From Air Force to KOLN, Baker takes top flight

April 28, 2016 Leave a comment

Brett Baker of KOLN

Joe Harris
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

From an early age, Brett Baker wanted to be on the air.

“I’m one of those weird people that knew what they wanted to do when I was like 8 years old,” Baker said. “So, my whole life was just school and activities and everything I did was geared towards finding my way into broadcasting.”

Baker’s path to becoming producer at KOLN wasn’t smooth though. His pursuit of a broadcasting career began when he attended UNL, but was, as he put it, “a horrible student…wasting my parents’ money and my time.”

Baker then joined the Air Force as a reporter at the Air Force News Agency, which had a television show. It was a job he held for nine years, and with it, he traveled the world; he visited countries like Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Croatia, Poland and Norway.

“Anywhere before 2001, it was a hot spot,” said Baker. “You name it, I was there. We’d take a flight down. You’d shoot whatever story (while) you were on the ground. Usually it was about the Air Force crew that was running the UN port that was there to get in aid, and then you’d get out.”

“It was an awesome time, man. I did a lot of cool stuff that people can’t even pay money to do, and they paid me to do it.”

He said he ended up in San Antonio, where the AFNA was based. There, he freelanced with the ABC affiliate KSAT 12, which eventually offered him a job. He was KSAT’s senior sports producer for 12 years before joining KOLN in Lincoln.

Baker said a typical day for him involves a 20-30 minute news meeting at 2 p.m., which covers who is shooting what for the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. broadcasts, how the broadcasts will be packaged and formatted. He said he also talks to the night reporters about what stories they’re working for the 10 p.m. broadcast.

He said after that, he starts “building” the show, which entails organizing templates. The first templates he works with are KOLN’s content–stories their reporters cover. Next, he’ll add Nebraska news content generated from wire reports, CNN or CBS.

It doesn’t end there.  KOLN produces and puts out the broadcasts of five other stations.  Baker will look at their stories and add them to KOLN’s own broadcast if they have statewide interest. Then he’ll go through CBS or CNN reports for the show’s national and international news segment.

Of course, there is plenty of editing the producer must do.

“Every day you’re going to be dealing with scripts,” Baker said. “You’re going to be writing scripts…being an editor is one task along with dozens that you have every day.”

Baker said the anchors edit a lot of scripts, but so does he. He said he rewrites material that’s not done by his anchors or reporters. Even then, he said an anchor will usually tweak one of his rewrites to fit how they talk.

This leads into what he said is one of his biggest challenges of being a producer: Getting the facts right.  When several anchors or reporters rewrite a news report, they can often leave pieces of information out or change them. His job is to make sure the information is still correct after all the modifications. He said he usually goes to the original reporter or press releases for this. He said he still does not take press releases at face value during these times; when reading more into them he finds the “real story.”

Baker said the most valuable skills for his job include focus, discipline and flexibility. He said he must be able to task manage and be confident in making decisions, but also be ready to make changes when there’s breaking news.

“I am…an over-preparer.  I build things to help myself when breaking news happens. If stuff happens, boom, I know exactly where to go. I can grab the exact pieces I need that’s going to round out that part of the broadcast…that way I don’t have to create it from scratch every time.”

Categories: finals, Uncategorized Tags: , ,

Editing skills prove valuable in all kinds of jobs

January 3, 2016 Leave a comment

Whatever kind of journalist you aspire to be – reporter, photojournalist, designer, multimedia producer, broadcaster or editor – you’ll need to develop editing skills to succeed.

Editors work for all kinds of organizations on many different platforms (print, broadcast, Web, mobile). The goal of editing is clarity, regardless of platform. Editors help readers navigate through information by distilling messages. Editors work for small and large newspapers, broadcast outlets, magazines, book publishers and newsletters. They hold communication jobs for corporate, academic and nonprofit organizations. Editing skills are valued in public relations and advertising. Regardless of where they work, editors increasingly are responsible for work published on the Web.

Since 2011, beginning editing students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln interviewed editors from a variety of places to ask them about their jobs, their advice for journalism students and their insight into how journalism is changing. Although the editors the students chose worked in many different jobs, many editors offered similar suggestions.

Their advice included: Read all different kinds of writing, master the basics of usage and grammar, get internships and college publication experience, learn the Web and new technologies, and be open-minded about the future.

