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Blog assignment for Prof. Cifatte’s sections

November 9, 2011

From our group presentations – we learned more about how location, time and sources contribute to bias.

Over the course of this week, monitor the Penn State coverage from a local media outlet (within PA) and a distant outlet.  How do location and time elapsed contribute to the tone and content of the coverage?

28 Comments leave one →
  1. Laureen Esposito permalink
    November 13, 2011 1:33 pm

    Okay so after monitoring from two different media outlets I can tell that the one in Pennsylvania has an emotional tie to it and is biased toward the fact that these are people that are in their state and sometimes in their town whose kids all go to Penn State and sometimes even the writer themselves attended the college. The other has no tie in with America and basically is the neutral guy in it all. No bias they just give you the facts of the case and nothing more. There are many outlets that you will find bias at with Spectacular or Sparkling as the article title. I mean come on this guy molested little boys and people were aware of this and never came forward.

  2. Arcadia Hauquitz permalink
    November 13, 2011 3:25 pm

    After comparing the two outlets it is obvious that the ones in PA have much more of a bias because it is in their community and they have a stronger tie to these issues and people then those further away. It is also obvious from the two that there are conflicting views as to who exactly should be punished for these allegations and who shouldn’t and what the punishments should be. It’s interesting to read how many different takes there are on this issue and how far people think the blame should go, as well as their reasons for these opinions.

  3. Erica Bowman permalink
    November 13, 2011 5:51 pm

    The difference between the news coverage of Penn State in PA and any other part of the country is that the coverage in PA is local. It has more emotional connection to the incident since it is in their community, so it is more biased. Coverage from any other part of the country is more dry stating the facts of what happened since they do not have an emotional tie. Nationwide people are more considering the victims, but locally people believe Joe Paterno did nothing wrong since he has been a huge contribution to their pride and prestigious reputation that Penn State had before all of this.

  4. Jasmine Lewis permalink
    November 13, 2011 7:46 pm

    Distant news outlets are enforcing full responsibility on the coaches and others who were involved in the sexual assault scandal. There are so many questions unanswered, many want to know how Mike McQueary could have witnessed a young boy being sexually assaulted without helping that child or going to law enforcement about the issue. Another question is why so much attention is being put on Joe Paterno instead of Jerry Sandusky. Local media is not enforcing full responsibility on those who knew about the scandal. For example I found an article from the Patriot News stating that “it’s going to come down to credibility, stories contradict each other” as if these allegations are made up and are going to result in a contradiction of what the victims have accused Jerry Sandusky of. views are very conflicting and as time has elapsed, the students at Penn State have become upset about the situation as well and have taken matter into their own hands. Most distant news outlets have praised the students for taking action against Penn State while local outlets in PA have been reporting consequences that the students will face for taking action. It is impossible to avoid coverage of this event.

  5. Melissa Bognaski permalink
    November 14, 2011 2:10 am

    Location and time elapsed are major contributors to the tone and content of any coverage. When following the Penn State scandal coverage this was apparent. The two news sources that I followed were Philly News ( and Time ( Philly News’ coverage was overwhelming and it was clear there was more of an emotional connection. The stories I found at Philly News were very detailed and have encompassed their homepage for a week. Compared to Time the stories were more concerned with the future of Penn State. Time did not have as many stories covering the topic, and as time has gone by the stories have become less direct. On Nov. 9th they published “Bystander Psychology: Why Some Witnesses to Crime Do Nothing”. The story was based on Penn State and the lack of action from McQueary. It did not appear to analyze McQueary specifically, like Philly News did. It was aimed more at explaining the overall concept of the bystander effect. Ironically, the article was found under the website’s Love & Family Section. Indeed, the overall website’s coverage was a lot more lackadaisical, than that of Philly News.

