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H. G. Buzz Bissinger
series: Drexel Interview
air date: 2/28/13 11:00 AM
Journalist H. G. "Buzz" Bissinger is the author of the bestseller Friday Night Lights, the inspiration for the popular television series; the highly acclaimed A Prayer for the City, an exploration of Ed Rendell's tenure as mayor of Philadelphia; and other books. A regular contributor to Vanity Fair, the New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated, The Daily Beast, and other publications, Bissinger was formerly a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer. While there, he received the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for his investigative series on corruption in the Philadelphia court system. Bissinger talks about his entry into journalism during the Watergate scandal, an event that ushered many talented writers into investigative journalism. He also talks about the writing of Friday Night Lights, which opened his eyes to the abuses of the American sports culture. In discussing football, Bissinger comments on the 2011 scandal at Penn State, where the school's drive to protect its own through a code of silence eventually brought down famed head football coach Joe Paterno and the University president. Bissinger marvels at the intelligence and dedication of former Philadelphia mayor and governor Ed Rendell but does not shy away from discussing Rendell's flaws, including his famous temper. Bissinger also praises David L. Cohen, Mayor Rendell's chief of staff and a former Drexel InterView guest. This immensely entertaining and probing episode concludes with Bissinger's comments on his newest book, Father's Day, a touching account of his son Zach, who, though developmentally disabled, has a character and world view that his father deeply admires.
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