Click on the links below to read their reports:

Categories: editing, finals Tags: ,

Katie Atkinson’s journey starts as college DJ, leads to senior editor at

By Bridget Anderson

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Katie Atkinson’s job as senior editor for is a dream job come true. She interviews recording artists about their upcoming projects, attends private listening sessions of albums before they are released and gets to go to award ceremonies, such as The Grammy Awards and Billboard Music Awards.

So, how did she acquire a career in the highly competitive entertainment industry? Landing a job that thousands of others want too.

Atkinson gradated from Michigan State University with a journalism degree. While in college, she participated in a variety of activities that helped her land her first job. She worked for the

Source: Billboard

Source: Courtesy of  Billboard

student newspaper, did a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund sports copy editing internship and, after graduating, acquired an internship with The Detroit News. Her summer internship with The Detroit News led to a full-time job as a news copy editor.

After working for The Detroit News, Atkinson decided to move to Los Angeles after receiving a job as a copy editor for MTV News. She did not have any experience in entertainment news, but her time as a DJ for her college radio caught the attention of the editor that hired her.

“Showing an interest in music as a college student is what got me an interview,” said Atkinson in an email interview.

Through her seven years at MTV News, Atkinson worked her way up to deputy managing editor and eventually left to become an editor for Entertainment Weekly. It was here that she met an editor who left to run Billboard magazine’s website, and she was asked to join him as senior editor for

Other than interviewing celebrities and going to lively events, Atkinson still has other responsibilities. A typical day for her is working 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. searching on the Internet for news stories, assigning writers articles, editing stories, writing headlines and managing Billboard’s social media accounts.

With so many duties, it’s hard to narrow down a favorite part of her job. Although, seeing live performances and experiencing once-in-a-lifetime chances are on the top of the list.

“I love this job because I’ve always loved editing, but now I get to edit stories about a topic I love. There is never a dull moment.”

Now, is there a favorite project she has worked on? Atkinson has a couple. One is a project she completed while at Entertainment Weekly called 12 Days of Christmas Covers. She chose 12 Christmas songs and let readers vote for which cover of each song they liked best.  After all was done, she created a playlist on Spotify so readers could listen to the Christmas covers. Another one of Atkinson’s favorites was a ranking of all judges from “American Idol,” “The X Factor” and “The Voice.”

But this job is not necessarily all fun and games. Atkinson has her challenges.

“My biggest challenge is keeping up with the speed of the Internet without sacrificing quality. I pride myself in moving quickly and balancing a lot of different stories at one time, but I try to really give each item I put on the website my individual attention so we don’t get sloppy. Even though my responsibilities have expanded, I’m still a neurotic copy editor at heart!”

In the interview, Atkinson also noted the major differences between editing for a company in the music industry and editing for a company outside of it.

“If you’re covering a government issue, you call a politician’s office and request time to speak. Most of the time, the politician makes himself or herself available. But celebrities are a little different. Movie studios put on press junkets, where journalists come to the star to speak to them, or reporters go to red carpets at award shows or premieres. Basically, you take access when you can get it, on the celebrity’s time. That means if you’re trying to confirm news or get a comment about something breaking, you’re reaching out to a publicist instead.”

When asked whether she had advice for anyone wanting to work in the music industry, Atkinson had a lot to offer!

“Definitely try to do anything music-related now: Work at your college radio station, go to concerts and write them up for your school newspaper or for a class, or take any classes about music that you can. And then if you want to work for a national publication, the best place to live is New York, followed by L.A., and then Nashville or Miami. You have to go where the music business is. And just make sure to get a good journalism foundation first. Even if you can’t get an entertainment reporting or editing job right out of school, work in journalism and keep applying for that dream job.”

Categories: finals Tags: , ,

High school exercise fosters career for Patricia Mish

December 9, 2015 Leave a comment


Emma Olson

JOUR 201

Quick. Write down one sentence describing the scene at the finish of the state qualifying track meet.

Twenty heads drop to their notebooks and scribble out the first thing that comes rushing to mind.

This was how Patricia Mish found her love for journalism.

Patricia Mish is the managing editor for Faith Grand Rapids a magazine run by the Catholic diocese in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The magazine is a mix of marketing for the church with stories and news. Overall, its angled to connect people with Jesus and help Catholics become more engaged with their parish community. The publication runs every month and is available at

As a child, Mish enjoyed reading newspapers and following the Cubs box scores in the Chicago Sun Times.

