‘Amy’s Story’ Still Being Told

October 29, 2010 at 4:32 pm 1 comment

Every month or so, our staff meets to kick around story ideas for upcoming issues. And from the very first meeting I attended after I started here in February 2009, one of the items that repeatedly came up was a documentary titled Telling Amy’s Story.

It tells the story of Amy Homan McGee ’91a, who was murdered by her husband in their State College home. My colleagues had seen it in a division meeting well before I started here, and they kept talking about how powerful it was. I didn’t doubt them, but I wasn’t exactly sure what they meant. All domestic violence stories, I thought, are chilling. I didn’t see how this would be much different.

Then we got a copy of the documentary, and I took it home to watch one night.


Telling Amy’s Story is the story of Amy McGee, of course. But it’s also the story of State College police detective Deirdri Fishel, who was part of a committee that reviewed homicides to see if anything could have prevented the crimes. She spent months making a timeline with everything that had happened to McGee over the previous decade. Then, angry at how many times the system had failed, Fishel dedicated herself to educating her fellow officers about those flaws.

Her powerful presentation made an impact on everyone who saw it, and I can understand why. The way Fishel tells Amy’s story, it’s impossible to look away. She is fierce.

Eventually, after more than $300,000 in grants from Verizon (facilitated in part by Dan Mead ’75, ’77g), Penn State Public Broadcasting’s Joe Myers ’98 made a documentary that could be seen more widely. TV star Mariska Hargitay of Law and Order: SVU, signed on to introduce the film, and now it’s gone national.

October is National Domestic Violence month, so the documentary has been getting a lot of attention. It’s been screened across the country, from Howard University in Washington, D.C., to Moberly, Mo., to Thousand Oaks, Calif.

We ran a short piece on the film in our September/October issue, and we’ve got a longer, feature-length article coming in our January/February issue. But don’t wait for our story. If you have a chance to see Telling Amy’s Story, take it. I guarantee you won’t walk away unchanged.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

Entry filed under: The Penn Stater Magazine. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • […] their 2010 documentary, Telling Amy’s Story, is getting. The film, which Myers directed, has already aired on more than two hundred PBS stations nationwide, and tomorrow night it will be screened in New York City for the first time—with […]

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