Last semester for one of our assignments my class had to write a feature profile on journalist and lecturer David Lowden.
On the day, Jason Irvine and myself had the pleasure of interviewing Lowden on a range of topics from his coverage of the London Olympics to family life.
The following is the piece I wrote based on the interview, ‘The Many Faces of David Lowden’
The Many Faces of David Lowden
Jack-of-all-trades and family man, David Lowden, has been a lot of things since the beginning of his career in 1989. After originally wanting to be an author Lowden began working in the journalism field whilst taking a gap year from unrelated university studies.
Lowden is currently a practicing sports journalist and is also a Senior Lecturer at La Trobe University’s Bundoora Campus. He has a Master of Communication with distinction and is a member of PRIA (The Public Relations Institute of Australia), MEAA (The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance), NTEU (The National Tertiary Education Union) and JEA. He is currently completing his PhD on inclusivity and organisational culture at the university’s Centre for Sport and Social Impact.
Lowden strongly believes that curiosity is the key to being successful in the media and journalism industry. “You need to be above average interested in life, I think, and what makes people tick. You need to be a story teller but that’s a mechanical thing, you need to enjoy the process of telling stories.”
He feels you need to be the kind of person that will happily sit at a cafe and people watch to be a good “journo” and enjoy your job.
Lowden began his career via a cadetship but with the benefit of hindsight, feels that a degree may have been preferable. “Do a journalism degree. The problem with a cadetship is that you only learn what your boss knows. He teaches you everything he thinks you need to know, but that may not be everything you do need to know.”
Following his cadetship Lowden went on to work for radio station 3UZ (now known as RSN) as their “breakfast, sports, news reader”.
According to Lowden, entry level jobs are more abundant than ever. Speaking at the 2015 Career Practitioners’ Seminar he stated that it is the second job which is hard to find, not the first. “There’s more graduate level jobs, than there’s ever been … it is competitive still but there is actually a lot of communications type jobs where journalism, or PR, or media skills, are useful” says Lowden.
“There’s a base line of sort of what I would call ‘content monkeys’ which is a harsh thing to say but, there are a whole lot of jobs for people just to put content on websites. But then to get the next job after that is a bit harder, because the pyramid gets narrower quickly so you need to really impress, really excel, and show that you’re one of the best people, one of the best practitioners in your craft.”
It is obvious from his success in the industry that Lowden practices what he preaches. Starting out as a general reporter, Lowden’s career really took off when he was asked to go into sports instead, providing the direction which has led to his many achievements.
Some of Lowden’s most notable accomplishments have included pre- and post-production on The Footy Show, bringing Game Day from a concept to reality and performing crisis management for the St Kilda Football Club. He has also worked as chief of staff of Foxtel for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and reported on the 2012 London Olympics also for Foxtel.
“The footy show on Channel 9 was essentially a management job, I was head of department … I was doing very little content, I wasn’t actually producing what you see on TV very much but I was in charge of all the people who did that.” Lowden says, although his role in Game Day was almost the opposite of this.
“They thought of a show and it was gonna be called Game Day and that was about all they’d done, and they said we want you to tell us what should be in the show… because it was Sunday mornings I was kind of going for the today show or sunrise but in footy terms so that it was kind of casual and relaxed and no ties and you know, lounge setting but you just talk through footy, a bit of humour, a bit of serious, a bit of colour.”
Having done many things in the industry Lowden decided that he wanted to help shape the next generation of journalists. As mentioned above he is currently a Senior Lecturer at La Trobe University.
“I thought I would like to give back to the industry in some form and I thought that would be teaching.”
Although he was having a hard time of things when he first applied for the job, he was pleased to find that they “seemed like they wanted someone a bit more industry focused” and is now quite content with his role. Having designed the course he teaches (sports journalism) Lowden feels that it is great that he can be part of the network which is helping the next generation achieve their goals.
While doing all this Lowden has also extensively covered Wimbledon and the AFL in his pieces and still managed to have quality time with his family.
Now that his daughters are older he enjoys having ‘adult’ conversations with them about things such as science and politics. He is particularly amused by how they gleefully exclaim “lawyered” when they dominate him in an argument.
David Lowden is many things, to many people and has accomplished much during his lifetime so far. It will be interesting to see what he does next.
This is the link to the Facebook post the image was sourced from: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=860042700717035&substory_index=0&id=121759407878705