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Russell Frank

A collection of Russell Frank's columns from the past 20 years, titled “Among the Woo People: A Survival Guide for Living in a College Town," was published this fall by the Penn State University Press. His columns for Statecollege.com won first place in the Commentary-Non Daily category of the Society of Professional Journalists Keystone Chapter 2017 Spotlight contest. Frank is a member of the journalism faculty at Penn State. Before launching his academic career, he worked as a reporter, editor and columnist at newspapers in California and Pennsylvania for 13 years. He is, by academic training, a folklorist (Ph.D., UPenn), which means, when you strip away the academic jargon, that he loves a good story. His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.

Articles by Russell Frank

Quick, Where’s the Anti-Trump Gel?
Column
Quick, Where’s the Anti-Trump Gel?
92 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
I surprised even myself this morning by googling the words 'Donald Trump antibacterial gel.' I had not intended to write about Trump today. In fact, one of my closest confidants had specifically advised me not to write about Trump or Sandusky. [Read More]
With Paterno Allegations, Reporting Has Merit
Column
With Paterno Allegations, Reporting Has Merit
93 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
It sounds reasonable to say that journalists should only report what they know, for certain, to be true. No evidence means no proof means no truth means no story. But that is not the standard that journalism uses, nor could it be. [Read More]
Making the Grades
Column
Making the Grades
94 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
If I were king of the forest I would streamline Penn State’s grading system thus: Good, Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory. That’s it. Three grades. I’d certainly scrap those hairsplitting pluses and minuses. [Read More]
Water You Waiting For?
Column
Water You Waiting For?
95 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
The first time I went to Ricketts Glen State Park, I wondered what took me so long. Why hadn’t I heard of it sooner? Why wasn’t it world famous? The park is a waterfall freak’s paradise. It has 22 of them and you can see them all on one 7.2-mile trail loop. [Read More]
This May Be the End for Bernie, But Not for His Message
Column
This May Be the End for Bernie, But Not for His Message
96 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
I almost skipped the Bernie Sanders Show in Rec Hall this week. Candidates are notoriously late arrivers and I didn’t relish waiting hours just to hear my fellow Brooklynite tell me the rich are getting richa and the poor are getting poora. I’m glad I went. [Read More]
Meanie Saves Baby Squirrel, Ruins Reputation
Column
Meanie Saves Baby Squirrel, Ruins Reputation
96 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
Hey, I reasoned, it’s a crow-eat-varmint world. Survival of the fittest. Let nature takes its course. Next morning, though, I saw that the varmint was still alive and looking none too bright-eyed or bushy-tailed. Forget evolutionary biology, the food chain, the law of talon and beak. This was a jo [Read More]
A Mother Dies Without Seeing Her Son Go Free
Column
A Mother Dies Without Seeing Her Son Go Free
97 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
Nalini Vedam died on Saturday, still holding on to the hope that her son -- sentenced to life in prison 30 years ago for a murder he maintains he did not commit -- would some day be exonerated. [Read More]
In A Way, We Are All Bergdahl
Column
In A Way, We Are All Bergdahl
98 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
Like the war in Afghanistan itself, the case of Bowe Bergdahl has been a mess from the start, writes Russell Frank. [Read More]
Beware of ER Nurses Bearing Tales
Column
Beware of ER Nurses Bearing Tales
99 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
As a folklorist, Russell Frank is sometimes in the unenjoyable position of telling friends their great "true" stories are works of fiction that have often been making the rounds for years. [Read More]
In the Spring, an Old Man’s Fancy Turns Lightly to Thoughts of Dust Bunnies
Column
In the Spring, an Old Man’s Fancy Turns Lightly to Thoughts of Dust Bunnies
100 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
My household celebrated the arrival of spring in depressingly middle-aged fashion. Instead of dancing with the daffodils, we waltzed with the vacuum cleaner and shimmied with the sponge mop. [Read More]
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