Thon, the media and a different view of Penn State

Posted on February 17, 2012 

 

Some university students and supporters saw this weekend's annual 46-hour no sleeping, no sitting dance marathon -- which raises millions for pediatric cancer patients and research -- as a chance to show the world a different side of Penn State.

  1. In November, police arrested former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky and accused him of sexually abusing multiple young children over several years. Two high-ranking Penn State officials -- Tim Curley and Gary Schultz -- were charged with perjury and failure to report suspected child abuse. And the issue cost university President Graham Spanier and head football coach Joe Paterno their jobs.

    The case gained national media attention. 
    And in the hours before Thon began, coverage of the scandal was on the minds of some students and supporters. 
    One quote was often repeated on Facebook.
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    THON 2012 will be special. THON 2012 will be the culmination of our university coming together in mass form, one ultimate time this year. THON 2012 will be the epitome of a “Penn State family”. THON 2012 will not be your typical THON weekend. THON 2012 will be more emotional than any other THON before it. THON 2012 is Penn State telling the world, the haters, the critics, “Look at us now”. THON 2012 is saying we miss you Gabby and Courtney. THON 2012 is saying thank you Joe, and F-you Jerry.THON 2012 is begging for the media, rather than denouncing it like we did in November. THON 2012 is saying, despite a scandal, despite the loss of our legendary leader, despite the loss of two beautiful freshman girls, despite the loss of a canning weekend, we still did it. We still “THONED”. And, We STILL are Penn State.
  3. Some Penn State supporters sent messages to news organizations on Twitter. Others criticized previous media coverage.
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    @sportsbybrooks @greggdoyelcbs are you and ur media cronies gonna cover #pennstate #thon with the energy you put into the scandal?
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    This weekend is #THON: Come see what PSU is actually about, and the mainstream media won't show you - thon.org/ #FTK
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    RT @PSU_DM_Kenney: @CNN @NBCNews @todayshow @ESPN @ABCWorldNews @AP You're sending reporters, photogs, & satellite trucks to #PennState Friday for @THON right?
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    RT @PSU_DM_Kenney: More invitations today go to @FoxNews @MSNBC @cbsnews to bring their photogs, reporters, & satellite trucks to @Penn_State Friday for @THON!
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    @PSU_DM_Kenney another suggestion, if you are making formal THON invitations? @ThisAmerLife.
  9. Others had a more hopeful tone.
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    PSU students got a lot of attention late fall when some behaved poorly. Far more will be part of @THON this wknd. Deserve attention for that
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    Wishing the Penn State community an amazing Thon weekend.. Show the world what ur really about & dance your hearts out������������ #Thon #forthekids
  12. All the Thon tweets prompted a response from one media member -- Philly.com's Ryan Petzar.
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    Dear PSU students and grads: Nobody has forgotten about "THON". It's impossible to forget because you never stop telling us about it.
  14. And a few posts about the media didn't reference the Sandusky scandal at all.
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    And a good luck to all the media outlets covering THON this weekend. Be sure to get sleep between shifts! #FTK
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