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:
- Don Aguirre, copy writer, Swanson Russell, by Brook O’Neill
- Kaitlin Ahart, communications director at Marian High School, by Moira Delaney
- Susan Albertus, public relations specialist, Nebraska Department of Economic Development, by Sara Slater
- Graham Archer, online sports editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Tanner Westerholt
- Nathan Arneal, owner, North Bend Eagle, by Meridith Gross-Rhode
- George Ayoub, senior writer, Grand Island Independent, by Reece Ristau
- Ann Baker, manager of editorial, design and production, University of Nebraska-Press, by Kelsey Baker
- Bruce Baker, city editor, McCook Daily Gazette, by Megan Conway
- Doug Barber, general manager and editor of Washington County Enterprise and Pilot-Tribune in Blair, Neb., by C.L. Sill
- Alan Bartels, field assistant editor, Nebraska Life magazine, by Nicole Rauner
- Kathryn Bass, copywriter at Karsh Hogan, by Cassandra Kernick
- Debbie Behne, graphic designer, Hain Publishing, by Shelby Wade
- Gerri Berendzen, editorial production coordinator, Quincy Herald-Whig, by Mason Shumaker
- Jessica Best, marketer at Emfluence:Digital Marketing by Emily Wicht
- Miles Blumhardt, editor of active life and sports, Coloradoan, by Jeremy Shipe
- David Brindley, deputy managing editor for copy and research at National Geographic magazine, by Jasmine Rogers
- Jim Brock, editor of the Nebraska City News-Press, by Madison Wurtele
- Karen Brokaw, owner, Brokaw Marketing, by Brennan Andrews
- Amy Brown, co-publisher and editor, Edible Omaha, by Miranda Milovich
- Mike Brownlee, assistant news editor, The Daily Nonpareil, by Sam Egan
- Linda Bryant, managing editor and publisher, Voice News, by Preston Thiemann
- Tracy Buffington, editor of the Fremont Tribune in Fremont, Neb., by Dustin Hunke
- Dave Bundy, editor, Lincoln Journal Star, by Tiler Thomas
- Dave Bundy, editor, Lincoln Journal-Star, by Yuliya Petrova
- Heather Burns, deputy editor at ESPN, by Natasha Rausch
- Patty Busse, Oakdale, Minn., Patch editor, by Frannie Sprouls
- Sean Callahan, editor, huskeronline.com, by Cameron Dudley
- Jesse Carey, contributing editor, Relevant Magazine, by Veronica Vanderbeek
- Cameron Carlow, sports copy editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Reid Kilmer
- Jim Carmichael, NET sports producer, by Dustin Hoffman
- Zean Carney, former publisher newspaper publisher, by Kaylee Dump
- Doug Carroll, editor, NEBRASKAland magazine, by Gene Curl
- Lee Ann Colacioppo, senior news editor, The Denver Post, by Whitney Carlson
- Bill Connolly, retired New York Times editor, by Asha Anchan
- Sue Copeland, contributing editor, Horse&Rider magazine, by Kelly Schnoor
- Stuart Courtney, online sports editor, Chicago Tribune, by Kyle Williams
- Chris Cubbison, USA Today trends editor, by Chelsea Stromer
- Bruce Crosby, editor of the McCook Daily Gazette, by Matt Palu
- Stephanie Croston, sports editor, Seward County Independent, by Jacob Imig
- Kwame Dawes, editor-in-chief, Prairie Schooner, by Jenna Jaynes
- Mary Dearen, managing editor of the Midland Reporter-Telegram, by Emily Deck
- John DiBiase, editor of Jesus Freak Hideout, by Francesca Torquati
- Darnell Dickson, sports editor, Lincoln Journal Star, by Ross Benes
- Lisa Gregory Dodge, editor of ANCHORA, by Lindsay Esparrago
- Bruce Dold, editor of the editorial page, Chicago Tribune, by Desi Botica
- Jeff Domingues, assistant news editor, The Denver Post, by Faiz Siddiqui
- Thea Dreisbach, editor of Dirt Road Daughters Magazine, by Emily Taylor
- Margaret Ehlers Bohling, page designer, Lincoln Journal Star, by Flora Zempleni
- Leeanna Ellis, online editor at Washington County Pilot Tribune & Enterprise by Sophie Tatum
- Dave Elsesser, news and presentation editor at Omaha World-Herald, by Desire Stephens
- Gale Engle, editor at Indian Hills Community Church, by Kathleen Anderson
- Patrick Ethridge, editor, Beatrice Daily Sun, by Jacob Sorensen
- Rick Epps, presentation editor, The Detroit News, by Kelsey Newman
- Randy Essex, senior news editor, Cincinnati Enquirer, by Anna English
