Penn 155

Posted in Penn Fishing Gear by Penn Fishing Gear on March 8, 2012

Penn 155

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

Lou Prato's been around big 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 TV and radio stories, he moved to State School to rejoin the Penn State community, where he earned his journalism degree in 1959. After writing The Penn State Soccer Encyclopedia, he became the first director of the Penn State All-Sports Museum. Now retired from the varsity, he writes about Penn State sports.

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

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

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

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

I know the horrible things are claimed to have happened with those kids sicken you. But I'm sure that on a journalistic level, you're appalled by some of the coverage.

Concern about the cover is nothing in relation to the simple concern all Penn Staters have for the subjects of kid abuse and their kids, and I mean that sincerely.

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

Now the many sanctimonious, self-serving, second-guessing critics in the media and the naive, blood-thirsty public they stir up and influence have made Penn State symbolical of all that is bad in the American culture that is till the media moves on to another shark fest, leaving in its wake a whole life taint of Penn State that will never go away regardless of what the final truth could be.

I'm worn out disagreeing, debating and pondering everything which has happened to Penn State, to me, my family and lots of my chums in the last couple of weeks, and it is hard to accept everything reported thus far by the grand jury. Similarly, it is even more hard to believe Joe Paterno was so morally deficient as his millions of baying critics in the media and outside it announce. It is so out of keeping with character of the person.

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

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

I will 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 happened to those boys? I used to be a part of the media, a journalism graduate who was taught not only to be fair, balanced and objective, but to be delicate of others, to get every side of the story, never to presume, and to not interject my private or political sentiments into any story.

I was also shown how to be careful of the personal agendas of sources as well as my own, to be cautious of whom to trust, to be doubtful but realistic, to resist the enticement to be first without first assuring you have it right, and to never report a rumour just because you'll believe it to be accurate. My, how idealistic and old skool.

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

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

There has been good reporting on the nation's level, but I am sorry, embarrassed and I am irritated at how a giant crew of the media has reported and analyzed this story with such a pile-on mind-set. The haste to judgment, the conjecture, the innuendo, the ridiculous commentary based basically on a grand jury report that is still to be proved in the court of law. It has ruined the reputation of many folks as well as Penn State University and the whole State School area community.

It's abhorrent to me that a large share of the media and the public has made up its mind without waiting for all of the facts to come out through the court process that Joe Paterno is the final villain here for what he did or failed to don't Jerry Sandusky and that Penn State and any person even tangentially connected with Penn State is responsible for what happened. The feedback 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'd like more examples, read and see them on the Web yourself.

Well, you worked for the athletic programme. Didn't you hear anything?

For the record, the first I heard about Sandusky's claimed and I continue to use that word as I was first given training to do in journalism school kid abuse was in mid-June of 2009 when I was volunteering for the yearly fund raising Second Mile golf tournament. I did not know Jerry well, but I had been around him at golf tournaments and I had interviewed him two times.

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

I know you think some local reporters did some good solid reporting on this. But why failed to this story come out earlier?

There are three correspondents who were on it. Sara Ganim, once the crime correspondent for the Centre Daily Times, who broke the 1st public stories of the enquiry after she had progressed 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 School 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 stiffed it from brain cancer at the age of 42 in early July but he was deep into the story.

Ganim appears 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 must be moderately overpowered with a story like this. I just hope that she doesn't slip into the sloppiness that commonly infects other young reporters 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 some place else they often assisted on their research. It's no surprise that Ganim has been the front-runner in informing the public of this story. Newspaper reporters and many TV hacks, particularly in the major markets, can do that. Sinderson and Boland were hemmed in by the medium they were in, a mass of obligations dictated by their particular jobs mixed with the need to get folk to chat publicly on air, disguising their faces or voices if necessary. That limits plenty of things.

Sinderson is my sort of old-time reporter, and he's not your average cameraman or videographer. It was Sinderson who first discovered the grand jury's report was posted on the Internet that fateful Fri., Nov. 4 placed there one day too early by mistake and then he posted it on his station's website, and then he shocked Ganim with the latest news.

But these journalists must have known a lot was going on long before November.

Outsiders have questioned the local media and regional media for not uncovering more of Sandusky's purported grave misdemeanours ; of not informing the public earlier than this past spring of the investigation ; and, most egregious of all, of not reporting the unproven rumors that were swirling round the community.

Yet, check it out. Ganim's first Patriot-News story of the enquiry was on March 31. It hardly made a ripple even in Harrisburg and State Varsity. Check out Ganim's initial story that may still be found on the Web. There were just 6 comments from Net readers at the time two of them doubtful. Now, folk have gone back to read it and there are a load more comments now. But Ganim has expounded publicly she was stunned by all that lack of interest,writes

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