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THON Not In National Media Agenda

Go ahead and Google “Penn State Scandal.” Media such as Huffington Post, Washington Post, The New York Times, The LA Times, New York Daily News, and ABC News (among countless others) appear on the browser with reports and articles relating to the scandal.

Or maybe you would be interested in Googling “Penn State Riot,” one of the lowest moments for Penn State students in the media. The results show coverage from organizations such as Fox News, The New York Post, The Baltimore Sun, CBS Sports- the list goes on.

Now go ahead and type in “THON 2012.” Here, you will only see local coverage of the world’s largest student-run philanthropy.

THON has raised close to $90 million in the past 40 years and about 300 Four Diamonds Families, who are receiving emotional and financial support from THON, were present at THON 2012.

There has been a big gap in coverage between the negative and positive events that have happened at Penn State over the past four months. National media powerhouses seem to turn their heads at the amazing feats we accomplish, but shove their cameras in our faces when a former employee has heinous charges leveled against him, leaving students frustrated, saddened and confused.

If the national media is going to put the spotlight on negative actions at Penn State, such as the Sandusky trial and the gathering in Beaver Canyon in November, they should also feverishly cover the philanthropic phenomenon that is THON.

Only about 5,000 students congregated in Beaver Canyon the night Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier were dismissed. The media was so intent on covering the reaction to decisions made by the Penn State Board of Trustees that a few participants tipped over a news van in frustration.

Meanwhile, over 15,000 students participated in THON weekend – about three times as many students as were at the riot. If we can’t count on equal coverage of student affairs, we may only be judged by those not familiar with the Penn State community by our darkest moments.

So to the media: Be fair, be accurate, and most of all represent Penn State for everything it’s worth – not just the faults of few.

About the Author


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