- Jennifer Estep, trader and event marketing specialist, T.D. Ameritrade, by Averi Melcher
- Jim Faddis, managing editor of Grand Island Independent, by Joseph McCarty
- Mary Fastenau, principal, Anthology Marketing Group, by Caitlin Hassler
- Mike Fitzgerald, editor, Nebraska Cattleman, by Jeanna Jenkins
- Mary Flood, legal media consultant at Androvett Legal Media and Marketing, by Lynn Yen
- Steve Fredericks, Scottsbluff Star-Herald, by Brett Brown
- Betsie Freeman, features editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Kelsey Haugen
- Cate Folsom, metro editor, Omaha World-Herald by Chris Dorwart
- Chet Fussman, sports editor, Florida Times-Union, by Kollin Miller
- Michele Gallagher, public relations director of Panerai North America, by Natalie Kozel
- Jonathan García, digital editor for KETV NewsWatch 7, by Ruth Oliver
- Natasha Gardner, digital editor of 5280, a Denver lifestyle magazine, by Sable Holub
- Ted Genoways, former editor, Virginia Quarterly Review, by Ben Kreimer
- Tom Gitter, public relations specialist at Bozell in Omaha, by Josi Orsi
- Nick Goodwin, copywriter, Thought District, by Tiler Grossman
- Larry Graham, executive sports editor, San Diego Union-Tribune, by Eric Bertrand
- Sally Gray, copy editor at Marysville Advocate, by Ben Malotte
- Teddy Greenstein, sports reporter, Chicago Tribune, by Ben McLaughlin
- Clark Grell, art director, Lincoln Journal Star, by Alex Lantz
- Joe Gulick, editorial page editor, Lubbock Avalanche Journal, by Sarah Jo Lambert
- Ryan Hamm, managing editor of Relevant, by Lindsey Richards
- Laura Haraldson, managing editor of several magazines for Tiger Oak Publications, by Maria Lusk
- Kurtis Harms, executive producer, Market Journal, by Alex Wach
- Jim Headley, managing editor, Fairbury Journal-News, by Paige Comreid
- John Heaston, publisher and editor of The Reader in Omaha, by Cara Wilwerding
- Carly Heitlinger, editor, Levo League, by Margaret Bassett
- Bailey Hemphill, assistant editor, Omaha Publications, by Brittany Schave
- Felecia Henderson, assistant managing editor features and design, The Detroit News, by Brianna Foster
- Todd Henrichs, city editor, Lincoln Journal Star, by Liang Xiang
- Shauna Hermel, editor of the Angus Journal, by By Ellen Hoffschneider
- Kati and Levi Hime, owners and editors of Wyoming Lifestyle, by Avery Sass
- Curt Hineline, managing editor, Oakland Independent, by Elizabeth Uehling
- Jane Hirt, managing editor, Chicago Tribune, by Hailey Konnath
- Johnna Hjersman, copy editor, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, by Kelly O’Malley
- Sharon Hoffmann, assistant features editor Kansas City Star, by Chris Nelson
- Neil Holdway, news editor, Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, by Adam Kroft
- Roger Holmes, former editor at Fine Woodworking magazine, by Doug Norby
- Margaret Holt, standards editor the Chicago Tribune, by Jessica Gibbs
- Tyler Huckabee, managing editor, Relevant Magazine, by Veronica Venderbeek
- Catharine Huddle, assistant city editor, Lincoln Journal Star, by Zach Tegler
- Maj. Kevin Hynes, editor of Prairie Soldier and public affairs officer Army and Air National Guard, by Heidi Krueger
- Matthew Hynes, photographer, by Anne-Marie Schneider
- Darren Ivy, publisher, Doniphan Herald, by Heather Haskins
- Josh Jackson, Paste magazine editor, by Brennan Shively
- Kelly Johnson, Sunday business editor, Washington Post, by Katie Nelson
- Kurt Johnson, editor and publisher Aurora News-Register, by Kaci Hixson
- Brady Jones, page designer, Omaha World-Herald, by Alicia Mikoloyck
- Mike Kellams, associate managing editor / sports, Chicago Tribune, by Emily Nitcher
- The Rev. Nicholas Kipper, editor, Southern Nebraska Register, by Ruth Jaros
- Ted Kirk, photo editor, Lincoln Journal Star, by Kevin Kuehl
- Jane Kleeb, founder and editor of Bold Nebraska, by Shelby Fleig
- Lonna Kliment, director of ticket marketing for University of Nebraska-Lincoln Athletics, by Jeff Chestnut
- Adam Klinker, editor, Ralston Recorder, by Sara Janak and Robert Vencil
- Jeff Knox, senior director of photography at The Daily Herald in Chicago, by Dena Lorenson
- Julie Koch, copy editor, the Lincoln Journal Star, by Sara Hinds
