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Lasting Media Strategies of Joe Paterno “Paterno & The Media” Monday, December 14 Charity Bartko Final Project- Option #5 Outline Overview Joe’s overall role within the media Five examples of philosophies and strategies including analysis Closing thoughts Overview

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lasting media strategies of joe paterno

Lasting Media Strategies of Joe Paterno

“Paterno & The Media”

Monday, December 14

Charity Bartko

Final Project- Option #5

  • Overview
  • Joe’s overall role within the media
  • Five examples of philosophies and strategies including analysis
  • Closing thoughts
  • The following topics are a combination of five strategies and philosophies implemented in different types of media that Joe Paterno had utilized in the early years of his career (1960s-1970s) and continues to employ today (2000s).
    • 1. The “Grand Experiment”
    • 2. Advocacy to All Penn State Sports
    • 3. Motivational Speaking to different publics
    • 4. Combating Criticism of Weak Football Scheduling
    • 5. Press Conference Coverage
joe s role within the media
Joe’s Role Within the Media

As the media evolves over time, public figures whose work includes media exposure must evolve with it. Perhaps no other figure has had as much exposure to different forms of media over a prolonged period of time as Joe Paterno has. While some of Joe’s approaches to the media may have changed, many of his strategies and philosophies remain the same. Through analysis of different media outlets such as print news stories, video and press coverage, Paterno’s adherence to his “Grand Experiment” and all Penn State sports can and should be recognized. Other strategies that he has employed in the 60s and 70s and continue to utilize today include his public speaking skills to motivate different publics, combating the criticism he has faced in respect to having a weak schedule, and his press conference coverage.

the grand experiment
The “Grand Experiment”
  • This idea was established by Paterno after his hiring in the late 1960s.
  • He hoped to meld athletics and academics in the collegiate environment.
  • Joe described his dream as "not football that puts winning first, but first-class football played by students who put first-class lives first.“
  • It was an ideal he brought with him from Brown.
    • He wanted players who strived for learning as much as they strove to win.
  • He believed players should be students who aspire to do something with their life after football.
the grand experiment then7
The “Grand Experiment” Then…

Excerpt 2

Link: Entire Article

the grand experiment then8
The “Grand Experiment” Then…
  • Excerpt 1 taken from The Daily Collegian Thursday, October 27,1977-3.
    • “Days of ‘Dumb’ Athletes are over,” by Gary Silvers
  • Excerpt 2 taken from The Daily Collegian Friday, September 29, 1978-5
    • “Lion Recruiters Look for Students,” by Gary Silvers
  • Both focus on the importance of academics and the strong programs that Penn State offers.
  • Provides statistical evidence and personal examples which ultimately demonstrates Paterno’s success with this philosophy.
    • “94 percent of all lions have graduated under Paterno.”
    • “If you don’t make it in football, you got to have something to fall back on,” said former Penn State quarter back, Dayle Tate.
the grand experiment now an example of success
The “Grand Experiment” Now... An example of success
  • Link: News Paper Article
    • “Freeport Grad Captured True Meaning of Paterno's 'Grand Experiment’”
      • Trib Total Media- Pittsburgh Pa.
      • Rick Star – Valley News Dispatch Sports editor
      • Sunday, August 15, 2004
    • Bob White, former Penn State student athlete, recalls his memories of being a student and an athlete under Paterno’s guidance.
    • White epitomized Paterno's experiment, and still does to this day. He moved on after football to become a successful in many areas
      • Lobbyist on Capitol Hill
      • Penn State assistant coach
      • Graduate student in education
      • Assistant athletic director.
    • White claimed that the "Grand Experiment" shaped his future.
    • White’s story of success continues, providing a valid example of what the “Grand Experiment was all about and how the philosophy has remained in effect today.
the grand experiment now an example of success10
The “Grand Experiment” Now... An example of success

Top 10 Football Graduation Success Rates Among AP Top 25 (Oct. 26, 2008 poll)

