Penn State Alters Transcript Of O’Brien Newser

January 8, 2012

PSU Football

Penn State is still working on its transparency.

Penn State acting athletic director had a couple of interesting moments Saturday during the news conference to introduce Bill O’Brien as football coach, including his exchange with a reporter from Harrisburg:

Q.  Dr. Joyner, transparency has been a big topic going back two months now. The New England Patriots aren’t exactly the most transparent team in the NFL. Is this a topic that was addressed during the interview process?

Joyner: Which topic? (He paused and stared at the reporter before saying …) Integrity and honor and doing the right thing were addressed from the very beginning. Transparency doesn’t necessarily mean that you can release things that are illegal or not appropriate. Transparency means being up front and honest and saying the things to people that are true and real, and you’re probably commenting a little bit about the search, too, and I’m breaking a principle. You don’t give an answer you aren’t asked for, but I think it’s important.

One, he is betraying his media training there. I’m pretty sure another principle of media training is to not tell the questioner – and a national television audience – how you have been trained not to answer a question not asked of you.

Two, and more troubling, the front part of the answer felt condescending. You can see for yourself at the 21 minute mark on the first video in this link.

The question was clear and quite reasonable (if inelegantly presented through a Patriots prism). Especially given that Penn State is under considerable fire for excessive secrecy and protecting its own in the biggest scandal in college sports history.

Not only that, this moment was erased from the transcript of the news conference released by Penn State.

Q.  Dr. Joyner, transparency has been a big topic going back two months now. The New England Patriots aren’t exactly the most transparent team in the NFL. Is this a topic that was addressed during the interview process?

Dave Joyner: Integrity and honor and doing the right thing were addressed from the very beginning. Transparency doesn’t necessarily mean that you can release things that are illegal or not appropriate. Transparency means being up front and honest and saying the things to people that are true and real, and you’re probably commenting a little bit about the search, too, and I’m breaking a principle.

Where did the “which topic?” go?

While they may have just been cleaning up the transcript for clarity (such as deleting Uhs or Ums), it’s probably best to not edit questions and answers about whether or not the university has improved its efforts at transparency.

(See this picture for Joyner’s general demeanor throughout the news conference on a day that called for warmth and engagement.)

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About Tony

Founder of Ball Eight.

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