- Jessica Kokesh, regional editor, Kearney Hub, by Sawyer Davidson
- Mike Konz, Kearney Hub editor, by Abby Schipporeit
- Doug Kouma, managing editor, Meredith Corp., by Morgan Horton
- David Krause, sports executive producer, 9news, by Bailey Neel
- Shelly Kulhanek, assistant city editor, Lincoln Journal Star, by Rebecca Carr
- Marianne Kunkel, managing editor, Prairie Schooner, by Julia Jackson
- Jeff Kurrus, associate editor, NEBRASKAland, by Olivia Johnson
- Patrick Lalley, editor, Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, by Jourdyn Kaarre
- Eric Larsen, senior editor for content at Coloradoan, by Alexa West
- George Lauby, editor of North Platte Bulletin, by Ryan Nielson
- Meg Lauerman, director of communications for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, by Amanda Schmidt
- Jessica Lavicky, e-content managing editor, Farm Progress, by Emma Likens
- Thad Livingston, sports editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Teddy Lampkin
- Josie Loza, momaha.com editor, by Emily Eckel
- Kristen Lueck, senior account executive Man Made Music, by Emily Trofholz
- Ruben Luna, associate sports editor, The Detroit News, by Connor Stange
- Tim Lyford, news editor, Argus Leader in South Dakota, by Elias Youngquist
- Karen Magnuson, editor and vice president at the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y., by Julia Benson
- Buck Mahoney, sports editor at the Kearney Hub, by Sam Peshek
- Jamie May, senior associate editor, BEEF Magazine, by Mollie Wilken
- Don McCabe, editor, Nebraska Farmer, by Melissa Keyes
- Sarah McCallister, copy editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Michael Stanek
- Pat McFadden, Page 1 editor, St. Paul Pioneer Press, by Frannie Sprouls
- Meg McGuire, public relations manager at Charming Charlie, by Molly Deaver
- Terry McHale, California lobbyist and editor, by Michelle Baker
- Terry McKeighan, news editor, Fremont Tribune, by Madison Bell
- Bridget McQuillan, content market coordinator at FlyWheel, by Anna Rosenlof
- Micah Mertes, online entertainment editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Annie Bohling
- Ben Meyerson, news editor, Sun-Times Media Group, by Cara Snower
- Terry Miles, co-owner, Frontier and Holt County Independent, by Adam Pribil
- Chad Millman, editor-in-chief of ESPN The Magazine, by Haley Whisennand
- Elisabeth Mistretta,news editor, Sun-Times Media Group, by Cara Snower
- Scott Monserud, sports editor, Denver Post, by Crystal Zamora
- David Moore, executive creative director, Thought District, by Elise Genaidy
- Alan Mores, co-publisher of Harlan Tribune, by Chelsea Musfedlt
- Lyle Muller, executive director of the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, by Andrew Ward
- Carrie Naylor, publisher of Bertrand Herald, by Jeff Renken
- Dawn Needham, deputy news editor, The Detroit News, by Paige Cornwell
- Christopher Nelson, road test editor, Automobile magazine, by Alexander Hall
- Katie Nieland, graphic designer, Chicago Tribune, by Kaitlyn Nelsen
- Andrew Norman, co-founder, director and editor of Hear Nebraska, by Erika Kime
- Brian Norton, online sports editor, Omaha World-Herald, by James Voboril
- Katie Novak, news editor, Burt County Plaindealer, by Jacob Bryant
- Max Ortiz, multimedia producer, The Detroit News, by Emily Walkenhorst
- Crystal Owens, assistant editor, Loudoun Times-Mirror, by Emily Rust
- Amy Palser, managing editor, Hastings Tribune, by Chloe Gibson
- Kate Parry, assistant managing editor, Minneapolis Star Tribune, by Lani Hanson
- Linda Persigehl, managing editor of Omaha Publications, by Kylie Morrison-Sloat
- Linda Persigehl, former managing editor, Omaha Magazine, by Michaela Noble
- Courtney Pitts-Mattern, copy editor at Omaha World-Herald, by Alissa Shanahan
- Zach Pluhacek, online editor, Lincoln Journal Star, by Emily Walkenhorst
- Nick Piastowski, assistant sports editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Connor Schuessler
- Scott Poese, station manager, KBRX in O’Neill, Neb., by Marc Zakrzewski
- R.J. Post, assistant managing editor, Grand Island Independent, by Jacy Marmaduke
