All 12 chairs in #Loweclass were full a few minutes earlier than usual on Monday in anticipation of our guest. After reading about her past two visits to Marquette and hearing Professor Lowe brag on his wife, we were pumped to meet Mira Lowe for ourselves.
Mira Lowe is the senior editor for features at CNN Digital. She took time out her hectic schedule to give us some insider tips. Her bright sweater and gentle but authoritative voice commanded my attention, but the stark portraits she projected on the screen to begin her presentation sucked me in.
The captivating faces were part of a digital journalism package that Mira Lowe showed us called The Loneliest Club. She used this project to teach several important concepts.
Covering an event well requires thinking ahead.
The most important question that Mira Lowe encouraged us to think about before covering an event is, "How do I want this to look?" She recommended identifying who will be there and interviewing people before the event, utilizing photos and videos to make the story feel personal and intimate in a way that could not be found anywhere else.
CNN has a voice.
Mira Lowe described CNN's approach to digital journalism as telling "personal stories that connect people to issues." This resonated with me because it is the essence of why I love journalism. She reminded us that people feel connected to other people, and when they feel connected to someone's story, they can feel more engaged in the issue the piece addresses. I loved hearing that a major news outlet still strives for the purest form of journalism, giving voices to those who would otherwise be unheard and bringing important issues to the public's attention. The Loneliest Club allowed people who have been affected by gun violence to tell their own stories, which is another key aspect of CNN's voice and goal of remaining objective.
"Let people tell their stories, and there's no politics in that," Mira Lowe said.
Taking on big stories can seem overwhelming, but Mira Lowe said telling individual stories is a way to start small. She said the project can grow to include more in-depth, data-based coverage.
With a new age comes a new standard of storytelling.
With The Loneliest Club, Mira Lowe was able to showcase the multimedia dimension of good digital journalism. She said that her team aims to make each piece engaging through the use of video, photos and compelling graphics. She demonstrated how portraits, pull quotes and short vignettes were an effective means of engaging the audience in the example story. Mira Lowe emphasized that the prominence of mobile news should always be on our minds, and that we should be actively using social media to increase the reach of our work.
"Take ownership of the pathway of your work, and make sure people can see it," she said.
I am a senior studying journalism and international affairs at Marquette University. I am a Milwaukee-dweller and a storyteller passionate about exploring the intersection between community-building and communication. I'd love for you to learn alongside me!