Penn Pursuit Spinning

Posted in Penn Fishing Gear by Penn Fishing Gear on March 7, 2012

Penn Pursuit Spinning

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 major news stories all his life and he's 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 1st 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 television and radio newsrooms in Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago and Dayton, Ohio, as well as work with the Associated Press. His academic credentials include twelve years as head of Northwestern University's broadcast graduate programme in Washington. For a long time he was a correspondent and contributing writer for the American Journalism Review.

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

He's shaken by the scandal, but he also believes that the national media has unfairly darkened the whole establishment with their "rush to judgment, the supposition, the innuendo, the outrageous 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 series of e-mails, excerpted below.

I know the horrid things are claimed to have occurred with those kids sicken you. But My opinion is that on a journalistic level, you're confounded by the cover.

Concern about the coverage is nothing compared to the 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 folks that work and live here, the scholars and faculty, the university's soccer team and even our alumni base, one might get the point this whole area is inhabited by a horde of evil, heartless kid sex abusers. One satellite 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 incite and influence have made Penn State symbolic of all that's bad in the American culture that's till the media moves on to another shark fest, leaving in its wake a lifetime taint of Penn State that will never go away regardless of what the ultimate truth may be.

I'm worn out arguing, debating and considering everything which has occurred to Penn State, to me, my folks and lots of my pals in the last one or two weeks, and it's difficult to believe everything reported this far by the grand jury. Additionally, it is even more difficult to believe Joe Paterno was so morally deficient as his millions of baying detractors in the media and outside it proclaim. It's so out of character of the person.

As for [Athletic Director] Tim Curley, I have met many liars in my life especially 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 duped by Sandusky. Hence as to Joe and Tim, we shall see, will not we?

Hence 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 hurts 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 story, never to presume, and to not interject my personal or political principles into any story.

I was also shown how to be careful of the personal agendas of sources as well as my private, to be wary of whom to trust, to be skeptical but realistic, to withstand the temptation to be first without first assuring you have it right, and to never report a rumour just because you will believe it to be correct. My, how idealistic and old fashioned.

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

Look, there were times in my career I did not meet my own lofty standards. That bothers me to this day. But I never expected journalism to fall to this level of irresponsibility and shameful, malignant depth that it has in the last 20 years. I am sure there are many thousands still working in the newsrooms of this country who share my view.

There was good reporting on the national level, but I am abashed, embarrassed and I am irritated at how a giant contingent of the media has reported and researched this story with such a pile-on mindset. The haste to judgment, the speculation, the innuendo, the unbelievable commentary based essentially on a grand jury report that still has to be proved in the court of law. It has already ruined the position of many people as well as Penn State College and the whole State School area community.

It's abhorrent to me that a big chunk 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 did or failed to do not Jerry Sandusky and that Penn State and anybody even tangentially connected with Penn State is responsible 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 supposed "legitimate media" websites as well . If you would like more examples, read and see them online yourself.

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

For the record, the 1st I heard about Sandusky's claimed and I continue utilizing that word as I was first given training to do in journalism school child abuse was in mid-June of 2009 when I was volunteering for the once a year fund-raising Second Mile golf competition. I didn't know Jerry well, but I had been around him at golf competitions and I had interviewed him two times.

I was more mystified than surprised. I can remember. I said, "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 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 earlier?

There are 3 correspondents who were on it. Sara Ganim, once the crime journalist for the Centre Daily Times, who broke the 1st public reports of the investigation 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 Country's journalism programme in May 2008. You do not 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 is like a reversion to the journalism of my youth, and based primarily on what I have noted, she seems 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 must be moderately overwhelmed with a story like this. I just hope that she does not slip into the sloppiness that frequently infects other young writers who are overtaken by their ego when they finish up on top of a massive national story.

On this Sandusky story, I call Ganim, Sinderson and Boland "The Three Musketeers." They did not share all of their information, but like many writers some place else they often cooperated on their research. It's not surprising that Ganim has been the front runner in informing the general public of this story. Newspaper correspondents and many Television 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 specific roles combined with the necessity to get folks to chat publicly online, disguising their faces or voices if required. That limits lots 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 on the Web that fateful Fri., November. Four placed there one day too early by mistake and then he posted it on his station's website, and then he surprised Ganim with the news report.

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

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

Yet, check it out. Ganim's first Patriot-News story of the enquiry was on March 31. It barely made a ripple even in Harrisburg and State College. Check out Ganim's initial story that may still be found online. There were just 6 comments from Internet readers at the time two of them doubtful. Now, people 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 tagza.com.

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