Penn Captiva

Posted in Penn Fishing Gear by Penn Fishing Gear on March 20, 2012

Penn Captiva

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.

Lou Prato's been around serious news stories all 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 news, he moved to State School to rejoin the Penn State community, where he earned his journalism degree in 1959. After authoring The Penn State Soccer Encyclopedia, he became the 1st director of the Penn State All-Sports Museum. Now retired from the university, he 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 academic certifications include 12 years as head of Northwestern University's broadcast graduate program in Washington. For years , he was a hack 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 Stories Directors Organisation (now the Radio TV Digital Reports Organisation), including 22 years as its treasurer.

He is shaken by the scandal, but he also believes that the press has unfairly darkened the whole institution with their "rush to judgment, the conjecture, the innuendo, the ridiculous commentary based basically on a grand jury report that still has 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 series of e-mails, excerpted below.

I know the horrid things are alleged to have occurred with those kids sicken you. But I'm sure that on a journalistic level, you are horrified by some of the cover.

Concern about the coverage is nothing in relation to the most obvious concern all Penn Staters have for the sufferers of kid abuse and their kids, and I mean that sincerely.

But the way the majority of the media continues to portray Penn State, the folks that work and live here, the scholars and faculty, the university's football team and even our alumni base, one might get the idea this whole area is inhabited by a horde of callous, heartless kid sex abusers. One cable TV talk show host called the Second Mile "a molestation farm." Come on!

Now the various sanctimonious, self-serving, second-guessing critics in the media and the gullible, blood-thirsty public they incite and influence have made Penn State symbolical of all that is bad in the American culture that is until the media moves on to another shark fest, leaving in its wake an entire life taint of Penn Say will never go no matter what the final truth might be.

I am worn out disagreeing, discussing and pondering everything that has occurred to Penn State, to me, my family and many of my chums in the last one or two weeks, and it is tough to accept everything reported so far by the grand jury. Additionally, it is even more tricky 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 person.

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

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

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

You know what wounds me the most, besides what might have occurred 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 each side of the tale, never to assume, and to not interject my personal or political beliefs into any story.

I was also taught 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 temptation to be first without first assuring you have it right, and to never report a rumor because you will believe it to be correct. My, how idealistic and old skool.

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

Look, there were times in my career I did not meet my private lofty 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 20 years. I'm absolutely certain there are many thousands still working in the newsrooms of this country who share my view.

There has been good reporting on the nation's level, but I'm ashamed, embarrassed and I'm irritated at how a large contingent of the media has reported and researched this story with such a pile-on mind-set. The haste to judgment, the speculation, the innuendo, the unbelievable commentary based basically on a grand jury report that still has to be proved in the court of law. It has messed up the position of many folks as well as Penn State College and the whole State School area community.

It's offensive to me that a big share of the media and the public has 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 didn't do not Jerry Sandusky and that Penn State and any person even tangentially connected with Penn State is answerable for what occurred. The criticism is vicious and most of all, so self-righteous. Not only the scurrilous internet sites, where you'd expect it, but so-called "legitimate media" web sites as well . If you would like more examples, read and see them on the Internet yourself.

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

For the record, the 1st I heard about Sandusky's purported and I keep on employing that word as I was first instructed to do in journalism school kid abuse was in mid-June of 2009 when I was volunteering for the annual fund raising 2nd Mile golfing contest. I did not know Jerry well, but I had been around him at golfing tournaments and I had interviewed him 2 times.

I was more mystified than startled. I recollect. I announced, "Jerry??? You've got to be kidding!" I knew nothing of what was then the two 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 reporters did some good strong reporting on this. But why didn't this story come out sooner?

There are 3 correspondents who were on it. Sara Ganim, once the crime correspondent for the Centre Daily Times, who broke the first public news of the inquiry 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 School radio stations WRSC and ESPNRadio1450. He helped Ganim in her first job fresh out of Penn State's journalism program in May 2008. You do not 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 looks like a throwback to the journalism of my youth, and based primarily on what I have observed, 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 twenty-four and must be slightly overwhelmed with a tale like this. I just hope she does not slip into the sloppiness that frequently infects other young writers who are overtaken by their ego when they end up on top of a giant nationwide story.

On this Sandusky story, I call Ganim, Sinderson and Boland "The Three Musketeers." They did not share all of their info, but like many correspondents somewhere else they often cooperated on their research. It's unsurprising that Ganim has been the leader in informing the public of this story. Paper correspondents and many TV reporters, especially in the major markets, can do that. Sinderson and Boland were constrained by the medium they were in, a mass of needs dictated by their particular roles mixed with the necessity to get folks to talk in public online, disguising their faces or voices when necessary. That constraints plenty of things.

Sinderson is my sort of old-time correspondent, and he isn't your average cameraman or videographer. It was Sinderson who first discovered the grand jury's report was posted on the Web that ill-fated Friday, Nov. 4 placed there one day prematurely , by mistake and then he posted it on his station's website, and then he shocked Ganim with the news report.

But these reporters 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 sooner than this past spring of the investigation ; and, most egregious of all, of not reporting the unproven rumours that were swirling round the community.

Yet, look it up. Ganim's first Patriot-News story of the enquiry was on March 31. It hardly made a ripple even in Harrisburg and State School. Check out Ganim's initial story that may still be found on the Internet. There were just 6 comments from Internet readers at the time two of them skeptical. Now, people have gone back to read it and there are a load more comments now. But Ganim has announced in public she was stunned by all this absence of interest,writes

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