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Penn Stater Magazine Handles Scandal the Right Way

The last month has been a tough one for Penn State students, alumni and the entire community around University Park. For the first time in my life, I was almost hesitant to say I was a Penn State graduate  (I graduated from Penn State in 1997).  Something that once we were so proud of, has been tarnished in a truly horrific way.

Yesterday, I received the January/February issue of The Penn Stater, the Penn State Alumni magazine (cover to the right). I honestly got chills picking it up. I just held the issue in my hands for what seemed like minutes.

If you can’t make it out, the P-E-N-N S-T-A-T-E letters from the masthead have fallen to the bottom, with the words “Our Darkest Days” just to the right of the letter pile.

A truly bold move by both Editor Tina Hay and Art Director Carole Otypka. Bravo!

A Renewal of Faith

I had to think about this awhile, since I didn’t want to be over dramatic (which I’ve been known to be), but this issue has renewed my faith in Penn State as an institution.  It details both sides of the Penn State scandal story and includes a wide variety of students, alumni, fans and thought leaders.  Just look at the table of contents…

  • Collapse: How Could This Happen?
  • Darkness: Understanding Child Sexual Abuse
  • Identity: Everything We Thought We Know
  • Legacy: What Joe Paterno Leaves Behind
  • Responsibility: On Pride, and Going Forward

The Penn Stater, the primary communication piece that binds the alumni body together and spearheads alumni fundraising, showed how truly powerful both the story and the method (print) can be when done correctly. It’s hard to think this issue would have made such an impact as a digital or tablet version.

One Last Note

Not to be overlooked, it was evident to the Penn Stater staff that this issue would be a firestorm. Instead of just putting it out there, they prepared readers with a warning shot in this post, and quickly followed up on both positive and negative feedback after the issue was delivered.

Tina…thank you. My alumni association renewal check is in the mail.