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.”
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 Bridget Anderson
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Katie Atkinson’s job as senior editor for Billboard.com 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
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 Billboard.com.
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.”
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 http://www.dioceseofgrandrapids.org/multimedia/pages/faithgr.aspx#.VmhzObQk_0s
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.http://www.swnewsmedia.com/jordan_independent/
“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 MLB.com 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
COURTESY PHOTO OMAHA WORLD-HERALD
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, 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.
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.”
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.”