Aftershock: Penn State students react to a child sex abuse scandal and the loss of a revered coach

Video posted April 2, 2012 in News by Kirk Dyson, Kelley King and Jill Knight


It started with a trickle of news. Students at the University Park campus of Penn State University learned that a former assistant football coach had been indicted by a grand jury nearly a hundred miles away.

The story written by Sara Ganim, a recent Penn State graduate herself, was published on a Friday evening on the website for the Harrisburg Patriot-News. The next day a second Ganim story linked to the 40-count indictment against forrmer Nittany Lions football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. The 23-page document presented by a Dauphin County grand jury painted a sordid picture of a trusted adult who allegedly used his football and charity positions to molest eight boys.

The grand jury document also described actions -- or lack of action -- taken by university officials  to investigate some of the incidents, in particular an alleged shower room liaison in a Penn State football locker room between Sandusky and a teen boy that was witnessed by another assistant coach.

By Tuesday it was clear that the job of revered football coach Joe Paterno was in jeopardy. Athletic Director Tim Curley and interim Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz faced indictment. Satellite trucks were parked in front of Old Main and next to Beaver Stadium. The university president was forced to resign. Then Joe Paterno was fired.

Students rioted.

Questions began. How upset should students be about a coach, when teen and pre-teen boys had allegedly been sexually abused?

Thousands of students attended a candle light vigil in front of Old Main to show their support for the alleged victims.

Students began to assess their motivations and reflect on the tarnished reputations of people and institutions they had admired. This project reflects their thoughts.

-- photos and video by Kelley King, Jill Hunt, Chloe Elmer, Andy Colwell,
Tom Ruane, Jeremy Kahn, Dan Hamilton, 
Tyler Sizemore,
Joseph Streb, Kelsey Morris and Amanda August
Headlines from The Daily Collegian

Essay by Kirk Dyson

The Paterno factor

Students at Penn State had a special relationship with coach Joe Paterno. Even though he held the record for most victories by a NCAA Division 1 football coach, he hardly lived in a bubble. Paterno's house was only a couple blocks away from campus. On a nice day he liked to walk to work. Everyone seemed to have a story about meeting him.

This cell phone video, made for The Daily Collegian the night before he was fired, shows that special relationship as Paterno opens a window to address hundreds of students standing in his front yard to show their support.

-- video by Aaron Dunlevy

We are ... voices of Penn State

Just a few weeks following the indictment of former coach Jerry Sandusky, journalists Krista Myers and Katherine Rodriguez made this video as nearly a dozen Penn State students shared their thoughts, feelings and reflections on what happened.

-- video by Krista Myers and Katherine Rodriguez

~ Content included in this project was first published in The Daily Collegian, Centre County Report, the ComMedia websites and

About the Contributors

Amanda August's photo

Amanda August

Graduate / Visual Journalism

Amanda August is senior majoring in visual journalism. Her experience includes photojournalism, multimedia reporting and Web design. She also loves to read, cook and scrapbook.

Kelley King's photo

Kelley King

2012 Graduate / Visual Journalism

Kelley is a Penn State graduate with a major in visual journalism and a minor in sociology. She has interned as a multimedia reporter at magazine in Philadelphia, as a lifestyle writer at the Lansdale Reporter, and worked three years on the staff of The Daily Collegian student newspaper, where she was Photo/Multimedia Chief.
In 2012 she traveled to Rio de Janeiro to do field work for Comm 402, International Reporting.

Krista Myers's photo

Krista Myers

2011 Graduate / Visual Journalism

Krista Myers is a senior visual journalism major and kinesiology minor whose goal is to utilize and improve her photography and videography skills.

She is a native of a small town called Dover in south central Pennsylvania. After spending time as a music business major and then print journalism major at the University of Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee, she decided to come back home to study. She has worked as a section editor and writer for the student magazine FLY, and interned with the Transsylvania Mountain Bike Epic and Dover Township Parks and Recreation.

Her career goals include working as a music photographer, as a photographer and writer for a cycling magazine, editing and designing magazine content and creating multimedia content for online venues.

Katherine Rodriguez's photo

Katherine Rodriguez

2013 Graduate / Visual Journalism and Integrative Arts/Photography

Katherine Rodriguez is a senior majoring in Visual Journalism and Integrative Arts with a concentration in Photography. She is the current president of the Penn State Chapter of the National Press Photographers Association.

Tom Ruane's photo

Tom Ruane

Senior / Visual Journalism

Tom Ruane is a 23-year-old New Jersey native, from the beachside community of West Long Branch. He began his college career as a business major at Saint Peter’s College, the Jesuit College of New Jersey, in Jersey City, N.J. He will graduate from Penn State in August 2012 with a Bachelors Degree in Visual Journalism and a minor in Business Liberal Arts.

