Penn 109

Posted in Penn Fishing Gear by Penn Fishing Gear on January 28, 2012

Penn 109

After A Long Career In TV And Radio Stories, He Moved To State College To Rejoin The Penn State Community, Where He Earned His Journalism Degree In 1959.

Lou Prato's been around serious news stories all of his life and he is around one now the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal at Penn State.

After a long career in Television and radio stories, he moved to State Varsity to rejoin the Penn State community, where he earned his journalism degree in 1959. After authoring The Penn State Soccer Encyclopedia, he became the first director of the Penn State All-Sports Museum. Now retired from the varsity, he still writes about Penn State sports.

Prato's media career includes working and leading TV and radio newsrooms in Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago and Dayton, Ohio, as well as work with the Associated Press. His educational references include twelve years as head of Northwestern University's broadcast graduate programme in Washington. For a long time he used to be a correspondent and contributing writer for the North American Journalism Review.

Many stories directors know him for his more than 35-year stint on the board of the Radio-Television News Directors Association (now the Radio TV Digital News Association), including 22 years as its treasurer.

He is shaken by the scandal, but he also believes that the press has unfairly blackened the whole establishment with their "rush to judgment, the supposition, the innuendo, the ridiculous commentary based basically on a grand jury report that is still to be proven in the court of law."

Never one to mince his words, he spoke about his feelings with Contributing Editor P.J. Bednarski in a series of e-mails, excerpted below.

I know the horrible things are alleged to have occurred with those youngsters sicken you. But I know that on a journalistic level, you are appalled by some of the cover.

Concern about the coverage is nothing in comparison to the simple concern all Penn Staters have for the sufferers of kid abuse and their youngsters, and I mean that sincerely.

But the way most of the media has continued to portray Penn State, the people who work and live here, the scholars and faculty, the university's soccer team and even our alumni base, one might get the point this complete area is inhabited by a horde of vicious, heartless kid sex abusers. One satellite TV talk show host called the Second Mile "a molestation farm." Come on!

Now the various insincere, self-serving, second-guessing critics in the media and the naive, blood-thirsty public they foment and influence have made Penn State symbolical of all that is bad in the North American culture that is till the media moves on to another shark fest, leaving in its wake a whole life taint of Penn Confirm that will never go away no matter what the final truth might be.

I am worn out arguing, debating and considering everything that has occurred to Penn State, to me, my family and lots of my friends in the last couple of weeks, and it is difficult to believe everything reported so far by the grand jury. Furthermore, it is even more hard to believe Joe Paterno was so morally deficient as his millions of baying detractors in the media and outside it announce. It is so out of keeping with character of the man.

As for [Athletic Director] Tim Curley, I have met many liars in my life especially in academia and I can't believe Tim is a liar and morally deficient. OK, I understand. I and hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of others were fooled by Sandusky. Therefore as to Joe and Tim, we shall see, will not we?

Therefore after all these years, this has taught you something new about the media?

I'll never watch, listen to, and read the news or watch or listen to talk shows as I had before.

You know what hurts me the most, besides what may have occurred to those boys? I was a part of the media, a journalism graduate who was taught not only to be fair, balanced and objective, but to be sensitive of others, to get every side of the tale, never to presume, and to not interject my private or political beliefs into any story.

I was also shown how to be careful of the personal agendas of sources as well as my own, to be suspicious of whom to trust, to be doubtful but realistic, to withstand the enticement to be first without first assuring you have it right, and to never report a rumour just because you may believe it to be true . My, how idealistic and old-fashioned.

Maybe you don't see it being so up close and private to this story, but this is what a large amount of folk would say media do with stories like these all the time.

Look, there were times in my career I didn't meet my private exacting standards. That bothers me to this day. But I didn't expect journalism to fall to this level of irresponsibility and shameful, malicious depth that it has in the last 20 years. I am sure there are countless thousands still working in the newsrooms of this country who share my perspective.

