- E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Presents…
- A CONVERSATION WITH SARA GANIM
- 6 p.m., Friday, April 13 at Baker Theater
My students have a challenge to face: They have to explain to their parents why they want to major in journalism.
With newspapers closing, staffers consistently being laid off, and a steady buzz of media bashing hanging in the air, this challenge is real.
Why in the heck, parents may legitimately ask, do you want to be journalists when jobs and respect are hard to come by?
I have two words for these students searching for answers: SARA GANIM.
On November 8, 2011, the sports scene in the United States changed forever. A Pennsylvania grand jury report was released and led to the arrest of Jerry Sandusky. Charged with several counts relating to the sexual assault of eight boys, Sandusky was a former linebackers coach at Penn State and was once in line to succeed Joe Paterno.
A media circus descended upon Central Pennsylvania as the Penn State athletic director and a former vice president were also arrested on charges of obstruction of justice, and questions of who knew what and when led to the firing of legendary coach Joe Paterno.
While the national media jumped through the hoops of this circus, Sara Ganim served as the master of ceremonies. Ganim first reported on the convening of the grand jury in March — eight months before the findings were released.
Ganim jockeyed for the inside track and got it. She’d been investigating the story since 2009, when she was 22-years old. She asked questions, pried, made calls. She was stonewalled, had phones clicked off in her ear, doors closed in her face.
And, when the national media was catching up, she was interviewing the mothers of two of Sandusky’s alleged victims. While the national media was sorting through the details, Ganim was already publishing them.
The awards are now flowing in for Ganim as she prepares to cover Sandusky’s trial in June. In February 2012, she became the youngest journalist to win the Sidney Award for socially-conscious journalism. That same month, Long Island University named her a winner of the George K. Polk Award for investigative reporting. This week, she was at the ASNE national convention to accept her award for local accountability reporting. In March, Newsweek named her one of its “150 Women Who Shake the World.”
Ganim is reaping awards and fame because she wanted to be a journalist. She wanted to pursue truth. She wanted to pull back the layers of a story and let facts speak for themselves. She wanted to earn the public’s trust.
And she is doing it all, all while giving fledgling journalists all the ammunition they need in the fight to explain why they want to do what they want to do.
I invite Ohio University students of all disciplines, professors, instructors, staff and community members to join me as I interview Sara Ganim at 6 p.m., Friday, April 13 at Baker Theater on the second floor of the Baker University Center.
This is going to be a great event.
* Special thanks to E.W. Scripps School of Journalism director Dr. Robert Stewart, as well as Sharon Case and Debbie DePeel. Further thanks goes to co-sponsors WOUB, the Office of the Dean Students, OU Women’s & Gender Studies, The Post, Deeder & Joe Yanity and Dr. B. David Ridpath of OU Sports Administration.