<![CDATA[Herbert Lowe | Telling Stories One Tale At A Time - SHORT STORIES]]>Thu, 28 Jan 2016 11:58:00 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Covering the Student Cover Letter (Part II)]]>Sat, 17 Jan 2015 20:35:39 GMThttp://www.herblowe.com/short-stories/covering-the-student-cover-letter-part-ii

Attention students: Also check out "10 Reasons Your Cover Letter Sucks," by Heather Huhman at Glassdoor Blog

The most popular among of my 135 blog posts so far on this website is from 2012: "Covering the Student Cover Letter." Scores of students who have sat in my office or classroom have followed its advice. So, too, have many students from around the nation who come across it during my presentations about digital branding or by social media or even word of mouth.

#loweclass is assigned this weekend to create or update various means of telling their story. They must each present a resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile and digital portfolio, all according to my specifications and with a desired spring or summer internship in mind. (They all updated their Twitter account #twesume after the first class this week.)

My goal here is to update that prior blog post about crafting cover letters with a few more tips. Word to the wise: The fundamentals for this exercise are in the blog post referenced and hyperlinked above. This is Part II. Read Part I first. Don't get it twisted.
  1. The first paragraph should have three sentences. The third one states why you want the position. "I desire a journalism career that is rooted in athletics, but applies to society at large – and the internship would be vital in expanding my training and opportunities" or "This opportunity would help me to pursue my long-term goal of becoming an investigative journalist focusing on education." The first paragraph will thus make it clear 1) who and where you are, 2) what you want and when do you want it, and 3) why do you want it (that assumes, of course, you actually have a career in mind, and are not just doing homework.)
  2. Consistent letterhead and proper file naming. The cover letter letterhead prescribed in Part I's third paragraph should match what is atop your resume. Both documents should look like they came from the same person. Ensure they are named smartly: lastname_coverletter.pdf, lastname_resume.pdf. Remember that most recruiters typically get many applications. You want yours to be found easily if searched for electronically.
  3. Make great use of transition (or topic) sentences. Good, effective writing is a sure way to getting the position. Begin each paragraph strong and with clarity about what's coming next. Avoid using dependent clauses (especially to begin a paragraph, but also otherwise). Limit your transition sentences to one line on the page; do your best to keep all sentences in the letter from being more than two lines long. Write tightly.
  4. Remember why you need a cover letter. I once heard recruiting guru Joe Grimm tell a group of journalism students that a resume is for sharing the who, what, where and when with respect to your experience. The cover letter, he said, is for the why and how. In other words, why did you go after that amazing story? What challenges did you overcome? What did you learn from the experience? Show that you're acting and thinking like a journalist.
  5. Leave judgments to the recruiters. Avoid sentences that proclaim you as the best thing ever or don't separate you from competitors: "I believe I am the best candidate for this position because ..." or "I have always been a self-motivated student who strives to meet and exceed my goals and works well with others." Don't all college students believe in themselves or work hard? These sentences appear in letters from inexperienced applicants or those unable to better express what experience they do have.
  6. Write from the heart and with clarity and authority. Want a position for which you don't have much experience? Then demonstrate that you understand what you're getting into. Check out this cover letter paragraph from one of my former students who is seeking a marketing internship with a foundation that supports a major league sports franchise:
Having grown up with the opportunity to attend multiple Brewers game per season, once even being a season ticket holder, I understand how the organization has garnered its success. The atmosphere of Miller Park is one to be reckoned with. Baseball games bring strangers together. They bond over the team, the culture and everything else that makes them proud to be there. You don’t go to a Brewers game with just your friends. You go with every fan surrounding you. As a journalism major, I love to interact with those in the community by sharing the feel-good stories that bring people together. Now, I want to give Brewers fans the same opportunities I so graciously encountered.
Not only is it well written – I love the short sentences – it screams she gets it. Of course, her resume needs to be just as good. But it wouldn't surprise me if this paragraph alone helps her to get the interview. That's the goal, isn't it? Getting an interview? My hope is that my two blog posts on student cover letters – Part I before and Part II here – help you get yours. Good luck.
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<![CDATA[Helping Students to Shine on LinkedIn]]>Fri, 16 Jan 2015 00:04:21 GMThttp://www.herblowe.com/short-stories/helping-students-to-shine-on-linkedin
My LinkedIn profile began taking shape after I left my job at a foundation in Washington early 2009 to live with my wife in Chicago. It was shocking to learn that the top keywords back then on the social media platform and my resume seemingly had little to do with journalism.