  6. Brent Atteberry permalink
    November 14, 2011 12:48 pm

    It’s clear in this situation that the way news organizations report varies due to location and tone. It seems that the news organizations mostly have the same sources, but their tone varies by location. As others have noted, the local news organizations seem much more involved because for them it is a much more personal matter. Their tone is more subjective, personal, and sympathetic. However, larger and more distant news organizations have mostly been objective and purely factual in their tone. As for time, larger organizations have vested only a few articles whereas more local news organizations have been on the story daily giving much detail and holding strong opinions.

  7. Rachel Perez permalink
    November 14, 2011 1:25 pm

    After reading a few article from the local Centre Daily and a few from CNN and other national media coverage, the bias and differences are very noticable. Though the local coverages are stating what is happening, it seems to be focusing on the football aspect more than the legal side. Focused prominintely on Paterno, the pictures that are featured are somber one, signs of encouragement being placed by his statues, clips and quotes from his son at the Penn State game. The little that was said on Sandusky was brief and vague, not really putting an opinion on it. Penn State is trying to remain positive for the most part, writing how the students will ‘prevail’ and things along those lines.
    From a national standpoint, there’s still a somber element but it’s definitley focused on the legal side of the situation and giving different viewpoints from either side. It’s still a bit bias towards Paterno as well, but from another angle than Penn State. National news coverage is speaking in anger and ‘he should have done blah-blah-blah’ sort of language when asked about Paterno. National news coverage has more accussing tones than the local Pennsylvania coverage.

  8. Aleksandr Skop permalink
    November 14, 2011 1:57 pm

    I have just finished reading a few local and a few mainstream news outlets covering the Penn-State sex scandal. What struck me the most is the extreme bias of the local media coverage. Various Pennsylvania news articles focus heavily on details that have nothing to do with the scandal itself. I found massive amounts of information concerning Penn State’s football program and it’s uncertain future. The language describing Paterno is very soft and sympathetic. The actual coverage of the scandal is highly subjective and shows “truthiness”. Thankfully, the mainstream news outlets for once have shown a very neutral position. There, I actually learned of the facts of the scandal (CNN, BBC etc). Covering a subject such as child molestation, I believe it is better to be biased in an accusing fashion, and the fact that a damn football official can be excused of such a heinous crime purely on the ground of his accomplishments sickens me. I may be biased as well, but I think that blind Penn State allegiance that consumed so many should waver off, and everybody should face this matter for what it really is.

  9. November 14, 2011 3:11 pm

    I have been monitoring The Daily Collegian Online. This is Penn State’s student-run newspaper. From the start of the scandal, many of the articles dealt with things that didn’t necessarily have to do with the case. Good and bad events occurring around the surprising and disgusting scandal were written about. For example some of the titles read, “Non-profit organization paid Sandusky” and “Proud to be a Penn Stater raises more than $98K in 27 hours”. Once information and facts began to break, the newspaper reported more on the actual story. Mostly, the student writers presented the articles in an non-biased way by not leaving anything out that would paint Penn State administration in a negative light. Now, the student-run newspaper’s tone is one of sadness. They have pride for their school and are disappointed with how everything has turned out. Coverage continues to be truthful, but you can definitely tell that it is “Penn Stater’s” writing the articles.

  10. Sarah Lappen permalink
    November 14, 2011 4:34 pm

    While monitoring this story through articles from both the New York Times and the Gettysburg Times I found the difference in reporting to be substantial and extremely noticeable.The New York Times articles laid out the facts, provided quotations from a variety of angles, and did so will very little emotional undertone. I found on the other hand that the articles in the Gettysburg Times seemed to throw the heartbreak of Penn state fans and players at the reader, in an effort to get them to sympathize with the team was going through. The opening of one Gettysburg Times article read: “The Penn State players left the field with their heads bowed, the fans mostly silent. A lifetime worth of emotions was crammed into the past week. Shock, rage, regret and, now, exhaustion.” I also noticed that while the New York Times made no effort to sugar coat the subject, the Gettysburg Times clearly made an effort to bring up morale by stating: “A football game on a brilliant autumn afternoon won’t erase it.It was, however, a start…The game was a combination of pep rally, cleansing and tribute, a way to acknowledge the past and take a step into the future.” The article talked about a return to a bright future, rather than the disgusting allegations being brought against Sandusky at the present time. These differences are clearly based on geographical location and the home state pride that is clearly shown in the articles from the Gettysburg Times.

