The Penn State Story
By Dave Goren, NSSA Executive Director
What a week this has been in the sports media world. Penn State’s alleged child sex abuse situation has brought national attention to a major state university and led to some great journalism. NSSA Hall of Famer Bob Ryan calls it “the biggest story in the history of college sports.” I have read, watched and listened to dozens, if not hundreds of stories, columns and talk shows. And though there has been much parroting of information and thought, I’d like to point out a couple of examples of good work by those in our profession.
Because of its emotion impact, the Chris McKendry interview with Matt Millen. Kudos, not only to Millen for sharing his conflicting emotions as a Penn State alumnus and Second Mile board member, but also to McKendry, who handled a difficult situation as a true pro.
NSSA Hall of Famer George Vecsey hit a homerun with his New York Times column on Monday. He referred to “King Football” ruling the roost at Penn State and many other programs, saying any semblance of reality on college campuses (and beyond) is often left behind in the “rush to Saturday.”
On radio, I’m partial to Wes Durham and Tony Barnhart on 790 The Zone in Atlanta. If you want to know anything about college football, they are a must listen, especially in the southeast. Their list of big-name guests talking about the scandal has been impressive. And both Durham and Barnhart are excellent interviewers, knowing how to elicit the information their audience wants to know.
Nationally, Mike Greenburg and Mike Golic, Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio, have also brought the story home with their insightful interviewing and informed opinions. I’m also a fan of ESPN’s Colin Cowherd, who goes beyond the surface to make his listeners think. This morning, Cowhered talked about gossip, and wondered how — especially in a small college town — Sandusky’s co-workers didn’t spread the news about his misdeeds more than decade ago.
Those are just a handful of the sports media folks who, in my opinion, have done good jobs this week. And as we spend our days wringing our hands about the present and future state of sports media, it’s been reassuring to know that there are those — and many more — who still give our profession a good name, even while covering the most difficult of stories.