Penn International Drag

Posted in Penn Fishing Gear by Penn Fishing Gear on March 10, 2012

Penn International Drag

Lou Prato's Been Around Big News Stories All His Life And He's Around One Now The Jerry Sandusky Sex-Abuse Scandal At Penn State.

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 reports, he moved to State College 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 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 certifications include 12 years as head of Northwestern University's broadcast graduate program in Washington. For a long time he used to be a correspondent and contributing writer for the American Journalism Review.

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

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

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

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

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

But the way the majority of the media has continued to portray Penn State, the people that work and live here, the students and faculty, the university's football team and even our alumni base, one might get it this entire 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 numerous sanctimonious, self-serving, second-guessing critics in the media and the gullible, blood-thirsty public they incite and influence have made Penn State symbological of all that's bad in the North American culture that is till the media moves on to another shark fest, leaving in its wake a lifetime taint of Penn State that will never depart irrespective of what the ultimate truth might be.

I'm worn out arguing, debating and thinking about everything which has happened to Penn State, to me, my family and lots of my pals in the last few weeks, and it is hard to believe everything reported thus far by the grand jury. Furthermore, 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's so out of 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, if not thousands, of others were fooled by Sandusky. So , as to Joe and Tim, we shall see, won't we?

So , after all of 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 wounds me the most, besides what could 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 story, never to think, 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 wary of whom to trust, to be skeptical but pragmatic, to withstand the enticement to be first without first assuring you have it right, and to never report a rumor because you'll believe it to be true . My, how idealistic and old skool.

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

Look, there were times in my career I did not meet my own exacting standards. That bothers me to this day. But I never expected journalism to fall to this level of irresponsibility and shameful, malicious 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 national level, but I'm sorry, embarrassed and I'm angry at how a huge contingent of the media has reported and investigated this story with such a pile-on mindset. The haste to judgment, the conjecture, the innuendo, the ridiculous commentary based essentially on a grand jury report that still has to be proved in the court of law. It has already spoiled the position of many folks as well as Penn State College and the entire State School area community.

It's abhorrent to me that a giant share of the media and the general public has already made up its mind without waiting for all of the facts to come out through the court process that Joe Paterno is the ultimate villain here for what he probably did or didn't do not Jerry Sandusky and that Penn State and anybody even tangentially connected with Penn State is accountable for what happened. The criticism is vicious and most of all, so self-righteous. Not simply the scurrilous internet sites, where you would expect it, but so-called "legitimate media" web sites as well . If you would like more examples, read and see them online yourself.

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

For the record, the 1st I heard of Sandusky's claimed and I continue to use 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 yearly fund-raising Second Mile golfing competition. 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 can remember. I revealed, "Jerry??? You have got to be kidding!" I knew nothing of what was then the two reported situations in 1998 and 2002, and like others I was surprised by the 23-page report to the grand jury. It's sickening and tough to read but I did.

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

There are 3 correspondents who were on it. Sara Ganim, once the crime reporter for the Centre Daily Times, who broke the 1st public news of the investigation 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 College radio stations WRSC and ESPNRadio1450. He helped Ganim in her first job fresh out of Penn Country's journalism program in May 2008. You do not hear much about Pat because he died of brain cancer at the age of 42 in early July but he was deep into the tale.

Ganim looks like a reversion to the journalism of my youth, and based mostly on what I have observed, she appears to have more judgment and street smarts than plenty of her older, more experienced media peers in Pennsylvania and nationally. She is just twenty-four and must be moderately overpowered with a story 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 big state story.

On this Sandusky story, I call Ganim, Sinderson and Boland "The 3 Musketeers." They did not share all their information, but like many writers some place else they often collaborated on their research. It's no surprise that Ganim has been the leader in informing the general public of this story. Paper reporters and many TV correspondents, especially in the major markets, can do that. Sinderson and Boland were constrained by the medium they were in, the range of obligations dictated by their categorical roles combined with the need to get people to chat in public on the air, disguising their faces or voices if necessary. That constraints plenty of things.

Sinderson is my kind of old-time hack, and he isn't your average cameraman or videographer. It was Sinderson who first discovered the grand jury's report was posted online that fateful Fri., Nov. Four placed there one day too soon by mistake and then he posted it on his station's website, and then he stunned Ganim with the news .

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

Outsiders have criticized the local media and regional media for not revealing more of Sandusky's purported grave transgressions ; of not informing the general public earlier than this past spring of the enquiry ; and, most egregious of all, of not reporting the unproven rumours that were swirling around the community.

Yet, check it out. Ganim's first Patriot-News story of the inquiry was on March 31. It barely made a ripple even in Harrisburg and State Varsity. Check out Ganim's first story that can still be found online. There were just six comments from Internet readers at the time two of them skeptical. Now, folks have gone back to read it and there are more comments now. But Ganim has said publicly she was surprised by all that absence of interest,writes tagza.com.

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