- Heather Price, copy editor/page designer, Lincoln Journal Star, by Bethany Schmidt
- Tomari Quinn, editor and director of audience development at Topeka Capital-Journal, by Jordan Huesers
- Sue Ramsett, news director for KOLN/KGIN 10-11, by Zach Revense
- Jennifer Ramundt, copy chief and assistant managing editor at Meredith Corp., by Lizzie Moran
- Anne Raup, photo editor, Anchorage Daily News, by Kaylee Everlee
- Andy Raun, regional editor, Hastings Tribune, by Daniel Buhrman
- Lisa Reid, field editor of Showtimes Jr. Livestock Magazine, by Samantha Schneider
- Erin Reynolds, project and brand manager, Archrival, by Jonathan Crutchfield
- Guy Reynolds, Willa Cather scholarly edition books editor, by Weston Poor
- Bill Rischmueller , operator of Wakefield Republican, by Daniel Vanderveen
- Mary Lou Rodgers, editor, Douglas County Post-Gazette, by Sarah Vogel
- Linda Rosenberg, director of copy editing at Penguin books, by Morgan Spiehs
- Corey Russman, editor at Sandhills Publishing, by Julia Peterson
- Burt Rutherford, senior editor, BEEF Magazine, by Valerie Kesterson
- Deb Shanahan, Money editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Michael Bishop
- Kayla Schlechter, field communications manager for POET, by Miranda Broin
- Nicole Schmoll, freelance copywriter, by Haley E. Barber
- John Schreier, digital news editor at The Daily Nonpareil in Council Bluffs, Iowa, by Hanna Vasina
- Gary Schwab, senior sports editor, Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News & Observer, by Gage Peake
- Mark Schwaninger, L magazine in Lincoln, Neb., by Kayla Stauffer
- Brien Seifferlein, video editor, NET Nebraska, by Will Stott
- Kevin Selders, associate editor, Ascend Integrated Media, by Joe Thiesfeld
- Lew Serviss, staff editor, The New York Times, by Carrie Niemeier
- Howard Sinker, digital sports editor, Minneapolis Star Tribune, by Josh Skluzacek
- Amber Smith, news producer at KOLN-KGIN 10/11, by Lindsey Berning
- Patrick Smith, online editor at Omaha World-Herald, by Annie Pigaga
- Dave Stagg, owner and editor, HM Magazine, by Ben Rickaby
- Chip Souza, sports editor of the Northwest Arkansas Times, by Robby Korth
- Larry Sparks, a former online editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Kyle Cummings
- Chris Spurlock, graphics editor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, by Anna English
- Christine Steele, senior copy editor, The Capital Group Companies, by Gabbi Nicole
- Kathy Steinauer Smith, community investment manager at Woods Charitable Fund, by Griffith Swidler
- Hilary Stohs-Krause, multimedia reporter and online editor, NET, by Margaret Baker
- Colleen Stoxen, assistant managing editor for Page One, Minneapolis Star Tribune, by Angela Hensel
- Ginger Stringer, Web editor for the Columbia Daily Tribune in Columbia, Mo., by Demetria Stephens
- Tim Summers, graphics editor, The Detroit News by Mikala Kolander
- Jenny Sundberg, brand communications manager at Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, by Jolene Dreier
- Marissa Tankersley, editor of Drive, by Amanda Schutz
- Rob Taylor, sports acquisition editor, University of Nebraska Press, by Libby Mason
- Ryan Terrell, news editor, Suburban Life, by Margaret Sorce
- John Teti, senior editor at the A.V. Club, by Drew Preston
- Tyler Thomas, owner and writer of the blog Nebraska Foodie, by Lauren Grace Bejot
- Michael Todd, managing editor, Hear Nebraska, by Matthew Masin
- Mike Vandermause, sports editor and columnist at the Green Bay Press Gazette, by John Howell
- Ben Vankat, online editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Anna Gronewold
- Susan Veidt, president U.S. Central Region of FleishmanHillard, by Nicole Emanuel
- Brandon Vogel, managing editor at Hail Varsity, by Sarah Frey
- Krista Vogel, account manager, Hurrdat Social Media, by Sherene Al-Turk
- Job Vigil, managing editor of the North Platte Telegraph, by Cade McFadden
- Curt Wagner, features editor, RedEye, by Ally Phillips
- Kent Warneke, editor, Norfolk Daily News, by Michael Menish
- Darrell Wellman, managing editor, Nemaha County Herald, by Thomas Shelly