There's been good reporting on the national level, but I'm sorry, embarrassed and I'm angry at how a large crew of the media has reported and researched this story with such a pile-on mentality. The push to judgment, the speculation, the innuendo, the ridiculous commentary based basically on a grand jury report that is yet to be proven in the court of law. It has already ruined the stature of many folks as well as Penn State University and the whole State School area community.

It's offensive to me that a large share of the media and the general public has already made up its mind without waiting for all of the facts to come out thru the court process that Joe Paterno is the final villain here for what he did or did not don't Jerry Sandusky and that Penn State and anybody even tangentially connected with Penn State is accountable for what occurred. The criticism is vicious and most of all, so self-righteous. Not just the scurrilous websites, where you might expect it, but supposed "legitimate media" websites too. If you want more examples, read and see them on the Web yourself.

Well, you worked for the athletic program. Did you not hear anything?

For the record, the first I heard of Sandusky's claimed and I keep on employing that word as I was first trained to do in journalism college kid abuse was in mid-June of 2009 when I was volunteering for the once a year fundraising 2nd Mile golf contest. I did not know Jerry well, but I had been around him at golf contests and I had interviewed him two times.

I was more mystified than surprised. I remember. I said, "Jerry??? You have to be kidding!" I knew nothing of what was then the 2 reported incidents in 1998 and 2002, and like others I was stunned by the 23-page report to the grand jury. It's sickening and hard to read but I did.

I know you believe some local hacks did some good solid reporting on this. But why did not this story come out sooner?

There are three reporters who were on it. Sara Ganim, once the crime correspondent for the Centre Daily Times, who broke the 1st public news of the enquiry after she had continued on to the Harrisburg Patriot-News ; Gary Sinderson, a vet "one man band" reporter-photographer for WJAC in Johnstown, who knows the Pennsylvania court system and this community inside out ; and Pat Boland, the reporter-newsman for the local dual-ownership State Varsity radio stations WRSC and ESPNRadio1450. He helped Ganim in her first job fresh out of Penn State's journalism programme in May 2008. You don't hear much about Pat because he keeled over from brain cancer at the age of 42 in early July but he was deep into the story.

Ganim is like a reversion to the journalism of my youth, and based primarily on what I have noted, she appears to have more judgment and street smarts than many of her older, more experienced media peers in Pennsylvania and nationally. She is just 24 and has to be slightly overpowered with a tale like this. I just hope that she doesn't slip into the sloppiness that frequently infects other young journalists who are overtaken by their ego when they find themselves on top of a massive national story.

On this Sandusky story, I call Ganim, Sinderson and Boland "The 3 Musketeers." They didn't share all their information, but like many writers somewhere else they frequently collaborated on their research. It's not surprising that Ganim has been the front-runner in informing the general public of this story. Newspaper reporters and many Television reporters, especially in the major markets, can do that. Sinderson and Boland were hemmed in by the medium they were in, the range of duties dictated by their particular roles combined with the need to get folks to talk publicly online, disguising their faces or voices if required. That constraints plenty of things.

Sinderson is my kind of old-time reporter, and he isn't your average cameraman or videographer. It was Sinderson who first discovered the grand jury's report was posted online that ordained Friday, November. 4 placed there one day too soon by mistake and then he posted it on his station's website, and then he surprised Ganim with the latest news.

But these reporters must have known a lot was going on long before Nov.

Outsiders have criticized the local media and regional media for not exposing more of Sandusky's alleged grave misdemeanours ; of not informing the general public sooner than this past spring of the enquiry ; and, most egregious of all, of not reporting the unsubstantiated rumors that were swirling round the community.

Yet, look it up. Ganim's first Patriot-News story of the enquiry was on March 31. It barely made a ripple even in Harrisburg and State School. Check out Ganim's primary story that will still be found on the Web. There were just six comments from Net readers at the time 2 of them skeptical. Now, folk have gone back to read it and there are a lot more comments now. But Ganim has expounded in public she was stunned by all that lack of interest,writes

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