Daily Kent Stater Report on Potential Donor’s Financially Shady Past Earns National Buzz

Doug Brown, the enterprise reporter for The Daily Kent Stater at Kent State University, is the most famous student journalist so far in 2012.  He recently reported on the past legal troubles of alumnus Jason Cope, who was preparing to donate $1 million to the KSU athletics program and have the school’s basketball court named after him.  A bit more than a decade ago, as branch manager of a financial firm, Cope had been part of a scheme that defrauded investors out of close to $9 million.

Brown’s digging into this criminal activity prompted Cope to suddenly renege on the donation and of course led to questions about the school’s decision to accept money from someone indicted on such nefarious charges.  As a DSK editorial contends, “We’re wondering why Kent State would knowingly accept money from someone with a disconcerting financial background.  At first glance, it makes us question the athletic department’s ethical standards. Sure, the university can accept the money, but should it? It doesn’t quite seem right.”

In recent days, the story has gone B-list viral.  Brown has been deservedly lauded by Romenesko, the SPLC, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Ohio outlets including The Akron Beacon Journal and The Cleveland Plain Dealer for a job well done.

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