Rhetoric and the Art of a Joe Paterno Press Conference
Mike Poorman ’82 teaches a class in the College of Communications called “Joe Paterno, Communications & the Media,” and its focus is exactly what the name implies. For obvious reasons, Mike only teaches the class during the fall semester, allowing the 60-some students in his class to crowd into the Beaver Stadium media room and take in a live Paterno press conference. Yesterday, his current class took its turn.
The topic that dominated a good chunk of this week’s media session was Penn State’s scheduling of lower-division opponent Eastern Illinois in what should amount to a mid-season walkover this Saturday at Beaver Stadium. A local beat writer put Joe on the spot about the scheduling decision, and Paterno responded with some prepared notes — if not a first, then certainly a rarity for the veteran coach. Poorman has covered a few hundred of Joe’s Tuesday pressers, so it’s notable when he points out that “there’s never been anything” quite like yesterday’s exchange.
Mike found it a terrific teaching opportunity, and he turned it into an enlightening column — including perspective on Joe’s rhetorical approach, and the text of that contentious play-by-play between Paterno and the reporter — all of which you can read here.
Ryan Jones, senior editor