#loweclass started creating LinkedIn profiles as assignments beginning my first semester teaching. Some students took to the task seriously; others not so much. Those among them who have landed jobs or internships along the way are likely the ones maximizing its potential. Indeed, the first time that Mrs. Lowe showed off at the Diederich College of Communication she urged my students to not only have a LinkedIn profile, but to check it every day.


Among this weekend's class assignments is creating or updating one's profile. Pleased that there's plenty of assistance online for students aiming to present themselves to the world:

My LinkedIn profile is by no means perfect. Even so, I generally do not "connect" with students or anyone else who hasn't taken the time to reasonably develop their profile. I wish more people would avoid some of those mistakes that Kim Brown of Syracuse University included in the before-mentioned PDF. My students, in particular, will not get away with typos (or AP Style concerns), inadequate photos or summaries or a LinkedIn URL that isn't unique. Here's another webpage from LinkedIn, updated last month, explaining how to customize the URL.


I look forward to reviewing my students' profiles with them soon. I'm sure they will be great.

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<![CDATA[Thankful to Have Witnessed Stuart Scott]]>Mon, 05 Jan 2015 15:53:53 GMThttp://www.herblowe.com/short-stories/thankful-to-have-witnessed-stuart-scott
ESPN legend Stuart Scott's passing yesterday reminded me of the days when we lost icons Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. No, there wasn't wall-to-wall coverage on CNN. But I couldn't even remember what I had planned to do before watching the NFL playoffs. What mattered was following the resounding outpouring for Scott on social media and elsewhere.

The network's video tribute to Scott was simply amazing. I thought of the many Sunday nights in the 1990s spent watching him on "SportsCenter" as he dispensed his distinctive catchphrases and adorned those trendy suits and ties as an anchor. I thought of greeting him at the annual National Association of Black Journalists conventions, always happy that someone of his professional stature would mingle with students as easily as he did sports superstars.

Of course, I thought of my own students at Marquette University. Forgive the over-simplification, but it often seems that most of them want to head straight from student media to write for Vanity Fair or anchor on "SportsCenter." I absolutely love and support high aspirations. But I remind them that everybody they see on ESPN likely started in the trenches of local television or as a newspaper beat reporter covering a small college team, if not, high school sports. So it was great to hear or read many times how much Scott focused on getting facts right as much as punctuating his reports with signatures such as "Boo-Yah" and "Can I get a witness?"

These days students are excited to meet ESPN personalities such as Jemele Hill, Adam Schefter, Chris Broussard, Michael Scott, etc. I remember the days of Stuart Scott, Rich Eisen, Keith Olberman, Dan Patrick, et al., on "SportsCenter," long before shows like "First Take" and "Pardon the Interruption." Back then, Scott and Robin Roberts were the noted African Americans on the network. Seeing him function so skillfully and yet also so confidently – as a black man dominating the sports broadcast landscape – meant a lot to me and so many others.


Two among the countless social media tributes yesterday particularly struck me: 1) A Facebook post from Mister Mann Frisby, a journalism educator at Temple University, recounting how Scott "saved my job and my reputation" at a NBA Finals game between the 76ers and Lakers in 2001, and 2) Jamal Andress, who tweeted about how Scott inspired him to become both a journalist and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. (Scott and I also pledged Alpha while in college.)


I remember being impressed when Scott delivered the commencement address, a few days before that same NBA Finals game, at his alma mater, the University of North Carolina. I like to have my students use well-known speeches for writing assignments. Early on, I used Jimmy Valvano's classic inspiration from the 1993 ESPY Awards. I imagine that future students may write about Scott's reflection of what it is like to live with cancer, at the same venue in July.

