Ohio State Lantern Editor Threatened Over Story Helping Seal Tressel’s Fate

Lantern editor in chief Zack Meisel has found himself squarely in the muck of the ever-deepening Ohio State University football mire.

As any sports fan who’s ever touched a dead pig’s skin is now aware, Jim Tressel, “The Senator,” has resigned as coach of the Buckeyes.  His famed sweater vests are already on clearance racks.  Many Buckeyes fans are in mourning– and some are blaming Meisel and the Lantern for playing a small part in his undoing.

As ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski reported today (hat tip to Romenesko), Meisel has received death threats and get-out-of-town-fast criticism due to an exclusive Lantern report last week that added a cherry atop the scandalous sundae slowly being built against Tressel in recent months.  The piece contained an interview with former OSU wide receiver Ray Small “that instantly made national news and further confirmed that Tressel and Ohio State had lost control of the football program.”

As Wojciechowski wrote, “Small told Meisel and staff writer James Oldham that while playing for OSU, he sold a pair of Big Ten championship rings and assorted Buckeyes memorabilia for cash, received special players-only discounts on cars and that ‘everyone was doing it.’  This is what the NCAA calls an ‘improper benefit.’  Small later accused Meisel and Oldham of twisting his words, but too late– the Lantern had the audio tapes of the interview and made them available online. Small didn’t have a denial to stand on.”

After the story’s publication and pick-up by media powerhouses such as ESPN, the most egregious reader threat indicated Meisel and the Small report’s co-writer, James Oldham, “were the most likely candidates to be found dead in the nearby Olentangy River.”  Yikes.  Fortunately, both are A-OK at present, and Meisel has also received random compliments about the Lantern‘s stellar reporting.

Ultimately, Meisel sees the saga as one last collegiate learning experience.  He is set to graduate in less than two weeks.  His words: “I’ve learned more about journalism and the way the media works in the last 72 hours than I did probably in my first 21 years of living.  It’s been a whirlwind.”

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  1. […] even more upsetting than Tressel’s retirement is the threats that the editor of The Lantern and the reporter who co-wrote the Ray Small article have been receiving. One threat came […]

  2. […] Chronicle editor said it could be “tense” but that’s it.  The Lantern editor currently being threatened at Ohio State is taking it in stride and laughing it off, at least publicly.  And all other […]