Herbert Lowe


Herbert Lowe is a professional-in-residence in the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University. The Camden, N.J., native enjoyed a 22-year reporting career at several newspapers, including The Philadelphia Inquirer and Newsday, and is a past president of the National Association of Black Journalists. He served as senior writer/editor for the U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, helping to produce its final report to Congress, and as communications director at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation during the 2008 presidential campaign.


How to write a Twitter bio that’ll make you stand out as a journalist

It’s well documented that Twitter helps journalists do their work better. I have shared, for example, how journalism educators can teach students to live tweet campus events. Too bad, though, that some current and aspiring journalists waste another great Twitter opportunity: taking advantage of their twesume.

A twesume is the 160 characters (maximum) that make up one’s Twitter bio.

I first heard the term from social media guru Sree Sreenivasan (@sree) at The Poynter Institute’s Teachapalooza conference for journalism educators in June. “Fill out your Twitter bio so it reflects the best, most recent version of you,” Sreenivasan, Columbia University’s new chief digital officer, told us during his presentation. Sadly, too many journalists and students have bios that don’t come close to distinguishing themselves. Read more

Bird words

How journalism educators can teach students to live-tweet campus events

Live tweeting is now a standard tool many journalists and news agencies use for breaking news. The Supreme Court’s healthcare ruling and the Freeh report on the Penn State scandal are recent examples in which Twitter was the first source of news, minute by minute.

My journalism students in the Diederich College of Communication regularly live tweet campus events at Marquette University in Milwaukee. The events have ranged from a presidential inauguration to guest lectures to NCAA basketball games. Each assignment includes a Storify component, that is, a mandate to curate related social media.

The students take to the task easy enough. They recognize it helps them focus on their writing; extend their journalism near and far; capture moments not normally found in news articles; and inform and engage alumni, students and others unable to attend the events. Read more


Provost: ‘Real journalism goes on in journalism classes’

As journalist in residence and a graduate student in the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University in Milwaukee, I seek chances to match coursework with reporting and academic pursuits. This week’s assignment in my Humanistic Theories and Methods of Media Studies grad class required me to conduct a semi-structured interview – in which a list of questions must be asked and answered in order – before follow-up quizzing may occur.

An hour before class last week, Poynter.org agreed that I should write about journalism educators dealing with students missing classes to cover March Madness. My reporting led me to an ideal person for the course assignment: Marquette Provost John J. Pauly, Ph.D.

Pauly is a distinguished academic who served as the Diederich College’s dean for two years prior to becoming provost in 2008. Read more


What’s a journalism professor to do when his students miss class to cover March Madness?

This is a story about a journalism instructor dealing with journalism students missing journalism classes so that they can do journalism. Two undergraduates skipped my classes in Milwaukee — as well as those of their other professors — so they could report on Marquette University men’s basketball games at major postseason tournaments.

March Madness is a balancing act every year for college instructors and students nationwide. It’s a given that student athletes, cheerleaders, team managers, pep band members, etc., will miss classes as their schools make magical runs, hopefully, to the Final Four. University administrators ask faculty to be understanding and accommodating regarding make-up work.

What about student media, though? The NCAA sponsors commercials seeking to remind us that almost all of its 400,000 student athletes will go pro in something other than sports. Read more


New Pew study confirms digital divide in mobile news interest

Someone once joked that my wife and I, then still both working for Newsday, were bridging the digital divide all by ourselves. Between the two of us, we own an iMac, two MacBook Pros, an iPad and two iPhones.

As black journalists with relationships forged in newsrooms and media organizations, most of our friends and associates, like us, are news junkies – and use mobile devices to stay informed, connected and productive.

But a report released this week by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, “How Americans Use Their Cell Phones,” suggests that most African Americans don’t use their cell phones for similar reasons.

Yes, the study says, blacks and Latinos have higher usage rates, compared with white owners, across a wide range of mobile applications. Read more