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Sylvester Monroe, Ebony senior editor
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Mira Lowe, Johnson Publishing Co. assistant managing editor
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Ebony Editors to Speak About Minority Media Feb. 18

February 16, 2009

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MACOMB, IL - - The senior and assistant managing editors of Ebony magazine, the No. 1 magazine for African Americans, will participate in a daylong conference at Western Illinois University-Macomb, sponsored in part by WIU's National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the journalism program.

Sylvester Monroe, senior editor of Ebony, and Mira Lowe, managing editor of Jet magazine and assistant managing editor of Ebony, will share their experiences in the Wednesday, Feb. 18 conference titled "The Past, Present and Future of Minority Media: Two Panels."

Their visit is the result of a successful internship by Western's Alisha Cowan (Chicago 60620), a senior journalism major and editor-in-chief of the student-run newspaper, the Western Courier, with Ebony in Summer 2008.

Monroe, who has won numerous journalism awards and has been honored for his public service, is also well-known for his best-selling book "Brothers: A True Story of Courage and Survival," which chronicles the lives of 11 of his boyhood friends from the Robert Taylor Homes Projects on Chicago's South Side. An inner city outreach program called A Better Chance lifted Monroe out of the projects and his affiliation with the city's largest street gang and provided him with a scholarship to attend St. George School, a prep school in Newport, RI. He went on to graduate with honors from Harvard University. Monroe also studied at Stanford University on a professional journalism fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (now the Knight Fellowships).

Following Harvard, Monroe began his journalism career with Newsweek magazine. For more than 15 years he served as a correspondent and bureau chief in Boston and Chicago, a national correspondent in Washington focusing on urban affairs and national politics, and a White House correspondent covering the final year of the Reagan administration.

Monroe is the former Sunday national editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, GA) and editor of an award-winning weekly section of the paper called Atlanta & the World. He was a correspondent for Time magazine, covering the Rodney King trial and the 1992 Los Angeles Riots; the February 1994 cover story on Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan; and directed coverage of the October 1994 cover story on Susan Smith's child kidnapping hoax.

He speaks about successful work ethics, which he says begin at home. Monroe credits his drive to take school seriously in part to his mother, saying: "I had two choices. Do well or die, because my mother would have killed me."

Lowe, assistant managing editor at Johnson Publishing Co., publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines in Chicago, is an award-winning journalist with 18 years of editing and production experience. She also coordinates the summer internship program for the editorial department.

Prior to joining Johnson Publishing, Lowe was the associate editor of recruitment at Newsday on Long Island, NY, where she was in charge of recruiting and hiring, staff development and training and directing internship programs. She directed the paper's Minority Editorial Training Program, which trains journalists of color interested in pursuing an editing career. She has taught journalism courses at Columbia University and York College (NY).

A member of NABJ, Lowe copy edited the 44-page book detailing the organization's first 25 years, "Committed to the Cause: Salute to NABJ's Presidents."

She is a graduate of Brooklyn College with a bachelor of arts degree in television and radio, and she has a master's degree in journalism from Columbia.

The conference begins with a 9:30-11 a.m. panel in the University Union Lincoln Room moderated by Western's NABJ President Robert Amaefule (Chicago 60625), a senior journalism major and broadcast minor and news editor of the Western Courier. The session will include the following presentations, with Monroe and Lowe as responders:
• "Muslim Media in the United States and their Contributions to Muslims' Participation in the American Public Sphere," by Mohammad Siddiqi, professor and director of Western's journalism program;
• "Experience of an Ebony Intern," by Alisha Cowan (Chicago 60620), a senior journalism major and marketing minor; and
• "African American Newspapers: Where Women Were First Welcomed by the Press Corps," by Lisa Barr, assistant professor of journalism and faculty adviser to WIU's NABJ.

From 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monroe and Lowe will be working individually with Western's journalism students, followed by the 2-3:30 p.m. panel in the University Union Capital Room. Barr will moderated the following sessions:
• "What was the Kerner Commission?" by Bill Knight, WIU journalism professor;
• "News in the Time of Kerner: Black Power in the Media," by Jo-Ann Morgan, associate professor of African American studies and art; and
• "Present Day Mainstream Media Representation of African Americans: The View from 'Outside' America," by Safoura Boukari, associate professor of African America studies.

Co-sponsors for the conference include Western's College of Arts and Sciences,
African American Studies department and the Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center.

For more information, contact Lisa Barr at (309) 298-1514 or

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