Mish found her passion for journalism when she was in high school at Regina Dominican High School in Wilmette, Illinois. She was inspired by her teacher in a basic journalism class. The teacher would describe an event to the class and they would have to write a lede for the story quickly. Mish loved following the news and became the news editor for the school newspaper as well as the editor for the yearbook.

Mish said, “All the President’s Men” came out around the same time she took interest in journalism therefore the movie most likely influenced her interest in the career. She said she was attracted to journalism due to “the excitement of chasing a story, being on the scene of a major event, and deadline pressure”.

Her first journalism job outside of her high school publications was a reporting intern for the Jordan Independent, a tiny community newspaper in a largely rural community south of the Twin Cities.

“I wanted to be a news reporter for a major metropolitan daily,” Mish said.

Her dream job within the field was to be a reporter at a major newspaper. However, that dream has now changed to covering the Chicago Cubs for or the Chicago Tribune.

Mish starts out each day checking her email like everyone else. She makes sure she is up to date on everything that is happening in the office and with stories before anything else. The rest of her day is spent assigning stories to writers and photographers, editing copy and working with designer to plan the magazine. Mish also spends a majority of her time planning content for future issues of the magazine.

The most taxing part of her job is planning. This is a large part of my job but however it isn’t my strong suit  she said.

“Trust your instincts and don’t hesitate to ask questions,” Mish said. Students who are just starting out often forget that we were all in their shoes at some point.

She said to remember to notice details when you’re interviewing a subject or reporting a story. Interviews should follow a conversation format instead of Q and A. Mish looks for lulls in conversation during an interview and suggests to let them happen. She said that is most often when subjects will open up.

“Always ask if they have anything to add,” Mish said. “Often subjects do and it can be good stuff.”

The best advice she was given when she was starting out, she still uses today. An editor told her early on,”You can’t be objective but you can be fair and balanced. Make sure all names in a story are spelled right.”

She used to have trouble writing stories about major events.

“An editor told me to put away my notes and just write what happened,” Mish said. “That helped move me off square one when I’d get stuck. Then go back and fill in the details and quotes.”

Experience, accuracy and broad-based education: Advice for aspiring journalists looking to get ahead

By Gabriella Parsons

Omaha World-Herald employee Connie White. photo taken Nov. 16, 2010. DAVE SANDERS/THE WORLD-HERALD