  11. Alison Johnson permalink
    November 14, 2011 6:10 pm

    The news outlets that are relatively near the Penn State area demonstrate a supportive voice because it is their pride that is being scrutinized. The majority of the people in that community have some tie to the university, whether alumni, current, or relatives of students/faculties so of course they will defend or be more sympathetic towards Joe Pa and the school. Local news outlets will also filtered out the raw details of the scandal rather than giving the “truth.” News outlets without any ties to Penn State display more hostility and reprimanded those, namely Joe Pa, for “covering up” Jerry Sandusky. One outlet called The Times Leader even accused the Penn State scandal of reopening a wound for U.S. Roman Catholic Church. The leading bishop claimed that this was similar to the bishops own failures to protect children.

  12. Samantha Jodice permalink
    November 14, 2011 6:26 pm

    The Penn State scandal is one that will be remembered for years to come. When analyzing a local Pennsylvania news source and a distant one, the bias towards the story was revealed. The Penn State college news source showed various views towards those directly involved in the crime, some supporting the coaches and some showing great disgust. It’s sad to know that a majority of the college students supported the child molester and were ignorant to the fact that there was proof against Jerry Sandusky and were outraged when there beloved coach, Joe Paterno was fired. The local news channel, NBC-2, here in Cape Coral/Fort Myers, was much more knowledgeable and gave straight forward information, due to the fact that there are no personal connections to this story. They delivered the facts to the people whether they wanted to listen or not. A startling video I had seen showed college students from Penn State over turning a news van, and that brought goosebumps to my arms just knowing how some refuse to believe the truth when it is uncovered right before their very eyes.

  13. Melissa Wolfe permalink
    November 14, 2011 6:57 pm

    After reading the local article versus the article that was not local, I can definitely see bias taking place in the writing. The article that was local has a more emotional tie to the event going on at Penn State. The article that was not local presented more facts on the situation and seemed to apply a lot more guilt to the coach than the local article did. This difference in writing is evident by the tone of the article and the overall presentation of facts. When there is an emotional tie to a story that definitely changes the way that it is written.

  14. Taylor Dawson permalink
    November 14, 2011 7:04 pm

    After comparing a local article from Southwest Florida (Lehigh Valley) with an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, I found some very extreme and notable differences regarding the amount of bias portrayed within the two. Many of the articles from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette used titles using the word “emotion” or other thought provoking words. One of the articles from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was swimming with emotion as the reporter used words like “somber” and stated over and over again that the entire stadium, especially the student body of Penn State was filled with emotion. The article goes on to create imagery of fans at the game, cheering for Joe Paterno, and even outside of his home. The article even states that he even accepted flowers from some emotional fans. These descriptions help paint a picture to a reader of the pride that is within the Penn State community, and gives more of a biased point of view. The article from Lehigh on the other hand states “I didn’t hear a single chant for Paterno before halftime.” and “with no Joe Pa on the sidelines or in the coaches box and barely a sight of him on the scoreboard all afternoon, the game against Nebraska marked a time of change for Penn State that many fans never thought would happen”, putting the bias of the “home town pride” behind him and focusing on the facts. I believe that the location of a news outlet will greatly affect the outcome of the article and the bias within. Wouldn’t we try to defend FGCU?

  15. Natalie permalink
    November 14, 2011 9:20 pm

    when comparing the two outlets it is obvious that the ones in PA have much more of a bias in the article because it is in their community and they have a stronger connection to these issues and people then those in a further distance away. It is also obvious from the two that there are argumentle views as to whom should be punished for these allegations and who shouldn’t and what the punishments should be. It’s interesting to read how many different actions there are on this issue and how far people think the blame should go, as well as their reasons for the opinions they give out on the article.