Here's to Stuart Scott for, yes, being as cool as the other side of the pillow.
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<![CDATA[Role Model's Email Leads to 2nd Journal Article]]>Mon, 22 Dec 2014 18:46:49 GMThttp://www.herblowe.com/short-stories/december-22nd-2014
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Happy to report here the publication of my second academic journal article, "Ferguson, Journalism, Twitter. The News Media and Social Media: Together for Better and for Worse." This article is co-authored by one of my role models, Sue Ellen Christian, and can be found in the fall 2014 issue of Zeteo: The Journal of Interdisciplinary Writing. Here is an excerpt:
Our own evaluation of the performance of traditional and social media in the Ferguson story is mixed. News consumers have had access to great reporting and predictable, tablet-thin coverage, as well as to a powerful social-media movement that has roiled the Twittersphere with posts both smart and stupid. Twitter and the news media will be intertwined for some time as the story in Ferguson and related police shootings and protests, in New York and elsewhere nationwide, continue to be broadcast via hashtags. ... What follows relates to how, in a sense, and even if unintentionally, traditional and social media worked together to report what happened in Ferguson. We will first address Twitter’s most salient contributions, then traditional media’s, and then similarities between the two.
Christian and I met at the inaugural Teachapalooza conference for journalism educators in 2011. She's a former staff reporter for the Chicago Tribune, author of "Overcoming Bias: A Journalist's Guide to Culture and Context" and an associate professor of journalism at Western Michigan University. So when Christian emailed me in August about looking together at mainstream media's coverage of the Michael Brown case, well, it was yes at hello. That Zeteo might publish our work with #Ferguson still timely and, as she also wrote, it would give educators some tools for talking about the matter in their classes all seemed worthwhile.

My key concern was fairly contributing to the collaboration given my returning that same week to teaching for the first time in a year – and in the coming weeks having to facilitate the second annual O'Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism conference, keynote a NAACP banquet in Illinois and do a presentation on digital branding at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Thankfully, Christian and the Zeteo editors were very patient and helpful. I learned a great deal through the process and hope to work with my co-author and the editors again soon.

Did I say this is my second journal article? Here's a blog post about the first one, "An Online Hoax Reminds Journalists to Do Their Duty," published in the "Journal of Mass Media Ethics" in 2012. With these academic works and my graduate school thesis now behind me, I am looking forward to my next opportunity to do something scholarly. What and when will it be?
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<![CDATA[#loweclass Project Explores MU EOP]]>Tue, 16 Dec 2014 21:11:43 GMThttp://www.herblowe.com/short-stories/loweclass-project-explores-mu-eop
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What's in this blog post is also published as the About page on a new website – "EOP Excels at Offering Avenues to College Students: A Digital Journalism Class Project About Marquette's Educational Opportunity Program" – found at loweclass-mueop.weebly.com.

The work of my journalism students this semester was first conceived when Joseph Green, Ph.D., appeared at a board meeting of the Marquette University Ethnic Alumni Association (EAA) in 2010. Green had recently become director of the university's Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and said that one of his priorities was finding ways to capture and present its legacy and activities. To my surprise, everyone around the table immediately looked to me.

As a proud Marquette and EOP graduate, I left that EAA meeting eager to help Green and others tell the program's story and those of its nearly 2,000 graduates. As a new faculty member, the possibilities for student journalists to contribute were obvious. Four years later, EOP's 45th anniversary celebration coincided nicely with my desire for a worthwhile final project for my Digital Journalism III (JOUR 2100) class.

Also known as #loweclass, my 14 students plus one joining us via an independent study readily took to the idea, as junior Natalie Ragusin shares in an introduction that includes excerpts from blog posts written after all but a couple learned that EOP existed. Several of them later attended a symposium focusing on events that caused Marquette to start EOP in 1969. Junior Henry Greening recounts the symposium using excerpts from blog posts written afterward.

Elizabeth Baker offers a story about EOP founding director Arnold Mitchem, Ph.D., considering his life's work, after the junior reviewed a DVD of my half-hour interview with him after Marquette premiered a documentary about the program during alumni reunion weekend in July. Junior Madeline Kennedy and senior Robyn St. John worked together to create a photo gallery featuring the best from among scores of images taken at EOP events during that weekend.

Teaching students to use video as journalists is one of JOUR 2100's primary goals. Sophomore Brittany Carloni and seniors Thomas Conroy and Madeline Pieschel produced a video about the tutoring service EOP provides for undergraduates. Juniors Jenna Ebbers, Estefania Ebbers and Caroline Roers offer one about the program moving its offices to elsewhere on campus. After most of the class had reviewed unused footage from the before-mentioned documentary, Baker, Greening and Ragusin teamed with juniors DeWayne Gage and Teran Powell to present personal reflections from six people linked to EOP.

This final project also includes interactive storytelling and basic data visualization. Sophomore Devi Shastri and Junior Roque Redondo (with copyediting by Baker) developed a timeline that reviews EOP's history and efforts in Milwaukee and nationally to provide better higher education opportunities for students of color. Several of the students also joined to create illustrations based on program-related data provided by EOP officials and discovered using other sources.