Connie White, deputy metro-regional editor at the Omaha World-Herald, grew up in small town Nebraska. She was born and raised in Grand Island, and later attended the University of Nebraska-Kearney where she received her BA in journalism. During college, White studied political science, and this set the tone for her career, covering Omaha City Hall, education and business throughout.
While most of her experience as been on the editing side, White worked as a reporter at the start of her career, then on the copy desk and also the page design team.
White worked at the Grand Island Independent, The Kansan and the Columbus Telegram, where she was the managing editor, before coming to the Omaha World-Herald 15 years ago.
White said that these experiences at smaller newspapers are what led her to becoming an editor at the Omaha World-Herald.
“I think that working at smaller papers first of all kind of gave me a diverse experience,” White said as she described the many hats she had to wear at these newspapers.
“You do a lot of things when you’re at a small paper— you might write the editorial, you might write a column, you lay out the paper, you meet with the community,” she said. “I think it gives you an appreciation for community news— the community’s stories and their importance.”
Before White arrives at the downtown Omaha World-Herald offices between 8:30 and 9 a.m. each morning, she is reading the newspaper and making sure she’s up to date with the latest news.
When she gets to work, she talks with her reporters and assesses what he or she is working on for the day before the 10 a.m. daily budget meeting.
White looks over state government and regional reporters, and she also helps plan the Midland section of the Omaha World Herald. With three of her reporters working in Lincoln, White says that she has to be in good communication with these reporters since they aren’t on-site at the Omaha World Herald.
White said the best form of communication between her and her reporters is email and phone calls. She says that if a question ever comes up and a reporter isn’t there, she’ll just give them a call. White also said that the computer system, “Saxotech,” which is comparable to Google Docs, has come in handy for revising articles written by reporters based in different cities.
“It’s like we’re sitting by each other, using the same computer program,” White said. “Except we’re 50 miles apart.”
White said that the changes in technology have forced newspapers like the Omaha World Herald to reconsider its priorities.
“I think 15 years ago we would have mostly thought about the [physical] paper. We’d get those stories that were in print online by the end of the day,” White said. “Well, that doesn’t fly anymore.”
The sense of immediacy that viewers want have shifted the way Omaha World Herald delivers its content, White said.
“The goal is that if something happens, we get it online immediately,” she said.
White noted that with the shift to online from print, it’s more important than ever for journalists to be accurate.
 “We make it our standard to not put inaccurate information out anywhere,” she said.
While it’s become easier to make corrections to stories that are published online, that shouldn’t be a reason for journalists to get lazy with his or her accuracy.
“It’s always something we’re cognitive of– if we’re pushing a story out and we’re in a hurry, then we need to be careful,” White said. “Take the extra minute to make sure we’re not putting something out there that’s inaccurate.”
White shared some words of advice for aspiring journalists and editors:
“Accuracy is your reputation,” she said. “When you write something, it’s critical that you have your facts straight, because it will harm your reputation as a reporter if you don’t.”
White said that a good way of ensuring accuracy is by having two sources for everything. Then, you are able to verify your information almost 100% of the time.
She said that journalists need to be informed.
“You should be well-read,” White said. “You should care about important issues and have a good eye for accuracy and attention to detail.”
White said that as editors, reporters are relying on you to be their backstop.
“I think it’s helpful to have a curious personality,” White said. “But also have an even temper so you don’t get rattled. People are looking to you for guidance– if you can’t stay calm, neither will they.”
If White could go back and tell her young self something she wish she would have known earlier, it would be this:
“Looking back to when I was in college, the importance of taking lots of history classes, lots of English classes, lots of math classes– you just have to have a broad-based education,” she said.
It’s important for journalists to be multi-faceted and well-rounded, White said. She suggests challenging yourself and taking classes that interest you.
White said that real experience in the journalism world is what will set you apart when you seek out jobs.
“The experience is really critical,” she said. “Writing for the DN, getting an internship– seeking those opportunities to work on your craft.”
White’s experience at the Omaha World-Herald has led her to working with interesting people and an array of topics.
“It’s a busy life [the life of an editor], but it’s a fulfilling life,” White said.
Categories: Uncategorized

The Digital Age has improved the efficiency and work of a Journal Star editor

December 9, 2015 Leave a comment

It is hard for a young person to decide, or even take a guess at, what they want to be when they grow up. However, some people are destined to a particular career and discover this very early on in their life.

Julie Koch, Lincoln Journal Star sports copy editor (Photo courtesy of Lincoln Journal Star)

Julie Koch, Lincoln Journal Star Copy Editor (Photo courtesy of Lincoln Journal Starir life.

Julie Koch, a Lincoln Journal Star sports copy editor, was well on her way to the profession of sports journalism since the sixth grade, when she began by collecting every Lincoln Journal Star sports section.

Koch would follow her dreams and land a job at the Journal Star as a copy editor, where she has now worked at for over 30 years.

As a copy editor Koch is responsible for selecting stories to run in the morning. She comes in to work around 4:00 p.m. and stays until the sports page is finished and she then sends it across the street to the Journal Star’s printing press.

Koch sits at her desk and sifts through the news wire on her computer to find stories that are best suited to go into the paper the next day. Koch is given a list events and stories that reporters are covering and bases her decisions of off local impact and of off national magnitude.

“We use a content management system for our stories,” Koch said during our interview. “It’s a great system.”

A content management system organizes many aspects of a papers stories to their online files of pages. At the Lincoln Journal Star, editors can view AP and local papers stories from around the United States on a server and papers such as the Journal Star, pick them up and run them.

Having access to many local newspapers around the nation is beneficial to getting news that is comprehensive.

“We aren’t stuck having to run with the AP,” Koch said. “Like in Boston, if it’s the Pats, they’re closer to New England than us, they usually have a better lead.”

Koch is also in-charge of making stories fit on the front page of the sports section. She still likes to use paper and pen to lay out what goes where, but eventually has to add it into a file online to send to the design section.

Koch said that the advances in digital journalism have greatly improved the efficiency of journalism when it comes to time it takes to set up a story and put it in a design.