Tom is a photographer for The Daily Collegian student newspaper. Outside of school, he is a cadet in the Pennsylvania National Guard. He has worked as a self-employed disc jockey with a pro-audio company for the past seven years. Tom is also very heavily involved in the community by volunteering with local fire departments, search and rescue teams, and emergency management teams.

Andy Colwell's photo

Andy Colwell

Graduated Dec. 2011 / Visual Journalism and Integrative Arts/Photography

Andy Colwell is a resident and native of State College/University Park/Happy Valley, at the heart of Pennsylvania. He graduated from Penn State in Dec. 2011 with degrees in visual journalism and integrative arts photography.

Andy freelances for the Associated Press and works as a wedding, portrait and event photographer in the Centre County area. His photos have appeared in dozens of publications around the world.

In addition to photographic pursuits, Andy is an Eagle Scout and played trombone in the Penn State University Marching Blue Band.

Chloe Elmer's photo

Chloe Elmer

2012 Graduate / Visual Journalism

Chloe Elmer graduated in Spring 2012 with a major in visual journalism and a minor in psychology. She was the photo editor and an active staff photographer for The Daily Collegian, Penn State’s independently-run student newspaper.
She traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2012 for a class on international reporting. In the summer of 2010, she spent 10 weeks in London, where she interned at Archant, the largest independently-owned media company in the United Kingdom. These experiences helped her to gain valuable global professional experience and a more independent mindset.
Though she enjoys photographing any type of event, sports and spot news are two of her favorites. She is currently widening her skills through wedding and portrait photography

Kirk Dyson's photo

Kirk Dyson

2012 Graduate / Broadcast Journalism

I grew up in Springfield, Pennsylvania, about 15 minutes outside of Philadelphia. Growing up, my life revolved around sports.  I played soccer and baseball from the time I could walk and am an avid hockey and football fan. 

My love for sports and easy-going personality made me decide to enroll in the College of Communications and pursue a career in sports journalism.

I have had the opportunity to intern for a news station, WMGM-NBC 40 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, under the sports director there.  I learned what it was like to be the anchor for local sports and the day-to-day requirements that would come with the job. 

Because of my love for sports, I enrolled in the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism just before my senior year and have been given the chance to write for sports and also learn about sports broadcasting.  In the spring of 2012, I also took a sports broadcasting class in which I helped produce a sports show with my peers.

My hope is to get into the field of sports journalism so I can turn my passion of sports into a job that I will not only enjoy but be excited about.

Tyler Sizemore's photo

Tyler Sizemore

Graduate / Art (Photography) B.A. and Visual Journalism

Tyler Sizemore is a senior at Penn State majoring in Art Photography and Visual Journalism. Tyler has gained valuable experience in photojournalism through his job as a senior photographer for The Daily Collegian. His favorite things to photograph are sports and music. He enjoys the journalistic aspect of photography and aims to tell a story in every photo. His experience with The Daily Collegian has put him on the sidelines to photograph Penn State football games; on the airport runway to photograph the President of the United States; on the dance floor to photograph THON, the largest student-run philanthropy event in the world; and numerous other places that have given him invaluable experience in the photojournalism industry. Tyler is also employed by Penn State University Health Services to photograph their facility and patients. He also works for Penn State Sports Properties, photographing advertising and vendors at Penn State football games. During the summer, Tyler keeps busy by freelancing for the Evening Sun, his local newspaper in Hanover, Pa. and photographing weddings. He hopes that the experiences he has gained during his time at Penn State will open the door for a career in photojournalism.

Jeremy Kahn's photo

Jeremy Kahn

Senior / Broadcast Journalism, Political Science and Business (Minors)

I am a Broadcast Journalism major at Penn State University due to graduate in May 2013. In addition to my major I am also working toward a double minor in Political Science and Business.

I currently report, anchor, and produce for the Centre County Report as part of the College of Communications at Penn State University. I am the executive producer for the Spring of 2013.

I have worked in both radio and television at the collegiate and professional levels.I have had the opportunity to intern with WABC-TV, CBS Radio and CBS News in New York City working as part of Eyewitness News, The Early Show on CBS and Chat About It for During the Penn State Sandusky scandal I assisted producers from ABC News and WABC onsite in Bellefonte. I have also been a a high school football reporter for WQWK 1450 ESPN State College and a videographer at the local government channel CNET.

I have been a part of the Big Ten Network’s Student U broadcasting program for soccer, volleyball, and softball. For the past two years I have been calling Penn State softball games for 1390 WRSC-AM.

In my time at Penn State’s student radio station ComRadio, I have had the privilege of doing play-by-play for multiple Penn State sports including football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, hockey and men’s and women’s soccer. Furthermore, I have experience producing multiple sports for ComRadio. In addition to sports, I am also heavily involved in the news department where I produce weekly as well as anchor and report.

My goal is to work as a television anchor or reporter for a major television news organization.