Posts tagged ‘Malcolm Moran’

The Future of the NCAA—and Penn State

The biggest takeaway from a panel discussion Wednesday night titled “The Future of the NCAA and its Membership,” I thought, came at the end. And it didn’t come from either of the biggest names on the panel: Gene Corrigan or Cedric Dempsey, both former NCAA presidents.

It was R. Scott Kretchmar, Penn State’s former NCAA faculty representative and current professor of kinesiology, who said, “I think one of the difficulties that faculty and others who love Penn State are having at this time is, the issue of knowing that we need to move forward—we can’t keep tilling the soil; we have to get on with it—but the circumstances under which we’re now suffering were so unusual that it’s very difficult to do that.

“And so there may be a period of time where we have to ask questions: Were we treated fairly? Was there any kind of justice here? But eventually, we’re going to move on. Penn State’s strong. We’re going to have a good future.”

Those were the questions on everyone’s mind Wednesday night, and Kretchmar accurately described the mood of the crowd, a mix of students and townspeople.

Look at the title of the event, which was (more…)

October 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm 7 comments

Posnanski and Paterno: A Lesson about Reporting

Author and journalist Joe Posnanski, right, discussed his book on Joe Paterno last Friday in the HUB. Malcolm Moran moderated the event.

We asked our intern, Erika Spicer, to attend Joe Posnanski’s talk Friday at the HUB. We’ve read and written so much over the past 10 months about Paterno and his legacy, and we were interested in Erika’s perspective—both as an undergraduate, and in particular as a journalism major. Here’s what she came away with.

As I sat in my plastic chair in Alumni Hall waiting for Paterno author Joe Posnanski to speak, I mulled over the fact I probably wasn’t going to learn anything new.

I am so tired of listening to people rehash the events surrounding Joe Paterno, I thought to myself, feeling a twinge of guilt as I sat among some Paterno supporters. With the release of Paterno in the midst of a new era for Penn State football, I knew where a lot of this discussion was headed Friday afternoon.

As I predicted, questions like, “How do you think Joe Paterno would feel about the NCAA sanctions?” popped up when moderator Malcolm Moran, director of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, which sponsored the talk, gave audience members the opportunity to ask Posnanski questions. Not that I could blame them –– after all, Posnanski not only spent (more…)

September 17, 2012 at 1:11 pm 1 comment

A Timely Class in Journalism Ethics

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…)

January 24, 2012 at 11:03 pm 4 comments

Behind the Scenes and Below the Surface

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…)

January 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm 1 comment

Nice Work by The Daily Collegian

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

December 14, 2011 at 5:38 pm 2 comments

A Sandusky Scandal Reading List

I spent a little time Sunday afternoon trying to catch up on all of the media coverage of the child sexual abuse scandal that engulfed the University. I barely made a dent in the stack of articles I had printed, but so far, a few stand out as required reading.

1. “Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State football staffer, subject of grand jury investigation.” The Harrisburg paper gets credit for being the first to report—last March 31—that a grand jury was investigating Jerry Sandusky ’66, ’71g. The story was written by Sara Ganim ’08.

2. “Who Knew What About Jerry Sandusky?” Sara Ganim again, this time in a special report this past Friday chronicling the allegations that stretch over a 10-year period—and the missed opportunities to do something about them.

The rest of the articles on the list are not reported news stories so much as essays reflecting on various aspects of this sorrowful mess:

3. “Growing Up Penn State.” An essay at the new sports site Grantland.com by Michael Weinreb ’94, who grew up in State College. He writes poignantly of how his ideals have been shattered, citing, for example, the 1987 Fiesta Bowl win over Miami:

It is still my favorite football game of all time, a metaphoric triumph of the unadorned hero over the flamboyant villain. I wrote a long piece about it for ESPN, and a portion of a book, that now rings completely hollow. I have the original video recording of it in my living room, and I have thought several times over the past couple of days about taking a hammer to it.

4. “A Test of Bonds Old and New.” Malcolm Moran was a longtime (more…)

November 14, 2011 at 9:48 am 13 comments

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