Sara Ganim expects to write many more stories about sexual abuse in her career
Pennsylvania State University
"The sad part about this is, it's a horrible story for those eight kids and their families," said Ganim, the Patriot-News reporter who has been out front in reporting on the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse charges, at a panel discussion earlier this week. "But this happens all the time. There are victims of sexual abuse every day, and there are stories like this every day that don't involve figures like these ... To be honest with you, I've written this story a couple dozen times; I'm sure i'll write it a couple hundred times more."
She said it wasn't until November "that I realized that there was a big side story to this story. It might be a little embarrassing to say, but for a good two years, to me, this was just a story about a crime — an alleged crime — but just like every other alleged crime story that I report in my job as a crime reporter."
She knew that national media had swarmed in to cover the story, of course, but "I had no idea this was leading the national news for six days straight. ... I was just trying to stay focused."
She was taken aback at how the media behaved during the press conference at which Penn State's board of trustees announced that football coach Joe Paterno had been fired. "I just could not believe what was happening in that room, the way that some people were acting … It was not civilized. … That was point when i realized, if some of us in media are even losing our grasp on the situation, then this is really, really big."
A couple other notable lines from the panel:
- Gerry Micco, assistant managing editor for sports at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "It's the most divisive story I've ever been involved in, and I've been a sports editor all over the country for the last 22 years."
- USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan: "If this were to happen at Northwestern, my alma mater, I would immediately resign from the board of trustees to be able to continue to do my job as a journalist."
Earlier: New York Times editor says Patriot News was "our most formidable competition" || Related: ESPN, Post-Standard explain why they didn't give police recording of conversation between Bernie Fine's wife and one of Fine's alleged molestation victims (Post-Standard, ESPN) | CNN Mobile pairs photo of Bernie Fine with headline about Jerry Sandusky (Charles Apple)