Mira Lowe | Mentor

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MIJE Staff
April 9, 2014

Mira Lowe

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Mira Lowe is the Senior Editor for Features at CNN Digital, overseeing the entertainment, health, lifestyle, travel and special tech coverage on CNN.com and mobile. She is responsible for key editorial initiatives, partnerships and multiplatform opportunities while managing a team of nearly 20. She focuses on how to best tell stories and engage audiences using text, photos, video, interactives, tools and social media. Prior to joining the Turner Broadcasting Co. in Atlanta in 2012, Mira was the editor-in-chief of JET magazine in Chicago, where she became the first woman to helm the No. 1 African-American newsweekly. Her print experience also extends to newspapers, including Newsday, where she has worked as an editor and recruiter. An experienced journalist who loves new and old media, Mira is passionate about issues of leadership and personal branding, diversity and journalism education. She's taught journalism at Columbia University, her alma mater, York College, Loyola University, Northwestern University and Marquette University as well as lectured on diversity and recruitment issues at various colleges and conferences. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), the Online News Association (ONA) and Journalism & Women Symposium (JAWS). A Brooklyn, N.Y., native, Mira graduated from Brooklyn College with a bachelor’s degree in television and radio, and from Columbia with a master’s in journalism. Mira is co-author of "Heart and Soul: A Marriage of Love, Faith and Journalism" monograph, published in 2007 by the World Journalism Institute, and an essayist for "Black Women Redefined" (paperback edition, 2012). Follow her on Twitter @miralowe or on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/miralowe/

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Mira Lowe Q & A

Q: What are two important skills a journalist should have?

A: Let's start with accuracy.

Being accurate is essential to credibility. From misspellings to misquotes to misunderstandings, errors erode the integrity of our efforts and the confidence of our audience. Is your work factual? Reliable? Trustworthy? Fair? Did you take the time to verify information? Are your attributions correct? Is your grammar flawless? Your reputation as a journalist suffers if folks don’t think you can get things right. There's a saying, "Don't sweat the small stuff."  Well, as a journalist you should.

The other skill that is important, especially in this age of digital journalism, is creativity. Look for ways to stand out in your reporting and writing. Come up with enterprising ideas. Be resourceful in newsgathering. Develop unique story-telling angles and approaches. Consider how is your story going to play on multiple platforms?

Q: What is the key to working well with your boss?

A: Maintain a positive relationship and communicate with him or her regularly about the work that is being done. No boss wants to be blindsided by issues or problems, so keep her or him in the loop about things. Understand your boss’ needs and how you can support those needs. Bring value by generating good ideas, executing excellent work, improving processes and representing well professionally. Be a problem solver, not a complainer. And don't forget your boss is human, too. Try building a relationship that goes beyond the work.

Q: If you could have a do-over in your career, what would that be?

A: I wished I had actively pursued mentors early on in my career. As a budding journalist I wasn’t quite sure how to do that. Today, people in our field are more accessible. Technology and social media make it easier to connect. Mentors and sponsors are important to professional growth development and advancement. Being able to tap into someone else’s experience and get advice or critical feedback are valuable in building a career over time. Mentors can help you identify your strengths, shore up your weak spots and open doors to new opportunities.

Q: What is the most important issue facing journalism today? 

A: Diversity and inclusion in journalism still matter, despite the employment trends we are seeing in newsrooms around the country. The latest industry reports, including ASNE, tell us that the numbers of journalists of color and women in traditional news operations are stagnant as companies continue to shed jobs. Even more disappointing, is the declining number of women journalists of color in newsrooms. Add to all of this, the lackluster tally of women and journalists of color leading in digital. What can be done to turn these tides around? Proactively cultivate the next generation of diverse journalists, and willfully retain and promote them in the workplace. As a matter of routine, not exception, journalists also should incorporate diverse sources in stories for print, online and on-air. A lack of varying viewpoints and experiences in coverage renders our journalism incomplete and, for some, irrelevant.ne.

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