno’s death.
At a panel Saturday morning featuring 2011-2012 staffers, Anna Orso, now managing editor, then the cops reporter (and a student in my news writing class), explained that the staff believed their role was “to tell the narrative of the student body.” Current editor/last year’s managing editor Casey McDermott told of how they explained the legal terms in the first print paper, realizing that most students wouldn’t know them. (At the time, I commented on what a great idea that was.) Last year’s editor, Lexi Belculfine ’12, said the opinion page was a place “to urge our peers to think critically.”
The news staff showed their story budgets and other planning documents (click here if you’re a news nerd and want a look), told how the opinion editor, Jordan Cole ’12, became a de-facto psychologist for the upset alumni and students who wrote or even called, just wanting to talk to someone, and related how they blew off the national editors who called wanting story tips and tried to sweeten the deal by saying they’d be sure to remember the Collegian kids the next time they had a job opening.
Of course the students would have none of that. No Collegianaire, from any era, would have. What an insult. I’m insulted again, just writing that.
Staffers from the business side spoke, too, explaining how they kept advertising as constant as possible during the scandal and sold thousands of commemorative newspapers. (As Amy Zurzola Quinn ’94 tweeted, “If these students could keep biz afloat, keep advertisers during scandal, just THINK what they’ll do when you hire them.”)
Last weekend reminded me what a great tradition I’m part of. The entire staff of the 2011-12 staff was inducted into the Collegian Hall of Fame. They were joined by Larry Foster ’48, a former managing editor; Jane Murphy Schultz ’43, the first female editor-in-chief, who died in 2010; and the wife-and-husband team of Roberta Hutchinson ’48 and Allan Ostar ’48, who were the other stars of the weekend.
The Ostars donated the first scholarship earmarked solely for Collegian staffers, and it’s easy to see why they feel so connected. They met there. When they stood to be recognized, Allan said, “They say some marriages are made in heaven. This marriage was made at The Daily Collegian.”
Wild cheers and applause, of course. Possibly a few tears, as well.
I’m going to give the last word to Lou Bell ’29, a former Collegian editor who wrote an amazing final column, what the students now would call a “senior send-off.” General manager Patti Hartranft quotes it a lot, and no wonder:
Whether it be by the decree of Fate or Circumstance or Death, there must come an end to every joy. There must come a time when the standard-bearer must release his fingers from the banner that he had so ardently striven to hold aloft, when he must pass the banner to other hands, reluctant to give it up but confident that strong and willing hands will keep it afloat and speed it forward until still other hands clutch it. That runs the eternal cycle.
We are proud that the banner still floats, that it goes ever forward. Plainly speaking, we are confident that the new editorial and business staffs of the Penn State Collegian are competent and willing enough to carry on—and on—and on. To our successors, congratulations, good fortune, good heart.
And, above all—good heart.
That, as far as I’m concerned, says everything.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
Our intern for this fall semester is senior Erika Spicer. We asked her to introduce herself, and here’s what she wrote:
I remember my parents waking me up at 7 a.m. on fall Saturday mornings. Though groggy and squinty-eyed, I would meticulously pick out my blue and white outfit for the day, stick a few paw print stickers on my cheeks, and secure ribbons in my hair. It would be another football Saturday in Beaver Stadium.
Since before I could remember, my family has spent several weekends each year loading up the car with what seemed like 70 bags of chips, wings, a mini grill, drinks, and Penn State-themed plasticware in preparation for daylong football celebrations. When I wasn’t attending dance lessons or marching on our Bubbler football field –– the fact that my high school mascot is a bubble is another story for another time –– my parents, both spirited Penn State alumni, made sure I was tailgating and rah-rah-ing at Penn State football games. (Humiliating photos of 3-year-old me wearing a Penn State cheerleader uniform are still lurking around the house.)
I loved how grown-ups acted like kids and the half-mile radius of the football stadium was a blanket of blue and white. And when we took a break from tailgating and cheering for the Nittany Lions, we were exploring what I thought was the big city of State College, with convoluted, confusing streets and magical toy stores.
It’s hard to comprehend how much my perception of this place has changed.
I grew up in tiny Carlisle, Pa., where car shows are the annual attraction and the local Walmart is considered a hot spot. Graduating with about 150 classmates, I had friendships that are still not rivaled as I enter my final year at Penn State.
But once I started my freshman year here, the “big city” of State College morphed into a small town, and it felt even more like a second home. The transition was so smooth, and I really understood why my parents always called this place Happy Valley. But nothing is perfect –– so I discovered last November during my junior year.
