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Monday, January 30th 2012

8:13 PM

Too Much News!

It's been about six weeks since my last entry, and I blame the news. There's been too much of it lately, and it doesn't seem likely to stop anytime soon.

First, I should note that I was right on the money with my prediction that "occupy" would be the American Dialect Society's "Word of the Year" for 2011. It really was a no-brainer. No other word came close to rising to the level of wide-spread prominence that "occupy" enjoyed month after month. But, now, I get the feeling that "occupy" and its corresponding movement are losing their luster. The fascination has worn off. Once you've been named WOTY, there's no place to go but down. It's too early to tell what word might occupy the top spot in 2012, but I'll keep my eyes and ears open for likely contenders.

Secondly, in some personal news, I've (finally) started going to the gym again. I decided that I needed someone to kick my ass into shape, so I joined NEPA CROSSFIT in Wilkes-Barre. The workouts are tough, but the toughest part may be getting up at 4:45AM in order to attend a 6AM class. I'm still the new kid on the block, but I'm already feeling better.

As for the actual news that has occupied so much of my time of late, the bulk of it has concerned the sex abuse scandal involving Jerry Sandusky and Penn State University. In early December, both Sandusky and two Penn State officials had preliminary hearings. Then, Joe Paterno announced he had lung cancer. Then, just last week, Paterno died, which triggered almost a full week of team coverage.

One of the most bizarre reactions to Paterno's death came from Sandusky (and his lawyer, Joe Amendola). On the day Paterno died, Sandusky put out a statement through Amendola which began with the words, "It's a sad day!" First off, it was totally inappropriate for Sandusky to put out a statement of any kind. But, then, to issue one that included an exclamation point? What the hell?!?

Anyway, back to the news. The week of Paterno death coverage concluded this past Thursday with "A Memorial for Joe," the public memorial held at the Bryce Jordan Center. My station was among those that aired it live, starting at 2PM. The whole week had been grueling, and I think everyone in the newsroom looked at this memorial as one last push. Get through this, and then we can take a breather.

But, no.

About 2:30 on Thursday afternoon came word that another local icon had died. Dr. Joseph Mattioli, the founder of Pocono Raceway, passed away. While not as well-known as Paterno, Mattioli certainly made his mark and his death required coverage, too. That coverage extended over the weekend and into today, when funeral services were held.

The funeral for Doc Mattioli might have been the top story except that today was also the day that two former Lackawanna County commissioners were sentenced on federal corruption charges. Their sentencings (Robert Cordaro, 11 years; AJ Munchak, 7 years) involved live cut-ins during the early afternoon and team coverage during the newscasts.

Dare I say, the next week or so looks kind of slow. At least until February 10, when Sandusky may be back in court for a hearing on his bail conditions. Seems he's not happy with the terms of his house arrest. Considering the charges against him, I think he's fortunate to be in his own house at all.
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