Journalists Provide Insights into Reporting on Scandals

Photo: Steve McCarthy

In the wake of recent stories that have rocked college sports, most notably the Penn State sex abuse scandal, three accomplished journalists gave Montclair State University broadcasting students firsthand insights into the challenges and ethical quandaries they've faced as reporters during a panel program at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center on February 15.

Aditi Kinkhabwala of The Wall Street Journal, Steve Politi of The Star-Ledger, and Tom Rinaldi of ESPN each emphasized the critical need to be cautious and diligent in covering such explosive stories. Each warned of the dangers in the rush to be first, rather than right-especially in stories that ignite major news cycles.

The program, “Covering College Sports in the Age of Controversy,” was the latest collaboration between the Museum and the Department of Broadcasting. Moderated by Assistant Professor Marc Rosenweig, the discussion was taped by the students for two editions of the department's public affairs program, Carpe Diem.

The students are studying the use of television remote trucks in a special class taught by CNBC Vice President of Technical and Commercial Operations Steve Fastook and CNBC Senior Producer Patty Fastook.

Kinkhabwala, who grew up in the shadows of Rutgers Stadium and now covers the New York Giants for The Wall Street Journal, explained how social media is transforming the way journalists break news.

Politi, a columnist at The Star-Ledger who has frequently scrutinized Rutgers’ financial commitment to big-time football, told of the importance to get the facts even when shaping an opinion.

And Rinaldi, who was the face of ESPN’s coverage at Penn State and landed exclusive interviews with Jay Paterno, son of the legendary coach, gave cautionary tales on the importance of direct interviewing and corroborating information.