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Sara Ganim, one of the youngest journalists to win a Pulitzer Prize, is our guest on Smart Talk, tonight at 8 on witf TV. She and the Harrisburg Patriot-News earned journalism's highest honor for local reporting through their investigative series of reports on the Jerry Sandusky/PSU child sex-abuse scandal. Share your thoughts on her award-winning investigative pieces and the future of local journalism: Call 1-800-729-7532, send an email to email@example.com, post a comment below, or on witf's Facebook page.
Ganim is a 2008 graduate of Penn State University. She started her professional journalism career as a crime reporter for The Centre Daily Times in State College. Her path to the crime beat is recounted in this DailyBeast piece. When she sleeps, it's with a police scanner on the nightstand. While working as a cub reporter for the CDT, she got a tip that sent her looking through online PSU alumni and fan message boards. She scrolled through the sites to see if there was any truth to the rumor that Jerry Sandusky, Penn State's former assistant football coach and founder of The Second Mile charity, had sexually abused children. Ganim joined the staff at the Patriot in January 2011 and kept digging for the truth regarding Sandusky. Ganim and the Patriot were the first to report in March 2011 that he was the target of a grand jury investigation.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly announced child sexual-molestation charges against Sandusky in November 2011. He is accused of sexually abusing 10 children over a 15-year period. Kelly further stunned everyone by announcing that Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley, now on leave, and PSU Vice President Gary Schultz, now retired, were charged with lying to the grand jury and failing to report suspected child sex abuse by Sandusky. All three men have pleaded not guilty. The A.G.'s investigation began under Gov. Tom Corbett when he held that office. He sits on the Penn State Board of Trustees, has taken campaign contributions from some of its members and members of The Second Mile's board, and reportedly pushed for the PSU board to fire legendary head football coach Joe Paterno and President Graham Spanier in the wake of the arrests. The board dismissed Paterno and forced out Spanier within days of the A.G.'s announcement. The governor denies reports that he urged the board to force the two men out.
Sara Ganim beat everyone to the story because of her tenacity for the facts and by developing connections with the alleged victims, their families and key sources in law enforcement and at PSU. She makes it clear she is NOT a sports reporter. She is a crime reporter. And a winning one, at that.
The Pulitzer Prizes honor excellence in journalism and the arts. Joseph Pulitzer, a Hungarian-American journalist and newspaper publisher, established the awards and, upon his death, left money to Columbia University. A portion of his bequest was used to found the School of Journalism and establish the Pulitzer Prizes, which were first awarded in 1917.
In awarding the Pulitzer to Ganim and her colleagues, the committee citation reads, "for courageously revealing and adeptly covering the explosive Penn State sex scandal involving former football coach Jerry Sandusky." Courage, tenacity, smarts, dedication ... meet Sara Ganim, tonight at 8 on Smart Talk.
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