Penn Ii

Posted in Penn Fishing Gear by Penn Fishing Gear on January 29, 2012

Penn Ii

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 of his life and he's 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 Varsity 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 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 program in Washington. For years , he used to be 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 Association (now the Radio TV Digital Reports Association), including 22 years as its treasurer.

He's shaken by the scandal, but he also believes that the national press has unfairly darkened the entire institution with their "rush to judgment, the supposition, the innuendo, the outrageous commentary based essentially on a grand jury report that is still to be proved in the court of law."

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

I know the horrible things are claimed to have occurred with those youngsters sicken you. But I know that on a journalistic level, you're confounded by the coverage.

Concern about the cover is nothing compared 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 has continued to portray Penn State, the folks that live and work 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 callous, heartless kid sex abusers. One satellite TV talk show host called the Second Mile "a molestation farm." Come on!

Now the many hypocritical, self-serving, second-guessing critics in the media and the gullible, blood-thirsty public they foment and influence have made Penn State symbolic of all that is bad in the North American culture that's till the media moves on to another shark fest, leaving in its wake an entire life taint of Penn Say will never depart regardless of what the ultimate truth may be.

I'm worn out disagreeing, debating and pondering everything which has happened to Penn State, to me, my family and lots of my pals in the last couple of weeks, and it's tough to accept everything reported this far by the grand jury. Furthermore, it is even more hard to believe Joe Paterno was so morally deficient as his millions of baying knockers in the media and outside it proclaim. It is so out of character of the person.

As for [Athletic Director] Tim Curley, I have met many liars in my life particularly 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. 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 can never watch, hear, and read the news or watch or hear talk shows as I had before.

You know what injures me the most, besides what may have occurred to those boys? I was once 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 each side of the tale, never to presume, and to not interject my private or political sentiments into any story.

I was also taught to be careful of the private agendas of sources as well as my own, to be cautious of whom to trust, to be doubtful but realistic, to withstand the temptation to be first without first assuring you have it right, and to never report a rumor simply because you will believe it to be correct. My, how idealistic and old skool.

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

Look, there were times in my career I did not meet my very own exacting standards. That bothers me to this day. But I never expected journalism to fall to this level of irresponsibility and shameful, evil depth that it has in the last twenty years. I am sure there are many thousands still working in the newsrooms of this country who share my view.

There's been good reporting on the national level, but I am sorry, embarrassed and I am irritated at how a huge group of the media has reported and researched this story with such a pile-on mentality. The push to judgment, the conjecture, the innuendo, the unbelievable commentary based primarily on a grand jury report that is yet to be proved in the court of law. It has spoiled the reputation of many of us as well as Penn State School and the entire State College area community.

It's offensive to me that a big chunk of the media and the general 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 ultimate villain here for what he did or did not do not Jerry Sandusky and that Penn State and anyone even tangentially connected with Penn State is responsible for what happened. The criticism is vicious and most of all, so self-righteous. Not just the scurrilous websites, where you might expect it, but so-called "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. Did you not hear anything?

For the record, the first I heard of Sandusky's alleged and I continue utilizing that word as I was first instructed to do in journalism college child abuse was in mid-June of 2009 when I was volunteering for the yearly fund-raising Second Mile golfing contest. I did not know Jerry well, but I had been around him at golfing competitions and I had interviewed him 2 times.

I was more mystified than startled. I remember. I announced, "Jerry??? You've got to be kidding!" I knew nothing of what was then the 2 reported situations in 1998 and 2002, and like others I was shocked by the 23-page report to the grand jury. It's sickening and tough to read but I did.

I know you believe some local journalists did some good solid reporting on this. But why failed to this story come out sooner?

There are three journalists who were on it. Sara Ganim, once the crime reporter for the Centre Daily Times, who broke the first public stories of the enquiry after she had progressed on to the Harrisburg Patriot-News ; Gary Sinderson, a veteran "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 Nation's journalism program in May 2008. You do not hear much about Pat as he keeled over from brain cancer at the age of 42 in early July but he was deep into the tale.

Ganim looks like a throwback 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's just 24 and has to be somewhat overpowered with a tale like this. I just hope she does not slip into the sloppiness that frequently infects other young journalists who are overtaken by their ego when they find themselves on top of a giant nationwide story.

On this Sandusky story, I call Ganim, Sinderson and Boland "The 3 Musketeers." They did not share all of their info, but like many correspondents somewhere else they often assisted on their research. It's not surprising that Ganim has been the front runner in informing the general public of this story. Paper reporters and many TV hacks, especially in the major markets, can do that. Sinderson and Boland were constrained by the medium they were in, the myriad of obligations dictated by their particular roles mixed with the need to get people to chat publicly on air, disguising their faces or voices if necessary. That restrictions lots of things.

Sinderson is my kind of old-time reporter, and he is not 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, November. 4 placed there one day too early by mistake and then he posted it on his station's website, and then he stunned Ganim with the news report.

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

Outsiders have criticized the local media and regional media for not uncovering 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 unproven rumors that were swirling around 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 initial story that will still be found on the Web. There were just six comments from Internet readers at the time 2 of them doubtful. Now, people have gone back to read it and there are more comments now. But Ganim has said publicly she was shocked by all this absence of interest,writes

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