#loweclass considered lots of options for sharing all of this work. We hope it will soon find its way onto Marquette's website alongside existing content showcasing EOP. For now, my thanks to Kennedy and Pieschel for coming into my office on a Sunday afternoon to help me fashion this site a day before Greene and others examined it during our final exam period.

"It's incredibly impressive," EOP Administrative Coordinator Claire Dinkelman, our main contact for both securing data and access to her colleagues, told the class. "It's so comprehensive. It's not just a film. It's all these other little pieces together."

University Archivist Michelle Sweetser, who worked with Shastri to locate material for the timeline, brought along others from Raynor Memorial Libraries for the unveiling. “It’s really great to see the work that you have put together," she said, adding "you have created a new entry, basically, in the scholarly world ... about the EOP program. You’ve created this great resource."

Green also congratulated #loweclass for its efforts. "This is fabulous. I want to thank you all ... for this work – and I really believe (that) this is going to be really impactful nationwide in terms of capturing what we do in TRIO (the set of federally funded college opportunity programs begun during President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty in the 1960s)." 

The director added: "I can envision this being (available to) people like myself who are interested in TRIO, or people who are just interested in working with first-generation, low-income, underrepresented students. They will hear this story in a way in which you all have laid it out. So I can imagine years from now this will continue to go on and inform people. So you should be really proud of this work ... because I can see how it will really help move not just EOP and Marquette forward, but just this kind of movement forward – the TRIO movement forward – the way in which you captured this.”

My sentiments would echo what Green, Sweetser and Dinkelman said. So let me end with a new #loweclass signature from this semester: #soproud.
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<![CDATA[Student Has Two Reasons to be "So Proud"]]>Wed, 10 Dec 2014 01:28:45 GMThttp://www.herblowe.com/short-stories/student-has-two-reasons-to-be-so-proud
This semester in Digital Journalism III (JOUR 2100) began in August with efforts to persuade my 14 students to focus on grammar, spelling, punctuation and the Associated Press Stylebook. After a few AP Style quizzes that once again failed to earn me any favor, #loweclass found itself poised for a second chance at greatness on the term's penultimate day: Answering at least 40 questions correctly out of the possible 50, the same opportunity afforded the first week of class.

Well, I can report that despite her predecessors all having two attempts each during semesters past, on Dec. 1 a third student joined #loweclass legends Alec Brooks and Rob Gebelhoff as the only ones to earn 80 percent or better on the massive quiz. Congratulations, Elizabeth Baker. After appreciative and admiring applause and congratulatory tweets from her classmates, she had only two words when asked for a reaction: "So proud."

Gebelhoff (88 percent) and Brooks (84 percent) outscored Baker on the quiz. However, she has the distinction of also joining other #loweclass legends Caroline Campbell, Erin Caughey, Victor Jacobo and Kaitlyn Farmer as an AP Style Bowl winner. While my questions weren't the best – note to self: create a set of questions updated for the 2014 stylebook – the double-elimination competition took longer than expected as the class was on its game.


I am looking forward to renewing these #loweclass traditions with the 17 students registered for JOUR 2100 next term. Let it also be said that two misguided souls from the Marquette University Office of Marketing and Communications have illusions, ah, intentions of either her passing the grammar, spelling and punctuation quiz or his class beating my students in a competition. As stated before: 1) how cute and 2) I really don't think they're ready.
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<![CDATA[Thankful for NAACP Keynote Opportunity]]>Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:03:26 GMThttp://www.herblowe.com/short-stories/thankful-for-naacp-keynote-opportunity
I want to talk to you! That's how Cynthia (Lockhart) Springfield, a fellow alum, urgently greeted me during the 45th anniversary Educational Opportunity Program reunion dinner at Marquette University in July. My first reaction: What did I do wrong now? Turns out those words led to unquestionably one of my favorite evenings ever.

Springfield introduced me Friday as keynote speaker to nearly 200 people at the 48th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet hosted by the Lake County (Illinois) branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The theme of the event held at the Gurnee Holiday Inn: "For Future Generations to Come, Leave No Child Behind."

What did I know about Lake County before this night? Driving through it along I-94, past the Six Flags amusement park, between Chicago and Milwaukee too many times while my wife, Mira, and I lived in the Windy City; and golfing with my fraternity brother, Robert Simpson, near his home there. I, of course, know plenty about the NAACP, having covered many a meeting, protest or lawsuit involving its fight for justice and equality during my journalism career.