I was serving as an editor at The Daily Collegian when the Sandusky case broke. Even when I didn’t want to, I had to know every sickening detail of the case that was released and, when necessary in my role as an editor, be critical of my second home. I don’t know how long I’ve known the name Joe Paterno, mostly because I don’t know if I ever didn’t know it. Like many other alumni and students, I felt as if my community had shattered.
I’ve had only a handful of classes so far this semester, but three of my professors have already given the “good decision-making” lecture; partying and drinking just isn’t worth it, they say, because our university’s reputation is at stake. To work at The Penn Stater, I had to fill out an agreement form stating whether I knew anything about suspected abuse on campus. As we were warned, things are changing.
These are reminders of what has happened in the past year. But I still can’t shake the feeling I had as my parents drove me down Atherton Street for my last college move-in day. I felt giddy, finally being reunited with the infectious energy of this place. As a journalist, I’m always looking for all sides of the story. I know some bad things have happened here. If needed, I’ll cover them. But I’ll also make sure that alumni will stay updated on the lively campus activities and classes. There’s a lot to be proud of, and I’ll be sure to bring that, too, to the forefront this fall.
Erika Spicer, intern
Penn State student journalists have had quite a year, learning on the fly as they’ve covered an ongoing scandal that has emerged as one of the biggest stories in the country—and maybe the biggest story ever in higher education. Their work hasn’t gone unnoticed.
On Thursday, college journalism scholar Dan Reimold, author of the College Media Matters blog, named The Daily Collegian its College Newspaper of the Year. Reimold praises the paper’s staff for “producing quality work and simply surviving a story that prior to fall semester’s start no one but Pennsylvania’s state attorney general could have imagined unfolding.” As a Collegian alum, I’ve closely followed the paper’s coverage (as well as that of Onward State, and of a number of students who freelanced for big-time papers during the scandal) over the past eight months. None of it has been perfect, but then neither has much of the work of the established pros who’ve dropped in to cover this story. Stumbles aside, the vast majority of Penn State student journalists have done impressive work throughout. It’s good to see others have noticed.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
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…)
When the Sandusky scandal broke, my husband and I were heading out of town for a long weekend away. I’m not a good passenger, so I was distracting myself by scrolling through Twitter on my phone as he drove, and that’s how we got the news on Friday afternoon. Awful, we both agreed.
Our lazy Saturday morning was interrupted when both of our phones started buzzing like crazy; friends and colleagues were alerting us to perjury charges and a shockingly graphic grand jury presentment. We were floored. And we knew that although we weren’t in State College, we weren’t really on vacation anymore.
The thing about being a journalist is this: You can’t really turn it on and off. News doesn’t keep hours, and often my best laid-plans go awry. (Just ask the guy I was dating the semester I was a candidate at The Daily Collegian: “You used to be normal,” he said, not unkindly, “and then you joined the Collegian.”) I wouldn’t have it any other way. (It’s also not a coincidence that I married another journalist; who better to understand how you think and work?)
By Sunday, everyone at the B&B’s communal breakfast table was waiting for the “two writers from Penn State” to explain everything to them. (As if that were possible.) They’d seen the story on the front page of the New York Times. We got pelted with more questions Monday morning. When we checked out, the owner gave us (more…)
This video, produced by two staffers at The Daily Collegian, Krista Myers and Katherine Rodriguez, has gotten a lot of play on Twitter recently, and it’s easy to see why. Titled “We Are … Penn State—Students’ Reactions to the Events in Happy Valley,” the video is shot in arresting black and white, and it features Penn State students talking about what the past six weeks have been like and why they are still loyal to their school. It runs for a little over four minutes, and it’s well worth your time.
This seems like a good time, as well, to salute the work that all of the Collegian journalists have done over the past month. I know for a fact that some of them haven’t been to class quite as often since the first week of November, and I truly hope their professors took the circumstances into account. There are some things you can’t learn in a classroom, and covering a story like this is one of them.
These journalists were in the middle of everything—asking questions at the attorney general’s news conference, being pepper-sprayed while covering the riot, summing up Joe Paterno’s 61-year-career at the University with a special section on a day’s notice, publishing the first Sunday edition in the paper’s history. Back when I was all but living in the Collegian office, way back in the pre-Internet era, we stopped publishing during finals week. But these students continued to write stories, shoot video and photos, and tweet during the Thanksgiving week break, and they’re still on the job during this finals week.
They’ve covered the story fairly and accurately and comprehensively: You can find an index of all of their coverage here.