  • Link: Go PSU Sports Article
    • “Penn State Football Student-Athletes Earn No. 2 Graduation Rate Among AP Top 25 Teams”
      • October 30, 2008
    • Discusses the success of student graduation rate
  • “The outstanding graduation performance is the latest success in a long line of academic achievement for members of Coach Joe Paterno’s program, who consistently are near the top nationally in graduation success.”
the grand experiment now and then
The “Grand Experiment”Now and Then…
  • All excerpts contained statistical information and personal examples which portrayed the success of this philosophy during the 1970’s and 2000’s.
  • Most excerpts included quotes from student athletes from both era that actually epitomize the experiment.
  • The examples are taken from print media that are either written for or by Penn State audiences.
    • Go PSU Sports and The Daily Collegian are targeted at students.
    • Rick Star’s article written for all Penn State audiences.
  • Stories included quotes by and/or about Joe.
motivational speaking then
Motivational Speaking Then…
  • 1973 Penn State Commencement Speech
    • “It is making our very best effort, that we have stretched to the very limit of our ability, which makes us bigger men and more able to stretch again: to reach even higher as we undertake new challenges.”
    • “You have inspired us to stretch. You have disrupted our comfortable thinking. You have made us re-evaluate, think again about our ideals and our principles. You have made us look again at our souls.”

Video: (click on image)

motivational speaking now
Motivational Speaking Now…
motivational speaking now and then
Motivational Speaking Now and Then…
  • Examples are taken from video media outlets
    • YouTube and homemade video
  • Both of these examples portray the motivational and inspirational side of Joe.
  • Although the reasons for giving each of the speeches are different, many of his messages and approaches are similar.
    • States how proud he is
    • Instills positive feelings and emotions for the recipients of the speech
    • Expresses that “you can do it” attitude
    • Both speeches include language directed to a group of students with personal goals
    • Expresses how happy he is to be chosen to speak at both events
    • Takes note of the student’s love, commitment and dedication
    • Remains humble and keeps the focus on the students as he uses “you” instead of “I”
    • Reiterates all they have achieved
    • Sends God’s blessing
advocacy to all penn state sports then
Advocacy To All Penn State Sports Then…
  • Since his hiring in 1966, Paterno has been pro-Penn State in all aspects of his life
    • Not only for football, but also for other sports.
    • Even when it comes to the possible interference of his football team, Paterno maintains an open mind as demonstrated in this excerpt from The Daily Collegian.
    • Link: Entire Article
    • The Daily Collegian
      • “Paterno and His Chance to Make a “Contribution’”
        • by Ray McAllister
      • Thursday, April 12, 1973
advocacy to all penn state sports now
Link: Penn State Basketball Program

“JoePa cheers on Penn St. hoops, waxes about NYC”

by Genaro C. Armas

April 2, 2009

This example is a USA Today story written about Joe Paterno’s excitement in regards to the Penn State Basketball team’s run to the NIT championship game in Spring 2009.

“Taking advantage of a brief break in the busy spring practice schedule, Paterno has turned into the basketball team's cheerleader-in-chief.”

"At Penn State, Paterno said he used to attend basketball games regularly, but he hasn't gone consistently in recent years in part because the attention from fans at the Jordan Center turns a night out into ‘a little bit of a circus’."

Advocacy To All Penn State Sports Now…
advocacy to all penn state sports now and then
Advocacy To All Penn State Sports Now and Then…
  • Paterno plays a major role in each news story.
    • Both stories include direct quotes from Joe.
  • Joe made direct and indirect contributions to the different sports programs at Penn State.
    • Became a spokesperson for the basketball program
      • Gave monetary aid to get other Penn State coaches to attend the NIT
    • Cooperated with the athletes in 1973 so that they may play both football and lacrosse.
    • Recognizes that football isn’t everything even though it is his program and his main focus at Penn State next to education.
    • Has a desire to make other sports programs number 1.
      • “So, indeed, as he’s said on several occasions, Paterno can make some sort of contribution to another aspect’s of Penn State’s being on top.”
weak scheduling then
The Daily Collegian