Talking for 30 minutes about leaving no child behind to so many people concerned about young people – including many elected officials and candidates seeking office on Nov. 4 – seemed no easy task. No grand new ideas for a federal or community program came to mind. Speaking as an educator, though, I felt comfortable asking the audience to consider 1) who outside one's family made a difference for each of us growing up, 2) why we must be present and with presence when it comes to someone young and 3) why ambitions matter more than limitations.

One-on-one "life meetings" with students in my office at Marquette served as a key thrust of my remarks. Heartwarming stories shared by students in my current digital journalism class at a moment's notice last week, about the respective people who made sure they were not left behind, did as well. It's a source of pride that three of the MU students who have met with me for career advice joined a university delegation at the banquet. This Facebook post by Simpson later that night, referring to his admirably dressed 11-year-old son, also left me beaming:

I loved that Mira got to sit on the dais with me between branch President Jennifer Witherspoon and Lake County Board Member Mary Ross Cunningham. They and everyone else were incredibly gracious to us the entire evening. We wish them all much success in the future as they strive to see that no child is left behind. Thanks, Cynthia!
I won twice tonight. Had my little sidekick with me, Christian, who got a lesson on the significance of the NAACP in my life and on display my Marquette family. Herbert Lowe classily represented as the keynote at the NAACP's 48th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet in Gurnee. Cynthia Lockhart Springfield, another alum, was front and center ensuring the event was a success. My son can add another enriching experience in his young life.
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<![CDATA[Sharing My 9/11 With #loweclass]]>Fri, 12 Sep 2014 01:02:17 GMThttp://www.herblowe.com/short-stories/sharing-my-911-with-loweclass
I have enjoyed seeing my journalism students engage this week with the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. I posted this in the #loweclass group on Facebook on Sept. 4:
This email came this summer from Dr. Karen Slattery: "I am wondering if you would be available to speak to both sections of my DJ 1500 classes on Monday, Sept. 8. That day, we will be talking about interviewing victims of trauma. It occurred to me that your work on 9/11 would be right on topic and would give the students the chance to hear about what it was like to be part of that tragic event from the perspective of a journalist."

I could not say no to my faculty colleague. So since JOUR 2100 meets the same time as her morning class, we will meet together. Both classes are expected to read my "9/11 Chronicle" in advance of the session and pepper me with good questions about my experience. Check out the accompanying links that are still active, too. Your interviewing skills will be tested. So will your reporting skills. That means you should do other research on your own about journalists covering tragedy and mayhem.

This joint session should last about an hour. ‪#‎loweclass‬ will then write a related blog post during the second part of our class -- with a full-fledged profile assignment to follow for Wednesday's class. So you will need quotes and a sense of the room, etc. Again, interviewing and reporting. There should not be questions like, "What newspaper were you working for on 9/11?" Don't let JOUR 1550 show up JOUR 2100. Please.

Make no mistake, both classes – nearly 30 students total – asked great questions as I sat before them for about an hour Monday in Johnston Hall, home of the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University. Students entering colleges and universities as freshmen this year were in kindergarten in 2001. These ones firing questions at me as if it were a news conference were in elementary school. They all can either remember what they were doing that morning or how people around them acted. One was living in Manhattan.

Slattery's class all had digital recorders in front of me as I spoke. Their assignment afterward included creating a news report suitable for radio or the Web. She had me do the same exercise for her afternoon class. Thankfully, it asked some different questions, so that hour of time was equally enjoyable. It also helped that Marjorie Valbrun, another journalist spending the year at Marquette as an O'Brien Fellow, chimed in with her experiences as a journalist on 9/11.

My students returned to our classroom after the morning session, had a quick newsroom meeting about what had just transpired – and then had 25 minutes to write a blog post offering their immediate perspective (for online). They then had 48 hours to write a news profile about the guest speaker and his 9/11 experience (for the next day's paper).

Is it weird having your students write about you? Yes. But I learned a lot about each one of them via their blog posts. As I look forward to reading their profiles this weekend, I am happy to report that they also used my and their 9/11 experiences to create Storifys, thus learning how to curate social media. They did so within a day. No sense waiting until Monday to write about something that everyone is focusing on today, I told them. Eager to read those, too. Many thanks to my colleague for enabling me to share the most momentous day of my career with our students.

