Time flies when you get to meet fascinating people and tell their stories as Mark McGowan has for nearly 18 years at NIU.
A former editor-in-chief at the Northern Star, McGowan joined NIU’s media and public relations team in 1999 to begin his career focused on highlighting student achievements and university accomplishments through thousands of articles he’s written or edited for various campus publications. It’s a meaningful role McGowan equates to the journalism adage about writing the first draft of history – and earned him a Presidential Award for Excellence in 2016.
“I’ve enjoyed talking to people, learning about their interests, their passions,” said McGowan, manager of college communications for the College of Education. “Telling their stories, that’s fun for me.”
For six years McGowan served as editor of NIU Today, the university’s online news site which draws thousands of visitors each month to read about outstanding teaching, unusual research, sports success and the ways students are making a difference in and out of the classroom. McGowan handled nearly 200 stories per month to keep one of the NIU’s most-visited web sites engaging and informative.
McGowan proudly describes his time at the helm of NIU Today as “hectic” in how it reminded him of the pace of a newspaper copydesk, but also because of the conscientious approach he took to delivering high-quality written content and the best photos he could find to the campus audience and beyond. That meant plenty of nights and weekends to maintain his daily expectations.
“His stories are compelling, and his copy is impeccably clean – he is undoubtedly the best copyeditor on campus,” said Tom Parisi, a media relations and public affairs specialist in the Office of Institutional Communications. “Among colleagues, Mark is known for being fast, accurate and always cordial.”
McGowan’s work also includes contributions to the NIU Newsroom and writing in-depth features for Northern Now, the university’s alumni magazine.
“I’ve had a lot of fun opportunities … met a lot of cool people,” McGowan said. “It’s been an honor.”