Live from Ferguson: OU Alum Wes Lowery talks to SPJ, J1010

Live from his car via Skype, Washington Post reporter Wes Lowery spoke to students on November 25th about his exhaustive work in Ferguson since late August.

The decision to not indict Darren Wilson had come just the night before, and Lowery was running on two hours of sleep after reporting on the riots in Ferguson and poring over the documents released from the grand jury investigation.

Lowery, an Ohio University alumnus and former Editor-in-Chief of OU’s student-run newspaper The Post, discussed what he had been working on over the course of his time in Missouri and answered many student questions about everything from social media usage to his experiences as a student at OU.

The media situation in Ferguson seems to vary by what type of news outlet you are working for, Lowery explained. He believes it is easier to be a print journalist in a place like that instead of someone with lots of video equipment, such as the CNN reporter who had things thrown at her while on air. The conversation also covered how he expected the situation to change as time went on.

 “This is what Ferguson is going to be known for,” said Lowery. “Expect continued coverage for quite some time. That being said, when the holidays get closer, you can expect a lot of reporters to hop on planes home and not come back.”

Just before the discussion ended due to some technical difficulties, Lowery touched on how bias can appear in reporting. He said that his bias was towards truth because it’s important to hold public officials accountable for their actions. He also mentioned how it can be important to step back and keep in mind that your experiences in life can color your interactions.

“Wes is such an outstanding example of what a young journalist can do to make a very big impact, simply by being on a front line story and doing your job,” said Robert Stewart, Director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. 

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