- Sandra Wendel, owner Write On, Inc., by Michaela Odens
- Metta West, copy editor, Meredith Corp., by Cristina Woodworth
- Kevin Wilkins, editor, of Skateboard Mag, by James Pace-Cornsilk
- David Williams, editor Omaha magazine, by Jillian Humphries
- Melanie Wilkinson, news editor, York News Times, by Kelsey Baldridge
- Bill Windler, sports editor, Milwaukee Journal Star, by Jake Sueflohn
- Connie White, state government editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Jaime Melton
- Mark Zeligman, assistant sports editor, Kansas City Star, by Chris Heady
- David Zenlea, associate editor, Automobile magazine, by Alexander Hall
- Sara Ziegler, entertainment editor at Omaha World-Herald, by Maranda Louglin
- Chuck Zimmerman, founder, ZimmComm New Media LLC, by Kristi Block
- Joeth Zucco, senior project editor, University of Nebraska Press, by Jordan Kranse
By Harper Lundgren
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Halperin attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick as a history major on a 4 1/2 year plan and started her career without graduating. She worked for the school paper and began her own entertainment blog called Smug. Finding her love for music, Halperin turned her blog into a magazine and ran it for five years.
She’s been blogging and writing since she left college. She spent time writing for Idol Tracker, an entertainment blog, and for Us Weekly in her career.
But her love for history put her in the news room, Halperin said. She’s intrigued by the way people handle life now compared to how they have in the past. And breaking news gives her a competitive rush. In college, Halperin also found a love for theater and music. With all of these passions, she took her future into her own hands.
“I totally went the opposite way and started as an entrepreneur for my own magazine,” Halperin said, “and then went to work for a mainstream magazine.”
Being an editor of her own publication was just the beginning of her career. Her success took her to publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly and Wenner Media. Now, she splits her time between Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter. She also has written a book called “Top Line” that focuses on the journalism behind the entertainment.
“Time flies when you’re stressing out,” Halperin said. She starts her day at 7:00 a.m. with a meeting in New York. Then she’s checking her 100 to 200 emails. Her priorities include finding pieces, editing stories, setting up layouts and the overall design of the magazine. Living in New York creates a non-stop day, especially when The Hollywood Reporter isn’t exactly a daily commute. Never stopping is the lifestyle she prefers.
Her world revolves around the music industry. Legal cases, money, who goes to what concert and news are what she curates for her publications. “It’s a really big business that’s shifting right now,” Halperin said about the entertainment industry.
Being deeply involved and talking with musicians is just one of the many perks of her job.
Her passions are clear. “I am kind of a newshound, and I like breaking news and being competitive with really established publications like The New York Times; I love playing in the big leagues, the music industry and what a screwed up place it is,”she said.
When asked about the challenges, Halperin hardly hesitated. “Working in print is very challenging; it’s a different time. The production world doesn’t jive with the digital world,” Halperin said. She has a hard time getting the digital people to cooperate with the print people and vice versa. Print and digital run on different clocks. As an editor, she needs to make sure the publication is running smoothly.
Halperin’s advice for future entertainment lovers is to spend time on the journalism side of things. Halperin often refers to how the world of journalism as shifting, not only with a move to digital but with ethics. Her main concern lies with how “wild westing,” a term she used to refer to bloggers who are appearing too often in publications. She believes there is a time and place for everything. Knowing the rules of the newsroom should be a main concern.
