The capabilities of multimedia are endless. From video and interactive graphics to photo slideshows and timelines, information can be displayed in a number of ways that make it most accessible to its audience. But how do you justify the entire life of a person who meant so much to not only one school, but also a program, and ultimately the nation, as it looked on through a scandal?
Joe Paterno, the former Penn State football coach who was the face of the university for half a century, died January 22, 2012. Numerous accolades and accomplishments made Paterno a well-known figure in college football. His reputation, however, was tarnished when his involvement with the Sandusky abuse scandal was revealed. Sandusky, Paterno’s former defensive line coach, has been arrested for sexually abusing young boys over a 15-year period. While Paterno alerted his superiors of Sandusky’s wrongdoing, he came under fire when it was unclear whether he followed up with his complaints or tried to alert authorities himself. Paterno was promptly removed from his position and denied his request to finish his 46th coaching season.
Paterno was battling health conditions complicated from lung cancer. He died on Jan. 22, 2012. During his career, he won 409 games, the most by a major-college football coach, and two national championships. Many say he died of a broken heart.
As you can see, his life isn’t cut and dry. It’s full of highs and lows, and it’s of interest to people all over. The New York Times did a great interactive timeline to illustrate his life. This timeline not only lays out Paterno’s greatest career accomplishments and pays homage to them, it also notes the key dates relevant to the Sandusky scandal. In addition, photos accompany certain dates, as well as videos for others. Extra links for more information are also included in some of the dates.
With a slick user interface and lots of data (a whole life full), this interactive piece allows users to pick and choose the information relevant to them and get a basic idea of his legacy. If the user is interested in more information, that’s also available with added links, photos or videos. With a person like this, it’s important to show all aspects so that users can receive all the information – not just the part that he was a great coach and not just the part of the last year that may have tarnished his reputation. The New York Times offers all of this information.
Have you seen any other news organizations document JoePa’s life in a different way? Which forms of multimedia do you think best convey a person’s life?
The WV Uncovered Blog is designed to engage discussion on both the project’s upcoming assignments, and to question the strategies we, as journalists, use to tell people’s stories.Subscribe to the RSS feed