Child abuse being so heinous a crime, and so legitimate a cue for outrage, Paterno's story showed the impact of the interactivity that media outlets value so highly in today's Neo-Tabloid Age.
Such is the duality of Paterno's legacy. Media and fans paint pictures in broad strokes of black and white, but Paterno's picture is colored in inscrutable shades of grey.
On ABC's World News with Diane Sawyer, reporter Dan Harris called Paterno "the mythic embodiment of success with honor." What honor?
We as a society must build on this achievement and take further steps to acknowledge that sexual violence affects men and boys. We must commit ourselves to engaging men in the movement to address, prevent and, one day, end all sexual violence.
The conversation that serves to best commemorate the horrible turn of events at Penn State should be, "How are the alleged victims of Sandusky and the Penn State football culture handling this?"
Amid the outpouring of emotion that's followed has been this message that Paterno was not a god and just a human being who made some mistakes. The tributes have largely focused on the good that Paterno did in his life.
Since my days in Happy Valley, I have been among the fortunate to get an up close and personal look into the life of Joe Paterno.
After the Penn State scandal broke, I was asked if this was finally the tipping point. Would colleges now take sexual assault seriously? Doubtful. And a new case of a university run amok has emerged to serve as evidence.
Sandusky's arrest last November triggered a wave of news coverage. But what is the media coverage saying, and how might it affect the public conversation as Sandusky's trial moves forward?
It was only a matter of time before the public would begin to assess the role of trustees in this horror story and to find them seriously lacking.
My shame is ancient, intractable. Shame that I allowed it to happen, that I gave in to the wild, confusing pleasure of sex with him. I remained terrified, frozen in the bond of it, until I wrote a book that added an honest voice to the complexity of childhood sexual abuse.
It has now been two months since scandal rolled into the Happy Valley. Much is still uncertain and yet the university, the surrounding community, and the nation as a whole remains fixated on the question of responsibility.
I think it's safe to predict that sexuality, religion, and public life will continue to dominate the headlines during 2012.
We call on Congress to finish the good work it established with the creation of the Victims of Child Abuse Act (1990) by expanding these services to all of America's children.
Some blunders are unavoidable; often they are self-inflicted. One thing's for certain: 2011 provided some stunning examples of public relations disasters.
Each one of these men has suffered severe damage to their lives and reputations without ever having been found guilty of anything. Shouldn't the punishment follow a finding of guilt -- rather than precede it?