Wednesday, September 26 1973-12

Weak Scheduling Then…

Link: Entire Article

weak scheduling now
Link: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette News Article

“Penn State 2009: Lions deny 'soft' label on non-conference schedule”

Sunday, August 02, 2009

By Ron Musselman

Non-Conference schedule ranked second-worst among BCS schools by The Sporting News

Both Paterno and Penn State's players try to downplay the non-conference schedule

"Look at what's happened the last couple years with people in their opening games, where they've gotten licked because somebody thought the team they were playing wasn't very good," he said. "I don't know how good anybody else is.” -Paterno

Weak Scheduling Now…
weak scheduling now and then
Weak Scheduling Now and Then…
  • The 1973 schedule and 2009 schedule seem to stir identical criticisms within the print media of each era.
    • Criticism then and now
      • Prove that Penn State is versatile and can play a harder schedule
      • Unfair
      • Need to expand beyond Double A schools.
      • National recognition
  • The 1973 story lacks quotes and insight from Joe
    • Athletic director, Ed Czejak, speaks on behalf of Paterno. the team and schedule.
      • In the ‘73 and ’09 seasons, much of the scheduling issues are beyond Joe’s control. (This was made evident by Joe’s responses in the Eastern Illinois Press Conference.)
  • The 2009 story includes not only Paterno’s opinion and defense, but some player’s defense as well.
    • Defenses then and now
      • Other teams are doing it
      • Finances
      • Boosts competitive morale
  • The stories each discuss future schedules and the increased toughness of each
    • 1973: Nebraska in 1979; Notre Dame and Tennessee in the early 1980’s; and Alabama and Auburn with an alternating series in 1982
    • 2009: Alabama in 2010 and 2011
press conference coverage then
Link: “The Pressure Is Getting To Paterno”

Harsh critique on Joe’s strategy in answering questions during press conferences

Criticism on the way he conducts himself

Reporters seem to be surprised by his responses during this era


Once-a-week gathering

Very informal

Sat at a table with press people

During the week and after practice


Small groups

TV only received audio

Press Conference Coverage Then…
press conference coverage now
Press Conference Coverage Now…
  • Link: Eastern Illinois 1
    • Answers the same types of questions as he always does in respect to the actual game and team.
      • Somewhat predictable
    • Classy and simple
      • Gives credit to the student’s progress
      • Praises successes and admits mistakes.
  • Link: Eastern Illinois 2
    • Quick-witted
    • Reporters not surprised by Joe’s responses and how he conducts himself.
    • Deals with criticisms concerning the weak schedule

2000’s: Weekly press conferences stream live online and are hosted by several media outlets.

press conference coverage now and then
Press Conference Coverage Now and Then…
  • Although the media’s coverage of press conferences have changed over time, Paterno’s demeanor and approach to responding to the press has remained the same.
    • Paterno dealt with similar questions and criticisms in the 60’s and 70’s as he does today.
      • Injured players
      • Weak schedule
      • Progress of the team
        • How well the different players are playing their positions
        • Admits mistakes
      • Many of his responses are the same
        • “He’s been asked the same types of questions so many times he has the routine planned out.”
      • Sometimes Paterno is criticized for being “touchy“ or quick tempered in some of his responses due to mounting pressures surrounding the team and questions being asked.
        • These criticisms seem to not bother Paterno.
        • Today the public seems to accept and almost expect such responses.
          • That’s just Joe being Joe.
      • Cautious about the answers he gives to a reporter’s questions as he is today.
A lot of changes may have occurred from 1966 to the present, but, as shown, many philosophies & strategies remain the same…

“One thing and one thing only- A single focus for an entire life. Turn the boys into men, the team into a title holder, the whole town into believers, the whole nation into fans. He’s still got it all: the desire, the drive, the dream.”

additional works cited
Additional Works Cited