“I used to have to look through our photos here to get them for a story,” Koch said. “Now they’re attached to the stories online.”

The improvement of how an editor is able select stories and edit designs, has been beneficial to the work Koch has put in. However, the faster things move, the faster she needs the reporters at the Journal Star to get their stories in.

“A deadline is a deadline,” Koch said. While this has been a motto for papers for some time, it is more important with the faster paced online presence of papers. Koch wants young reporters to understand that reporters need to get their stories done fast because “editors need the time to edit” so they aren’t forced to cut corners to meet a deadline.

Koch believes that the added pressure of getting a story in fast has changed the way she looks at editing. She said that the getting the news to the public by the deadline is becoming more important and has found herself saying, “screw it, I need to let it go,” more often when editing reporters’ stories.

The web has as allowed for mistakes to be corrected after they have been made. During the major print era, papers had to focus on harsh editing, because once it is out in public, it couldn’t be changed. However, editors can go into a paper’s website and send in a correction to avoid any comments from the grammar sticklers in the public.

The digital age has been a benefit to the journalism community and made life easier for editors, according to Koch. She has been a part of the transition from little technology, to the age of journalism that is done primarily online. Digital journalism is gaining a lot of traction in the public’s eyes and is damaging other news sources such as print.

There are many articles online that claim print is dead. However, Koch believe that print journalism has its place in the world, covering the things the national media ignores.

“Newspapers are not dying if you cover local,” Koch said.

Categories: Uncategorized

Sports Editor Finds Stride At Tribune

December 8, 2015 Leave a comment
Brent Wasenius, sports editor of the Fremont Tribune (Photo courtesy of the Fremont Tribune)

Brent Wasenius, sports editor of the Fremont Tribune (Photo courtesy of the Fremont Tribune)

By Anna Sedlacek University of Nebraska- Lincoln

Brent Wasenius, editor of the sports page at the Fremont Tribune, knew from a young age that editing was his dream job. In an interview, Wasenius shared how his love for sports influenced his drive to become a sports editor.

When Wasenius started college at Midland University in 1982, he knew right away sports editing was where he wanted to be. Most freshmen in college struggle to find the spark that ignites a fire in what they want to do as a career, but for Wasenius he didn’t have to look too far for his inspiration. “I announced men’s and women’s basketball games as a junior and senior, and instantly fell in love with the fast pace and quick decisions that needed to be made,” he said. That sense of urgency is what motivated Wasenius to push himself more and become the executive editor at the Fremont Tribune as well as his regular role as managing- sports editor.

With nearly 30 years experience as an editor, Wasenius knows what it takes to be the best journalist one can be. “Get a well-balanced education. Know a little bit about everything—politics, history, business, sports, math, etc. And always find a way to differ yourself from others and don’t be afraid of internships!” Wasenius said that being involved in your major is the best way to prepare yourself for the future and gain insight on exactly what you want to do. “I worked for the athletic department at Midland and interned at the Fremont Tribune, so when I applied for a job at the Tribune, they recognized me right away.”

Wasenius said that he owes his experience at the Tribune for his internship in making him realize that editing was where he wanted to be. “The Tribune experience was very beneficial. It showed me what a daily newspaper would be like. I loved the pace and having a tight deadline.”—with-early-bird-title/article_0b003c33-6874-57ac-9a4b-c4a2b93ba7fb.html

A typical day for Wasenius entails a strategic schedule that offers him enough time to balance his workload. “My mornings usually start interviews (for features) and some writing, then at night I cover games and plan the various pages for print and work closely with reporters and other departments on various projects,” he said.

Though Wasenius enjoys covering sports in the Fremont area, he has his eyes set on bigger and better things. “I would love to be a beat writer for a professional baseball team or work for a sports organization,” he said. Another activity Wasenius wishes to pursue one day is to coach a football or basketball team. “I have my coaching endorsement, I’ve considered teaching and coaching, but somehow journalism would’ve been involved.” Though his dream is to one-day work for a professional sports organization, Wasenious enjoys the career he is leading at the Fremont Tribune and finds inspiration everywhere. When asked about what his favorite part about being an editor was Wasenius said, “I believe everyone has an interesting story to tell, where they know it or not, and I like knowing I’m helping make that dream become reality.”


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