“Really learn proper journalism, what’s right and wrong, what the rules are and good ethics,” Halperin said. Even though she didn’t finish school, she values the ethics lessons she learned while there. “It’s a bit of a dying breed but still needed.”
By Alyssa Theilen
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Jeanne Schieffer is proof that picking a versatile major is a key to success.
Her fine arts major from the University of South Dakota didn’t get her exactly where she had planned, but she is glad it got her to Columbus, Nebraska, where she is the corporate communications and public relations manager at the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD).
Initially, Schieffer dreamed of going to New York City to put her love for English and theater to work after college. But the reality of a big city made this South Dakota native timid. Schieffer decided she could put her major to use somewhere other than Broadway.
After graduation, Schieffer was offered a job as an English teacher in Norfolk, Nebraska. The pay for teachers was much higher in Nebraska than South Dakota, so she took the job. After seven years of teaching, Schieffer decided teaching wasn’t fulfilling enough for her and she needed a change. She had previous experience publishing small pieces for students and freelancing for a small advertising firm. But she realized she was far too busy doing it all as a mother of two.
Toward the end of her teaching career, Schieffer toured the power company for a school-related event. It had a communications position open. Her love for creativity and wish to use writing in a dynamic way drove her to apply.
NPPD is the state’s largest utility company providing electricity to 86 of the 93 counties in Nebraska. More than 2,000 employees in over 30 facilities in the state serve over 600,000 Nebraskans. Its revenues total about $1 billion a year.
Being the corporate communications and public relations manager, while leading a team of 17 people, keeps Schieffer busy. Her team members are media specialists. Schieffer uses social media, such as Facebook, daily. Her team creates advertisements, generates press releases and produces a daily newsletter.
“An open door policy is very important to me,” Schieffer said. She likes to be visible to her team and available to advise, to answer questions, and to approve a video or story. Before 8 a.m. and after 6 p.m. she makes phone calls, replies to emails, and keeps organized to be as productive during business hours as possible. No work day is normal for her; every day brings new tasks.
Schieffer has seen major changes in the industry since she first began her communications job in 1995. Now more than ever, Schieffer said it is important to show you can balance life, jobs, clubs and school all at once. If you cannot show this to potential employers, finding a job upon graduation will be difficult.
“Be willing to show initiative,” she said, “and always go beyond the required.”
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Wright graduated from the University of Missouri in Columbia in 1983. During his time at the university he worked for the Columbia Missourian, the daily newspaper produced by the School of Journalism.
Following his graduation, Wright began working for the Columbia Daily Tribune as the assistant sports editor.
He left the Columbia Daily Tribune five years later for the The Denver Post as a page designer before being promoted to deputy sports editor.
His primary responsibilities are coverage of the Denver Broncos (NFL) and Colorado Avalanche (NHL). Wright is also the assigning editor for Denver University hockey and lacrosse.
Wright said that a difference between being a sports editor compared to a news editor is the amount of national competition. Because the Broncos and Avalanche are professional sports teams, Wright said media companies like ESPN and Yahoo Sports produce more national coverage that The Denver Post has to compete against.
“You are always trying to stay on top of getting stories posted, getting tweets posted as quickly as you possibly can,” Wright said. “It’s a little bit different from that standpoint.”
Although it is an adrenaline rush for Wright, it is not necessarily a part of the job he is thrilled about.
In-depth features are what drew Wright to journalism in the first place.
“From an adrenaline point, it’s not as meaningful as doing something with more reporting,” Wright said.
Being inquisitive is a trait Wright said makes a good editor. He always asks his writers questions in order to gather more and better in-depth knowledge of a subject.
A day-to-day aspect of Wright’s position is taking time to consider whether the information his staff produces is accurate, even in the race to be first.
“Maybe there are times when you have to step back and ask yourself questions about the source,” Wright said. “You have to be certain that you are relying on good sources.”
An important role of an editor is making sure the story is understandable for any reader. Wright said he hopes a reader with no knowledge of football or the Broncos will be able to read a story and understand it.
To get stories to readers, Wright and his staff use social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter.
“It is very important and something that anybody in the business right now is paying attention to,” Wright said.
A challenge that the entire industry is facing today is coming up with a way to be more profitable.
“There is always a challenge of covering a story and going in depth as you can,” Wright said, “but newspapers and magazines are hurting in this point in time because basically more people are getting the product online and our numbers are dwindling for subscriptions.”
