Being Bruce -: Shannan Bowen - Born to Write

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Shannan Bowen - Born to Write


Can you think of a better early word for a born journalist? That word (and question) "Why?" was Star News Reporter Shannan Bowen's third word [[at least according to her - I'm not sure if she kept contemporaneous notes, too]].

Shannan, who currently covers Social Media and Breaking News (Crime) for the Star News, loved to write when she was a child, even before she could read. She'd take scribbled paper to her mom to show her work. In Shannan's words, "About everything I've done in my life has prepared me to be a journalist."

Shannan went to a rural school in her hometown of Randleman, NC - also the birthplace of NASCAR King Richard Petty (one of her best friends is Richard Petty's granddaughter).
When she read a biography of pioneer American woman journalist Nellie Bly in high school Shannan's reaction at the time was, "I want to be her." Shannan went to UNC-Chapel Hill, which she chose because of its nationally known journalism program.
Shannan, who describes herself as highly social, very intuitive, and at times spontaneous, particularly likes people who are rational, optimistic, and positive.

After college, with internships at various papers in Florida and North Carolina Shannan began her professional career at the Star News in 2007. She works directly with Nights Editor Jim Ware and Executive Editor Robyn Tomlin, both big fans of social media [[and both pretty cool folks with interesting stories of their own]].

Shannan started covering local government and Brunswick County and informally helping other Star News personnel with FaceBook, Twitter and blogging, a helping hand (and mind) she continues to lend.

I asked, "Why does the Star News have a social media beat?"

Shannan replied that the company name is now Star News Media and with emphasis on online publishing, video, and social media, the company is pushing innovation, following their market (actually she said "readers") and their competition. She (and the company) would rather be at the forefront of innovation rather than hang on to yesterday's communications processes and products.

[[Robyn and Jim, don't read this graph]] - When Shannan talks about journalism in general and the Star News she doesn't hold back. She unabashedly claims to "love writing and researching and particularly being involved with innovation and thinking about the future." She also loves creating niche social networks and (here's the political part) is appreciative and thriving in what she's found to be the Star News' "nuturing, supportive" environment that allows freedom to explore and discover new avenues of journalistic expression [[that last part sounds kinds lofty, but I wrote it, she said it better but I can't read my handwritten notes]].

Shannan shows up at many Wilmington region community, business, and social media networking events. She belongs to the Wilmington Young Professionals group and regularly attends functions run by other groups. While she covers social media as part of her "job", Shannan states convincingly that there's really no separation between her work and what she loves to do. [[I guess that's what can happen when you know you're born to a profession, right?]]
She's been interested in computers and technology for as long as she can remember - her grandfather, who was a programmer, provided Shannan's first computer when she was in the 4th grade - Shannan promptly learned how to use the MS-DOS-based machine to write stories.
If you'd like to meet Shannan, to learn about the area, pick up some tips about social media, and maybe get the inside info on networking in the greater Wilmington area, it's not difficult - just show up to a few networking events, she'll be there.