  16. Michael Bridges permalink
    November 15, 2011 12:08 am

    After monitoring the different sources, I have reached some conclusions.
    The local media outlet within PA held a closeness to it. The people involved in the story were people the community had come to know and love. The elapsed time also had an effect on the story, as the community had time to reel from what had happened.
    The location from the distant source had a different effect, as the people involved weren’t as closely related to the story, therefore reported more objectively. The time elapsed allowed for the story to be more closely analyzed as well.

  17. Melissa Roche permalink
    November 15, 2011 10:02 am

    After closely monitoring different sources covering the Penn State chaos, I found that there was a lot of bias depending on the location of the sources and the time elapsed. Inevitably, the local media outlet have an emotional attachment to the school and the people involved. Also, the way that they reported the story progressed as time elapsed. When the allegations against Sandusky first emerged, the local media reported the story with an underlying tone of skepticism, whereas as time elapsed, they reported it more assertively.
    The sources from a different location, on the other hand, weren’t as closely attached to the story. Therefore, they reported it with less bias. Time was an important factor in they way they reported it, however. At the beginning, they were unsure of the allegations and were not biased, but merely reported the facts. But as time went on, sources from a different location became more biased towards the young boys who were assaulted and less biased towards Sandusky and Coach Paterno.

    Local source in the beginning:

    Local source as time progressed:

    Different location source in the beginning:

    Different location source as time progressed:

  18. Natalie Forte permalink
    November 15, 2011 12:11 pm

    When comparing the two outlets it is obvious that the ones in PA have much more of a bias in the article because it is in their community and they have a stronger connection to these issues and people then those in a further distance away. It is also obvious from the two that there are argumentle views as to whom should be punished for these allegations and who shouldn’t and what the punishments should be. It’s interesting to read how many different actions there are on this issue and how far people think the blame should go, as well as their reasons for the opinions they give out on the article.

  19. marycastro000 permalink
    November 15, 2011 1:15 pm

    Once comparing the two news outlets I see that the outlet that is located in PA has a close tie with Penn State. This isn’t a surprise. In class, we discussed how most of the news outlets in PA have people who went to Penn State or they at least know one person who goes there. This usually gets in the way of the reporting on the case. These newspapers do show bias while reporting. And why wouldn’t they? The news that they’re reporting on is happening in their community. When I compared these newspapers to the newspapers outside of PA the news reporting was more down the middle. Most of these newspapers reported the facts without adding any kind of personal bias.. Most newspapers outside of PA have no personal ties with the people involved so this results in a more objective reporting.

  20. Sheilla Dumel permalink
    November 15, 2011 2:29 pm

    well let start by saying that coach Jerry Sandusky sicking me in so many levels that there are no words to describe it. one of the two news outlet that i compare to sated that coach Jerry Sandusky himself In a telephone interview with NBC’s “Rock Center With Brian Williams,” Sandusky admitted that he have horsed around with children.
    so basically cnn news just went straight to the point stated what the coach himself said with no words added to it. where in on the other hand fox news focus more on the victims such as the little boys that was traumatized by this horrible event.

  21. Melissa Roche permalink
    November 15, 2011 6:44 pm

    As I monitored the Pennsylvania State controversy over the past week, I noticed differences in the way that the local media outlet covered the story, and the way that distant outlets covered the story.
    Needless to say, the local media seemed to have an emotional attachment to the story. They reported on local reactions to the controversy as well as the actual story. The underlying tone of the reports was one of doubt or skepticism as to whether Sandusky, JoPa, and others involved or implicated were guilty. On the other hand, distant media seemed to cover the story in a more objective manner.
    Time also plays a significant role in the way that stories are reported. When the story first emerged, for example, local media seemed almost offended at the allegations thrown at their “beloved Head Coach Joe Paterno” that he had failed to report the Sandusky incidents properly. As the story progressed, local media reported it from a seemingly unbiased way, yet always having a tone of despondency. From the beginning, distant media outlets reported the story in a more detached way, neither leaning towards or away the accusations made to Sandusky or Paterno.

