Dick Enberg: Communicating in a World of Noise

By Herbert Lowe

Dick Enberg presents the 2012 Axthelm Memorial Lecture at Marquette University. Photo: Marquette University IMC.

Dick Enberg presents the 2012 Axthelm Memorial Lecture at Marquette University. Photo: Marquette University IMC.

The Diederich College of Communication presented Hall of Fame broadcaster Dick Enberg as this year’s Axthelm Memorial Lecture speaker last week at the Alumni Memorial Union on campus. Hundreds of people packed a ballroom to hear Enberg, a 14-time Emmy Award winner, reflect on his experiences with Al McGuire, his longtime broadcast partner and, of course, the beloved coach who led Marquette’s men’s basketball team to the 1977 NCAA championship. Calling his lecture “Communicating in a World of Noise,” he also shared his five “points of power” for succeeding in journalism: pause, perseverance, presentation, humor and kindness.

Enberg also met with students and classes during his latest visit to Marquette – he served as its commencement speaker in 2009 – including a “news conference” after the lecture for my Digital Journalism I (JOUR 1100) class that my Diederich College colleagues James Pokrywczynski and Julie Rosene arranged. Surprising that only one of my 14 students had heard of Enberg when I first said they would use Twitter to cover his lecture. Certainly, I had heard him exclaim his signature “Oh my!” during countless significant sports events of the past generation.

This was the first live-tweeting experience for most of the students. (Of course, I shared what their predecessors had accomplished by live tweeting Marquette’s presidential inauguration last fall.) We had practiced in class the week before and some had used the 2012 Grammy Awards and other recent events to try it out. In class after the lecture, they said the #muenberg live tweeting helped them, among other things, focus on their writing; extend their journalism to as far as Puerto Rico; capture moments not typically reported in news articles, and inform and engage MU alumni, students and employees unable to attend. We then discussed curating social media, employing tools and tips used by many professional news agencies and people worldwide.

Indeed, a few students from my other courses this semester (JOUR 1550 and JOUR 4953) also live-tweeted the lecture for their Storify assignments. And the word is spreading across campus. Last night, the Marquette University Student Government speakers commissioner emailed me to ask if I would assign students to live tweet Morgan Spurlock’s campus visit on Thursday. The commissioner wrote that “friends studying journalism” had referred her to me. Actually, some in my JOUR 1550 class already plan to live tweet this event; they even had me change the deadline so they could. Still, I love it that students outside of Johnston Hall appreciate what’s happening in my classes— and, yes, hope more of them will answer the commissioner’s call.

Finally, it must be shared that #muenberg trended in Milwaukee, reaching the same success that #muprez achieved when my classes live tweeted the inauguration. Another sign of progress: Diederich College Dean Lori Bergen encouraged those tweeting to use #muenberg while welcoming them to the Axthelm lecture. With apologies to Enberg, must admit that when the dean did that, I could only say to myself, “Oh my!”

Herbert Lowe is a journalism professional in residence in the Diederich College of Communication. This post is also at http://www.herblowe.com. He is on Twitter at @herbertlowe.

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The opinions expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of Marquette University or the Diederich College of Communication.

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