What do they do for an encore? I have no idea. As veteran sports journalist Malcolm Moran, the Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society in the College of Communications, noted in this interview, “What do you do if you’re 20 years old and you’re covering the story of your life? One friend of mine said, ‘I’ve been doing this 40 years and I’ve never seen anything like this.’ ”
Lori Shontz, senior editor
Earlier today, a couple of us were trying to figure out what percentage of the student body is participating in THON, which officially gets underway at 6 p.m. Friday—in a little less than two hours. We’re not sure, but we’re guessing between a third and a half of the students at the University Park campus are involved somehow—dancers, volunteers, cheering on from the stands—and there are plenty of students from other campuses here for the big event.
And of course the THON families—children and their parents who are being helped by the Four Diamonds Fund, the reason 700 students will be dancing for 46 hours this weekend at the Bryce Jordan Center—are in town, too.
If you can’t be there, there are still plenty of ways to follow along. Here are some of the best:
And the College of Communications is again dispatching more than 150 students to cover the event, including a live webstream. You can find all of that coverage here.
Last year, THON raised more than $7.8 million for the Four Diamonds Fund. Check back at the end of the weekend for more details from this year’s event.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
At Tuesday’s ceremonial groundbreaking for the Suzanne Pohland Paterno Catholic Student Faith Center, Father Matthew Laffey had a few things to say about its namesake. Sue Paterno ’62 deserved the honor, he said, because “of what she’s done for the students,” and he added, “It’s a recognition of what she’s done for our community all the time. It’s a recognition of what she does for anyone who asks—all the time.”
Those words really resonated with me because I know how true they are. When I was a student, Mrs. Paterno went out of her way for me.
I was a sophomore and writing for the Collegian’s football preview magazine. The editors wanted a series of Q&As with people who were “around” the football program. They suggested I try to get Sue Paterno.
I thought this was a ridiculous idea, but I screwed up all of my courage and called her at home, hoping she’d agree to answer a few quick questions. She could not have been more gracious. Much to my surprise, she invited me and a photographer to the house. Even more shocking, when we arrived she escorted us to the kitchen, sat us at the big kitchen table, and fed us homemade cookies while I asked her questions and my colleague snapped photos. She entertained us—even now, I can hardly believe this—for four hours.
And she was wonderfully candid. She told hilarious stories about how inept Joe is around the house—calling her in the hospital after she had back surgery because he couldn’t work the dishwasher, and smashing a chandelier while removing an extra table leaf the one and only time he “helped” clean up after a post-game party. She provided us a glimpse of her life as a public figure, as well, explaining how she just couldn’t throw a scarf on over her curlers and run to Weis if she discovered she’d forgotten something on her grocery list. I had so much material, I had to beg my editors for more space—and even after I got it, I had to cut tons of amazing stuff.
I bothered her again the next semester. I was taking a magazine writing class, and our assignment was to explore a complicated issue. I picked Proposition 48, the NCAA rule that required athletes who didn’t meet certain academic standards to sit out a year. Knowing that Mrs. Paterno tutored many football players, I called her again, asking if she could talk to me about the issue.
She met me on campus and not only provided thoughtful analysis, but set up a meeting with a player who’d arrived on campus with a checkered academic past—on the condition that I not use his name. Because the story was for class, I agreed, and the interview was another fabulous learning experience. It broadened my horizons, making me realize how circumstances could get the better of even a well-intentioned athlete in a struggling school system, and taught me how to ask questions about a sensitive situation. That’s the kind of thing you’re supposed to learn in college, and one of the reasons I learned it so well was because of the generosity of Mrs. Paterno.
Why did she give me so much of her time? Back then, I had no idea. After reading Wednesday’s story in the Collegian, I realize that it must be just how she lives her life. It’s really nice to see her recognized for that.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
Joe Paterno is always good for some snappy one-liners when he faces the press, and his appearance Tuesday at Big Ten Media Day (which you can watch here) was no exception. He characterized the illness that kept him from making public appearances over the summer as not intestinal but “something lower than that,” and he name-dropped Mark Twain in joking that “the rumor of my death has been over-exaggerated or something.”
That said, Paterno looked tired. He’s lost weight. And his speech was notably slower and a little slurred, which is reflected in the coverage. You can check out a nicely framed and written story from The Daily Collegian here, the observations from the astute and often controversial Dave Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News here, and the story by USA Today’s Marlen Garcia, who kicked off the press conference by asking Paterno if he would coach until he died, here.
And if you want to hear more directly from Paterno, you can watch a here’s a post-press conference video from Fight on State here.
Paterno said repeatedly that he’s doing fine and is ready for the season, which is rapidly approaching. Driving past Beaver Stadium on my way home yesterday, I noticed that the numbered “parking stops” marking the spaces are already in place along Park Avenue.
Lori Shontz, senior editor