November 18, 2011

Back to Penn State

In the wake of the recent news, listeners have contacted us and tweeted about the show we did two years ago at Penn State, #1 Party School. We listen again to some of those stories, with new interviews recorded this past week, as Penn State fans and loyalists try to make sense of the actions of Coach Joe Paterno and school officials.


Host Ira Glass revisits some interviews done with Penn State students in 2009, long before the sex abuse scandal that's engulfed the football team and led to the resignation of its legendary coach, as well as the university's President. Back in 2009, students said that the best thing about Penn State football is the high moral standard upheld by the team and its coaches. (5 minutes)
Act One

Say It Ain't So, Joe

Sarah Koenig attended last weekend's Penn State game, the last home game of the season, with Michael Winereb and his parents. Weinreb grew up in State College, and has written several widely circulated columns for the website Grantland about his reactions to the recent scandal. Here are the first, the second and the third. He went to the game worrying that Joe Paterno and the team are so embedded into his childhood memories and experiences, that the recent news will actually rip at his own feelings about his past. Sarah also talks with other State College residents who are struggling to make sense of the news. (21 minutes)

Act Two

Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's 2009

We hear excerpts from our 2009 episode that was recorded at Penn State. Though the focus of that episode was student drinking and partying, we hear how much of the culture of the school is organized around football and how deeply people loved the team and Coach Joe Paterno. All this helps explain the disappointment, confusion and violence we've seen at State College in the wake of the grand jury report. As part of this act, we hear a new interview with from Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Frank Fitzpatrick, whose investigation of Penn State football's finances was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. (29 minutes)