Herbert Lowe, professional in residence, to help guide fellowship program
Journalism professional in residence Herbert Lowe will take on the added role of director of journalism for social change at the J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University, Dr. Lori Bergen, dean of the college, announced today.
A journalism faculty member at Marquette since January 2010, Lowe will help extend the university’s efforts to support and promote solutions journalism, which advocates describe as reporting that investigates responses to and provides valuable insights about social issues, Bergen said.
Lowe, who has taught digital journalism and related courses, will also provide administrative and curricular support for The Perry and Alicia O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism, Bergen said. A Minneapolis couple, Peter and Patricia Frechette, made the fellowship possible by donating $8.3 million this year to the college in honor of Patricia’s parents, both of whom graduated from the university.
The fellowship will allow three accomplished journalists to reside within the Diederich College each academic year. The inaugural class of fellows includes Hal Bernton of The Seattle Times, Dan Egan of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Lillian Thomas of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. They will begin their fellowships on Aug. 19 – with each researching and producing an in-depth public service journalism project on campus and working with Marquette students, giving them first-hand journalism experience.
“Herb brings tremendous passion and enthusiasm into the classroom and is a visionary leader who will push our students to new levels of academic excellence,” Bergen said. “He combines more than two decades of reporting experience with an innovative approach to new media and the evolving world of journalism.”
Lowe is a past president of the National Association of Black Journalists and a former communications director at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. His 22-year reporting career includes stints at The Philadelphia Inquirer and Newsday. He graduated with a B.A. in journalism from the Diederich College in 1984 and expects to earn his M.A. degree in communication from there this year. The Marquette University Alumni Association honored him with its Communicator of the Year award in 2009.
“I enjoy helping our students pursue their dreams of becoming journalists – and it will be very satisfying to help them work with and learn beside the distinguished veterans we have coming in as fellows,” Lowe said. “I welcome this new opportunity to help Marquette push journalism to a higher and better place.”
Bergen said the fellows plan to spend their time at Marquette focusing on important national and international concerns. Bernton, a reporter, will delve into the politics, economics and science of energy; Egan, also a reporter, will explore the biology, science and logistics of preserving freshwater systems; and Thomas, an assistant managing editor for projects, will examine nonprofit health care, Bergen said.
Lowe said the Diederich College aims to have at least one graduate student and one undergraduate student working with each of the fellows per semester; their activities will range from interviewing sources to shooting and editing audio and video to data mining and other reportorial tasks. In addition, the fellows will collaborate with faculty and others across campus with expertise in their chosen topic areas, he said.