    Local Media:

    • Melissa Roche permalink
      November 15, 2011 9:22 pm

      I posted a second time because my first comment didn’t show up.

      • Chris Cifatte permalink
        November 18, 2011 12:33 pm

        Got it.. thanks.

  22. Emily Spaulding permalink
    November 22, 2011 12:23 pm

    After reading multiple articles from distant and local sources regarding the Penn State scandal, it is clear that there are differences when it comes to distance and time elapsed after the events as far as bias is considered. Local media outlets in the Pennsylvania area included more personal ties and stories while media from around the country was more objective when discussing the who, what, when, where, and why. Articles published immediately after the scandal was revealed, they discussed what happened to the victims and why, but articles published later on discuss more of the repercussions of the offender and punishment of the Penn State head coach.

  23. Nathan Ingham permalink
    November 23, 2011 2:16 pm

    Being a big NCAA football fan I have followed this from the beginning and noticed some obvious biases along the way. The writers from Penn state, or the local papers are trying to make it seem as harmless as they can, they obviously have strong ties to the school the neighbourhood and the state. This reflect them directly as well as where they live, so as we would expect they try and leave the convicted innocent until proven guilty.

    As for the outside major outlets they would give facts. They would give the quotes, breaking news and everything else they got and they would show it on the news. Rarely did I see i bias but I did see allegations being made on different shows (including ESPN debates) which they had already assumed the ones tied in with the entire thing were guilty and were rightfully fired. One note I did find very interesting on the ESPN talk shows is that they brought in different people to talk and when it was a Penn State Alma Mater it was very similar to hearing the local news outlets. They would try and defend their home.

    Sorry about the late reply, when we got into post season and had to miss class i had trouble keeping up with all my work. I’m not sure if you can do anything for this post because it is so late but if you can that would be really appreciative.

  24. Andrew Yelich permalink
    November 28, 2011 3:04 pm

    I’m from Western New York State, and I recall well that friends of mine at one point attend a camp at the PSU-Behrand campus which is about an hour from my home town. We get a lot of media coverage about Penn State and the local news papers were all over it. It was mild at first, basically citing everything that the National news was saying and keeping it only to the known updates. The PSU-Behrand paper kept it mild as well at first, trying not to incriminate anyone until all the facts were out there, sort of protecting their own. The media far from penn state such as a national news paper like usa today seemed to be way more unbiased. They called PSU out and kept the information coming as everything unfolded. That should be expected though because PSU is not they’re responsibility to protect and the info should be straight forward.

  25. November 28, 2011 10:03 pm

    After looking at two outlets that are covering the Penn State scandal it is apparent that those media outlets closer to the scandal are far more biased. These are public figures for Pennsylvania and all Penn State alumni/ fans everywhere. Since more time has lapsed since this post (sorry for my delay) I am able to see that people have been able to digest the information, and come to their own conclusions. At the beginning of this scandal people immediately began to be irrational and not look at the big picture, especially those students attending Penn State currently. Those farther away of the scandal typically have a different perspective, but if this was happening at “their” team it would be a lot different.

  26. Chelsea OKeefe permalink
    December 13, 2011 12:26 am

    After comparing the two outlets I feel that the ones in PA have much more of a bias because it is in the proximity to the event. They also have more of bond to these issues and people then those located in other places farther away from the event. It is also evident that there are two different views as to who exactly should be punished for these allegations and who shouldn’t. It is also up for debate as to what the punishments should be. To read how many different ways the story was interpreted and interesting and made me realize the differentiating outlooks news reporters have based just on their location to the event alone .

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