Penn Right Parts

Posted in Penn Fishing Gear by Penn Fishing Gear on April 1, 2012

Penn Right Parts

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.

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 reports, 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 university, he still 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 credentials include twelve years as head of Northwestern University's broadcast graduate program in Washington. For years , he used to be a columnist and contributing writer for the North American Journalism Review.

Many stories directors know him for his more than 35-year stint on the board of the Radio-Television News Directors Association (now the Radio TV Digital News Association), including twenty-two 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 unbelievable commentary based essentially 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 emails, excerpted below.

I know the horrid things are alleged to have happened with those children sicken you. But I know that on a journalistic level, you're horrified by some of the cover.

Concern about the coverage is nothing compared to the most obvious concern all Penn Staters have for the sufferers of child 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 who live and work here, the scholars and faculty, the university's soccer team and even our alumni base, one might get the idea this whole area is inhabited by a horde of evil, heartless child sex abusers. One cable Tv talk show host called the Second Mile "a molestation farm." Come on!

Now the various insincere, 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 a lifetime taint of Penn Say will never go no matter what the final truth could be.

I'm worn out arguing, discussing and thinking about everything which has occurred to Penn State, to me, my family and plenty of my pals in the last few weeks, and it is hard to accept everything reported thus far by the grand jury. Furthermore, it is even more difficult to believe Joe Paterno was so morally deficient as his millions of baying critics 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 especially in academia and I can't believe Tim is a liar and morally deficient. OK, I understand. I and hundreds, or perhaps 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 can 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 each side of the story, never to presume, and to not interject my private or political beliefs into any story.

I was also shown how to be careful of the personal agendas of sources as well as my own, to be suspicious of whom to trust, to be doubtful but pragmatic, to resist the temptation 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-fashioned.

Perhaps you don't see it being so close up and private to this story, but this is what a large amount 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 didn't expect journalism to fall to this level of irresponsibility and shameful, malignant depth that it has in the last 20 years. I'm sure there are countless thousands still working in the newsrooms of this country who share my view.

There was good reporting on the national level, but I am sorry, embarrassed and I am angry at how a large contingent of the media has reported and analyzed this story with such a pile-on mind-set. The push to judgment, the supposition, the innuendo, the outrageous commentary based essentially on a grand jury report that still has to be proved in the court of law. It has ruined the position of many folks as well as Penn State University and the whole State School area community.

It's offensive to me that a giant slice 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 probably did or didn't do not Jerry Sandusky and that Penn State and any person even tangentially connected with Penn State is responsible for what occurred. The feedback is vicious and most of all, so self-righteous. Not only the scurrilous websites, where you'd expect it, but so-called "legitimate media" websites as well . If you want more examples, read and see them on the Web yourself.

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

For the record, the first I heard about Sandusky's claimed and I keep on employing that word as I was first trained to do in journalism college child abuse was in mid-June of 2009 when I was volunteering for the yearly fund raising Second Mile golf contest. I didn't know Jerry well, but I had been around him at golf contests and I had interviewed him 2 times.

I was more mystified than surprised. I recollect. I announced, "Jerry??? You've got to be kidding!" I knew nothing of what was then the 2 reported incidents 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 strong reporting on this. But why failed to this story come out earlier?

There are 3 journalists who were on it. Sara Ganim, once the crime correspondent for the Centre Daily Times, who broke the first public stories 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 Varsity 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 as he keeled over from brain cancer at the age of 42 in early July but he was deep into the tale.

Ganim appears like a throwback to the journalism of my youth, and based 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 needs to 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 find themselves on top of a giant national story.

On this Sandusky story, I call Ganim, Sinderson and Boland "The 3 Musketeers." They did not share all their info, but like many writers elsewhere they often collaborated on their research. It's unsurprising that Ganim has been the front runner in informing the public of this story. Paper journalists and many TV hacks, particularly in the major markets, can do that. Sinderson and Boland were hampered by the medium they were in, the myriad of duties dictated by their categorical jobs combined with the need to get people to chat publicly online, disguising their faces or voices if necessary. That restrictions 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 Internet that ill-fated Fri., November. 4 placed there one day too soon by mistake and then he posted it on his station's website, and then he surprised Ganim with the latest news.

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 revealing more of Sandusky's alleged grave misdemeanours ; of not informing the public earlier than this past spring of the investigation ; and, most egregious of all, of not reporting the unsubstantiated rumors that were swirling around the community.

Yet, look it up. Ganim's first Patriot-News story of the investigation was on March 31. It barely made a ripple even in Harrisburg and State Varsity. Check out Ganim's initial story that will still be found on the Web. There were just six comments from Net readers at the time 2 of them doubtful. Now, folk have gone back to read it and there are more comments now. But Ganim has said in public she was surprised by all this absence of interest,writes

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