Wright believes the biggest challenge is finding a way to continue to produce good journalism while modifying the ways it is presented to readers.
By Amber Wright
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Mary Kay Roth is the director of communications at Lincoln Public Schools. In that role, she has many roles including managing social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram along with handling print and video material. She also deals with newspaper reporters, edits documents and works with the board of education.
If you were to tell the young Roth in college that she would be on the other side of reporting — dealing with reporters — she wouldn’t have believed it.
Roth triple-majored at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in philosophy, journalism and English. Her goal when she graduated from college was to be a reporter at The New York Times.
After graduation, Roth worked as a newspaper reporter for the Beatrice Daily Sun, then moved to Florida to work for the Lakeland Ledger. She moved to upstate New York as an environment and feature reporter for what was then the Binghamton News Press.
Eventually, Roth moved back to Lincoln to settle down. She worked at the Lincoln Journal Star and covered the environment. During her last five years at the paper, she switched to the education beat. After having two children, her interests had changed. Her interest for education began so moving to her current job seemed natural.
“It was hard at that point; it was a different world,” Roth said when talking about becoming a writer.
Roth loved writing, but she knew it would be difficult to land a job at a magazine as a writer. She didn’t know it then, but she loved to tell people’s stories.
“I love how you can put words together and do magical things,” Roth said. “I’m passionate about making a difference.”
Having experience reporting and dealing with reporters has helped Roth see news from both sides. Newspaper reporters want the scoop as soon as possible, but for Roth, the safety of staff and students come first.
“Open the door and be transparent,” Roth said her philosophy is when it comes to reporters. “News reporters can make a difference.”
Social media is growing every day. It has become a great source for breaking news everywhere. Being quick is an important factor, but being thoughtful is another huge factor Roth stresses.
When Roth was a reporter she relied heavily on copy editors. Now having no copy editor at her position at Lincoln Public Schools, she has created a mental checklist that she follows. Here are her steps:
- Look for clarity.
- Craft a clear opening.
- Ask yourself if the story flows well
- Check for spelling, grammar and AP style (don’t use spellcheck)
“Writing is a valuable commodity,” Roth said. “Reporting isn’t the same as it used to be. I’m not sure I know what is going to happen with newspapers. I hope they continue.”
Roth’s advice to college students: “Don’t narrow your focus on what you want to do. You can do a lot of things if you keep your options broad in your head and have as many experiences as you can.”
By Julia Oestmann
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Journalism was a passion Kathleen Rutledge didn’t know was calling until a few years after graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a bachelor’s degree in English.
When Rutledge was laid off from her job working with developmentally disabled children, she went back to school to take a few graduate-level courses in journalism. Despite never graduating from the master’s program she was technically enrolled in, her illustrious career at the Lincoln Journal and Lincoln Journal Star consisted of positions at almost every level of the newspaper hierarchy, including editor-in-chief.
Rutledge was 24 when one of her professors at UNL helped her get a job in the Lincoln Journal newsroom. With virtually no real-world experience in the journalism, she began as the newspaper’s death and weather clerk, and floated among other reporting positions.
“It’s all consuming if you’re passionate about what you’re doing,” she said, “because there’s always another story you can get. There’s always another angle you can nail down.”
It was an opening for statehouse reporter that truly ignited Rutledge’s passion for journalism. During a time when it was still unusual for women to be given “hard news beat” assignments, she said the Lincoln Journal managing editor originally planned to ask Rutledge’s husband for permission before offering her the job. It was one of the other editors, she said, who convinced him that this was unnecessary.
Rutledge spent 12 years covering the Nebraska Legislature and government. Though she refers to these years as her favorite among the years she spent at the paper, she eventually knew it was time for a change.
“You get to the point where you’ve heard every issue, and you know all of the personalities, and it just sort of becomes routine,” Rutledge said.
And so her career as an editor began.
Rutledge spent two years as an opinion editor, but when the Lincoln Journal merged with the Lincoln Star in 1995, her position was eliminated and she was named city editor of the Lincoln Journal Star. The abnormal circumstances brought by the merger meant Rutledge had been appointed to a position for which she had essentially no experience. She was used to learning on the job, however, and was promoted to managing editor two years later.
“Management,” she said, “is almost more consuming because you’re trying to accomplish your goals through the talents of other people.” It’s a job that takes more psyche and involves many more factors, but nevertheless Rutledge enjoyed the challenge.
