The journalist who broke news of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case in March of 2011 said she remembers attending the Foster-Foreman Conference of Distinguished Writers when she was a Penn State student.
This year, she’ll be speaking at the conference as a Pulitzer prize winner.
Sara Ganim, Class of 2008, along with David Greene, an award-winning broadcast journalist for National Public Radio, will be the featured speakers during the conference that begins today.
Ganim, a former Collegian staff member, will speak at 7 p.m. in HUB Heritage Hall. Greene is scheduled to speak Wednesday at 10:10 a.m. in the HUB-Robeson Center Auditorium.
Foster-Foreman Conference Director Gene Foreman said the annual conferences have long been an inspiration for students and this year will be no exception.
“We’ve inspired a lot of students in 13 and a half years,” Foreman said.
Ganim, at age 24, was one of the youngest journalists to win the Pulitzer Prize — widely considered journalism’s highest honor.
Ganim was awarded the Pulitzer for her local reporting of the Sandusky sex abuse case while she worked for The Patriot-News in Harrisburg. In her talk tonight, she will discuss the “Five Things I Learned,” and taking questions from the audience. She said she expects there to be a lot of questions regarding how she covered the case.
“It’s such an emotional issue, and young journalists are learning to cover issues like these that have a deeper meaning,” Ganim said.
Ganim is recognized for being the first to report that Sandusky was being investigated on sexual abuse charges.
Foreman said he wanted the Penn State alumna to speak this year because she can relate to young journalists.
“I think being relatively new and out of college, her observations as a journalist will resonate to kids her age,” Foreman said.
For broadcast journalists, Greene will speak Wednesday morning about what he refers to as the “new world” of journalism, thanks to social media. He has spent seven years at NPR and is currently the host of the program’s “Morning Edition” and “Weekend Edition,” according to the press release.
In 2011, Greene won the Daniel Schorr Journalism Award for his coverage of Libya during the Arab Spring, he said.
Greene said he started using social media for his job in 2009 with the photo-sharing site Flickr. While he was traveling with President Barack Obama during his first 100 days in office, Greene used social media to engage listeners and said it opened his eyes to a new world. Today, the correspondent uses it to connect with audiences and upcoming guests on his shows.
However, the focus of Greene’s talk will be on the good and the bad consequences of various social media.
“[My talk will be] a reminder that the new world of media is so exciting, but we should never forget the history of journalism,” Greene said. “Basic lessons have never changed [such as] being fair and accurate.”
According to Penn State’s College of Communications website, the Foster-Foreman Conference, held every semester, began in 1999 with an endowment made by Larry and Ellen Foster, Class of 1948 and 1949 respectively. In 27 years, 35 Pulitzer Prize winners have spoken at the conferences, as well as several other distinguished and well-recognized journalists, according to the college of communications website.
Foreman said the conferences add another dimension of learning for students that are outside of the classroom.