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<![CDATA[#loweclass Seeks Grammar Glory]]>Wed, 27 Aug 2014 23:28:46 GMThttp://www.herblowe.com/short-stories/loweclass-seeks-for-grammar-glory
"It's so easy not to pay attention to grammar sometimes and we all do it, even if we like to think otherwise. After all, we are only human," Kia Garriques writes in a blog post, "How to Start the New Year: Get Serious About Grammar!"

With a new semester beginning this week at Marquette University, and me once again teaching Digital Journalism III (JOUR 2100) in the Diederich College of Communication, I want my 14 students to focus on grammar all the time. Hence my Facebook message last night:

‪#‎loweclass‬ rite of passage will happen tomorrow morning. The much-appreciated, nowhere-else duplicated, 50-question grammar, spelling and punctuation quiz is locked and loaded in D2L. It is set to begin at 10 and end at 10:25. As stated Monday, 50 extra-credit points to each student who answers at least 40 questions correctly. Only two students -- Alec Brooks and Rob Gebelhoff -- have earned such glory in five prior semesters.
The post earned three dozen Facebook "likes" and engendered boldness among my friends and family, not to mention well wishes and thoughts of cats from former students of #loweclass – which, by the way, is the Twitter hashtag to follow what my students are doing. A cousin asked why 25 minutes for 50 questions? One doesn't need more than two minutes per grammar question. Three people asked to take the quiz. How cute. I really don't think they are ready.

Several of the questions relate to what's in the Associated Press Stylebook, the "journalist's bible" in newsrooms across America. I insist that my students know AP Style because it helps to teach how to write with clarity, consistency, accuracy and authority. There will be more AP Style quizzes soon as well as the ever popular "AP Style Bowl" that's designed to make it fun to learn.

So, how did the class do with today's quiz? Regretfully, no one scored the requisite 80 for the 50 extra-credit points. Two students were two correct answers shy of the magic number, with both earning a 72. As in past semesters, I will give the quiz -- and another chance at the extra credit -- again near the term's end. Hopefully, then someone else will earn grammar glory.
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<![CDATA[Though No Expert, OK with SI & James]]>Tue, 22 Jul 2014 20:59:10 GMThttp://www.herblowe.com/short-stories/though-no-expert-ok-with-si-james
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A screenshot from the Cleveland.com webpage focusing on the coverage of SI's reporting James' decision.
"Sports Illustrated broke the biggest sports news of the summer July 11 when it posted a 950-word piece by LeBron James as told to Lee Jenkins, announcing James' decision to leave the Miami Heat and return to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers," Bob Wolfley begins a recent column, "Sports Illustrated Catches Flak for LeBron James Piece, for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Wolfley asks "four experts in the field of journalism if what Sports Illustrated did here with the James story was good journalism." Yours truly is among his sources, though no one should consider me an expert. Here's an excerpt from the column:
"I absolutely want to use this article in a way to teach my journalism students how it is you can develop sources, why it's important to develop sources, why it's important to develop trust, not only with your sources but with your editors," Lowe said.

Lowe was unequivocal in his praise for the manner in which SI and Jenkins handled James' news: "Journalism is telling stories about people who matter to lots of people and providing an audience with news that is compelling and factual. This is all of that in abundance."

Wolfley noted in an earlier version that I also said no one questioned SI allowing a first-person approach when NBA player Jason Collins revealed he is gay last year; Collins bylined that essay whereas Jenkins interviewed James and then crafted it as James telling it to him. Wolfley also wrote in his earlier version that I had once used the same approach as a young reporter.

I was working at The Virginian-Pilot in the early '90s and profiling a commonwealth's attorney becoming a judge. Upon seeing that I had written it in the form of a letter from the very public official to his absent father, my editor made me call the attorney and read it to him word for word. The attorney stopped me after a few paragraphs. He said he trusted me. He would be fine reading it the next day in the newspaper at the same time that everyone else did.

Not all my colleagues at the time supported the first-person approach. Certainly, not everyone else agrees with SI's decision to essentially allow James the chance to tell his own story -- and very much so better than the basketball great did with "The Decision" on ESPN fours years ago.  The other three "experts" cited in Wolfley's column are definitely not unequivocal with praise for SI's decision making, so much so I seem like a cheerleader by comparison. Be that as it may, here's more good reading on the matter from Sports Illustrated itself as well as The Wall Street Journal, Advertising Age, Deadspin and The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. As I told Wolfley, this will all make for great classroom discussion and teachable moments for me and my students.
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