In 2001, Rutledge took over as the top editor at the Lincoln Journal Star. As a former statehouse reporter, Rutledge said the controversy she was least prepared for was the public backlash easily triggered by the sports page — particularly by coverage of the Cornhusker football program. In 2003, the Lincoln Journal Star reported that Cornhusker football coach Frank Solich was being ousted by the university’s new athletic director Steve Pederson.
“There was just a firestorm of public reaction to that story,” Rutledge said. Evoking outrage from Husker fans across the state, the paper even drew harsh remarks from Harvey Perlman, who was the University of Nebraska-Lincoln chancellor at the time. Rutledge defended her staff and the paper for reporting the truth about the athletic department’s decision before a statement had been issued to the public.
This would be neither the first nor the last time her paper’s sports section would be scrutinized. That same year Rutledge announced that, out of respect for Native people, the paper would no longer be using the term “redskin” to refer to Washington’s professional football team. This policy came about when the issue was raised by several Native American employees who believed using the name was wrong.
In response to her statement, the Lincoln Journal Star was berated on sports talk shows across the nation, Rutledge said.
The decision didn’t just elicit negative responses, however. The Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs (NCIA) recognized the paper’s coverage of all Native issues by presenting the Lincoln Journal Star with a star quilt. Rutledge said this was among her proudest moments as editor.
Rutledge retired from the Lincoln Journal Star in 2007, but said that elements of both journalism and editing remain critical in her life as she works with different organizations and nonprofits. One of her most recent projects includes helping the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute with marketing and messaging.
Critical thinking skills are important no matter which industry one joins, Rutledge said, “and the ability to stand outside of a story, so you’re looking at it as objectively as you can, and thinking about ways to verify and document.”
Rutledge said she’s fascinated by looking for new directions to take a piece of writing. “If you have time to do that,” she said. “I mean sometimes you’re in the Legislature, and you’ve just got 15 minutes to write a story.”
By Jeremy Davis
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Tyler Cavalli knew since high school that he wanted to do something in broadcasting.
When Cavalli started job shadowing at KPMX, a radio station in Sterling, Colorado, he knew he had found his calling. He loved sports but instead of playing them, he wanted to talk about them. Since his high school didn’t have opportunities for students to announce at games, he job shadowed and did color commentary for the station to build experience.
Getting involved with the station really made him fall in love with sports broadcasting. He knew it was something that he wanted to pursue as a career.
Cavalli majored in broadcasting at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. At UNK, he was the sports director for three years, which gave him experience covering different events.
Cavalli got a job with KRVN, a radio station in Lexington, Nebraska, after he graduated and has been there since. He is a news editor and anchor at the station. Along with news coverage and some production work, Cavalli hosts a country music show on Sunday afternoons.
Even though Cavalli grew up on a cattle ranch near Lodgepole, Nebraska, he said that he hadn’t thought of going into rural radio. “It never really crossed my mind,” he said.
“You have to be talented in more aspects than one,” Cavalli said. “In this industry, you must be able to write, edit and even shoot video.”
In the day-to-day work at a radio station, everyone has to write and edit their own stories. “In radio there really isn’t an editor,” he said.
“KRVN has a huge variety to what they cover,” Cavalli said. “With agricultural and regular news, sports and music there are many things to pay attention to.”
On a normal day at KRVN, Cavalli starts off managing all of KRVN’s social media. This includes updating the station’s Twitter, Facebook and website. In addition to the station’s Twitter account, he also updates his personal KRVN account. Along with social media, he also does promos for KRVN-sponsored events like concerts.
The rest of the day Cavalli works on getting news compiled for newscasts in the afternoon. If there is severe weather, he will often go on scene. He said it is exciting when he gets to cover weather and fires live.
“Much of my day is consumed with doing interviews,” Cavalli said. “Interviews are a great way to get a personal look into the story we are covering in a newscast.”
At 3 p.m., Cavalli starts doing newscasts. The newscasts are usually recorded and then produced. Doing newscasts this way allows for all of the information and interview sound bites to be put together seamlessly. Cavalli said that if he has to do a newscast live he will, but he likes to have them done ahead of time so he is free if a big story breaks or if he needs to go cover something.
Cavalli loves his job and loves working for KRVN. He encourages students going into journalism to do as much as they can.
“Anything you can do to get experience helps in the long run. Even if it is just some job shadowing.”