Lowe started off my explaining how CNN creates its homepage. She discussed how the homepage is like the door to the house. It brings in the readers and shows them where everything else is. Lowe discussed which stories were the leads and which were in the center and why each story was there. On the homepage that day, the lead story was a piece on North Korea, which Lowe explained to be there because of its national relevance. Lower down on the page there was a story about traveling to Myanmar, which was there because it was a lighter piece that people would click on later in the day.
Next, Lowe discussed the five pages she manages (Entertainment, Technology, Health, Travel and Living). She went to each page and briefly discussed our media critiques from Monday, stating each feedback was good and had valid points. It was great to hear that something I wrote was read and approved by an editor of CNN.
Lowe also talked about what her actual job was like. Every day she has meetings at 8 a.m., 9 a.m. and then around 2 p.m. Each meeting has a different purpose. For example, her 8 a.m. meeting is between her respective desks, while the 9 a.m. meeting is with her boss. her 2 p.m. meeting is with her desks to see how their progress was during the day. Being the manager of five different channels, Lowe is in charge of making sure each channel has stories coming out throughout the day. She said because things can be uploaded immediately, writers have deadlines based on stories, not a specific time. This allows for stories to be submitted throughout the day and not bombard readers with a lot of stories all at once.
Towards the end of the class, Lowe showed a CNN she was very proud of. The story was "The gift of Charles," a piece that had video, text and photos. This story was the story that sold her on accepting the job at CNN. Lowe said the story sold her because it was a different style of news than what she had seen in other publications, and it was where the online media was heading. Even though it was a long video, Lowe said if a story is compelling, then people will watch it, no matter how long it is. That really stuck out with me because I normally have to leave a lot of good audio or video on the cutting floor, and I feel like the viewers are losing out with those pieces not in the story. I would love to include them in the story, but time restraints limit me. But if it's a great story, then people will read it, which is the whole point of a story in the first place.
The advice that Lowe gave the class that was the most important was advice on internships, in my opinion. Being a CNN editor, she receives a multitude of applications for internships. She said that the ones that stand out the most are ones where she can see the person's passion in their cover letter and application. Lowe said that passions is extremely important because she wants someone who wants to be at their job and one who is going to have a good time doing it. If you're not passionate about what you do, then why are you in the field of journalism? This was another thing that stood out in my mind because I am sending out applications for internships and I know I have a passion for what I am doing. it's just about getting the chance to show my employers that passion.
Having Mira Lowe visit class was a great experience. Marquette University does a great job of bringing accomplished speakers to campus, and Lowe is no exception. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would welcome a return from her.