Loyola’s own informed source

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Dr. Lorenz in 1983

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Dr. Lorenz in 1983

It’s 5:30 Friday evening. The sun is just starting its descent; a few Loyola students relax on the benches in the Peace Quad.And communications professor Larry Lorenz strolls across the Loyola campus, not ready to call it a week just yet.After teaching and helping students with the finer points of journalism for five straight days, Lorenz is off to host his weekly news talk show, “Informed Sources…””The show really tells you a lot about Larry,” said Dave Cohen, news director at WWL radio and regular panelist on the program. “He’s a talented professional who seems to know a little bit about everything.”Lorenz also seems to have done a little bit of everything, both in the world of journalism and as a teacher.A native of Wisconsin, Lorenz stayed close to home as an undergraduate in college. He studied at Marquette University, where in 1958, he earned a B.A. in English.Following his graduation, he enlisted in the United States Army. In his three years in the Army Security Agency, he had tours on Okinawa and White Sands Missile Range.Upon his discharge in 1962, Lorenz took his first job as a journalist and began working for United Press International. Despite the tough work and grueling hours, he said working for UPI was worth it.”I was young and in my twenties, and it was just a wonderful place to be,” he said. “We were not particularly well paid, but we seemed to deal with it all right. It was perhaps the most fun I ever had.”But, Lorenz said, his time at UPI led him to recognize that he had a lot more learning to do if he wanted to be a solid journalist. “I realized I needed to know more about government and history. So I went back to school,” he said.At the University of Southern Illinois, he earned both his master’s degree and his doctorate in journalism. Lorenz’s graduate work at Southern Illinois gave him his first taste of teaching. “I had the opportunity to go to grad school with a full assistantship over there,” he said. “We were able to work with the undergrads as mentors. … The next logical [career] step was to go into teaching.”Fresh out of grad school, he went back to Marquette in 1968 — this time as a young communications professor. “You know, for a young professor, it’s a lot of work, because you’re preparing classes for the first time; you’re feeling your way along; you’re on your own for the first time, flapping your wings, pretty unsteadily some of the time,” he said. “I thought it was invigorating.”Lorenz continued teaching at Marquette — a Jesuit school — until 1980, winning tenure in the process.He then went to New Mexico State University, where he taught for only a year. “I really liked the private Jesuit university model, and this was a public institution,” he said. “I just wasn’t as comfortable there as I would have liked to have been.”In 1981, Lorenz returned to the comforts of a Jesuit university. He came to Loyola as the chair of the communications department.”Loyola was smaller [than Marquette], but there are similarities,” he said. “I guess those similarities are almost intangible, but there’s something about the students, the faculty, the values that are in place [at a Jesuit school].”He said he took his job as communications chair very seriously from the start.”My aim was to try to make sure that the [communications] students were provided with not just the techniques, but with the underlying principles that would stand them well wherever they went in life … so that they knew not just how to do the work, but also why they’re doing it.”Lorenz stepped down as chair in 1994, after 13 years at the helm of the communications department.”I wouldn’t really call it stepping down,” he said. “I was moving from teaching with administrative responsibilities to teaching without [them].”He didn’t go into teaching to have power and decision-making abilities, but rather, he said, simply because he likes to teach.”I think it’s the opportunity to keep learning,” he said. “I very much enjoy the associations with the students, the associations with the faculty.”Lorenz said his relationships with the students is one of the aspects of a professor’s life that he most enjoys.”The opportunity to associate with younger people is a boon; it adds vitality.”Still, he said, it can sometimes be frustrating when he sees students not living up to their potential.”I don’t think people ought to be chained to their books, but this may be the last opportunity some of them have to actually be able to sit down and learn,” he said.”I wasn’t any great shakes as an undergraduate — I guess that’s why I feel so strongly about it now.”His sentiments and energy haven’t gone unnoticed by his peers. “You can just tell he’s so interested in the profession and helping students who want to get into it,” said Cohen, who first met Lorenz at an “Informed Sources…” taping five years ago.Lorenz said the television show is a way for him to keep one foot in the door of professional journalism.He took the reins of the show in 1987, and is in his fifteenth year of being its host and mediator. He said the format of “Informed Sources…” is based on the old national public program “Washington Week in Review.” Each week, varying panels of local journalists discuss events and issues facing New Orleans. Though Lorenz works tirelessly with both the show and his teaching career, he still finds the time and energy to put his knowledge to work in other areas.He is actively involved with the United Way Committee. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Center for Non-Profit Research, where he chairs the Marketing Committee. In addition, he has co-authored a textbook with friend and fellow professor John Vivian of Winona State University. “News Reporting and Writing” is used by all Loyola communications majors in their beginning reporting class. Still, Lorenz said, teaching college students is what he enjoys most.”I don’t think anybody can ever be bored on a university faculty,” he said.And he doesn’t think he’ll be leaving the university environment anytime soon.”I’m getting close to what people think of as retirement age, and people ask me if I’m going to retire,” he said. “But what I would do in retirement is read and write, and the university pays me to do that now.”As for Loyola, he said his personal experiences here and the university itself “have done nothing but get better” over the last 21 years.”There’s really nothing quite as satisfying as walking across the campus at end of day, with sun going down and students sitting on those benches, and saying to yourself, ‘This is a pretty damn good life.'”—with reporting by Aimee Alleman

Larry Lorenz, communications professor, teaches history of journalism, comunications writing and mass communications ethics. Lorenz teaches these and, among others, beginning reporting and media ethics. (Lane Cotton Winn)

Lorenz talks with &Informed Sources…& producer Errol Laborde. Lorenz has juggled the roles of a university professor and the host and mediator of the show for 15 years. (Lindsay Hilton)