The Penn State Debacle

Thursday, November 10, 2011

In light of recent happenings I thought it only appropriate to write a post dedicated to the discussion of the issue facing Penn State. Almost everyone in the nation has heard about,  discussed, mulled over, and tweeted about this controversy.

First off,  the university is losing an iconic figure, Jo Paterno. Secondly, the school is having a hay day dealing with press and what further action they should take. Finally, the students are in a complete uproar.

Obviously this completely oversimplifies what exactly is going on the Penn State, but I want to focus on media coverage of this controversy.

An article found on Poynter briefly summarizes several peoples opinions on how the media is handling this story.

Some claim that ESPN, who first reported the story, took it too easy when breaking the news. Rather than  asking the tough questions right from the start ESPN, and treat the story with the gravity it deserved. It took a small news paper out of Harrisburg, PA to get to the nitty gritty. ESPN followed suit a few days later.

So what is the right way to handle this breakdown of a college football program? Does the public need to know the dirty details right up front or was ESPN in the right in keeping it light to begin?

In my opinion some of the incredibly inappropriate details are best left censored. It shows respect for the institution of Penn State and the people involved.

It seems as though ESPN misrepresented the story early on, treating it with less weight than it should have been. This is unacceptable.

Penn State is in a rough patch, and that may be an understatement. The media need to cover this situation as accurately and professionally as possible, without being inappropriate. If this is done then the nation will be able to accurately discuss, tweet, and complain about whatever they choose.

Photo Courtesy of Photo Bucket.


Unknown November 13, 2011 at 8:10 PM  

I'm not completely sure where you stand on this. Do you think news media needed to be more careful, or do you think they were too careful?

Personally, when you break a story, I don't think you censor. As long as you have hard, proven facts, you include them in the story to keep people informed. Penn State has gotten a lot of bad press, yes, but it won't completely destroy the institution. Keep it factual, and keep it unbiased. That's the best way to break a story.

Mariah K. Young November 16, 2011 at 8:36 AM  

To clear up my post, media needs to be clear on the story and not treat it lightly. At the same time, gruesome details that don't necessarily add need to know information should be left out.

I think when covering a story as sensitive as this, ethical decision making is crucial.

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