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Church, not newsroom, was first stop for North Platte editor

By Cade McFadden
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Job Vigil didn’t follow a typical path to becoming a newspaper editor.

He didn’t go to journalism school. He didn’t spend college summers interning at newspapers.  He didn’t work for a student paper.

Instead Vigil became a minister after college.

But these days,  he’s the managing editor of the North Platte Telegraph, one of the major sources of news in western Nebraska.  Vigil, formally of Pueblo, Colo., attended Southern Colorado State University (now known as Colorado State University-Pueblo).

His newspaper career started when he began writing freelance stories for the Telegraph while he was working for the church.  Eventually he worked his way into a job as a sports writer.

After nearly 10 years in the industry, Vigil has seen a major shift  in the industry as readers moved from getting a paper in their driveways each morning to instant access to news online. He talked about his job and life in a recent interview.

Job Vigil, the North Platte Telegraph

Job Vigil became managing editor of the North Platte Telegraph in 2002.

Q: How would you describe your job and what do you do on a daily basis?

A:  My job is to manage the office. I hire employees, direct the news desk, work with copy editors, take care of ordering, hold staff meetings and handle any problem that may come up. I still write sometimes (a recent story here) and go out and take pictures. Sometimes I even help out at the copy desk.

Q: Did you always want to be an editor? What made you interested in editing?

A:  No. I was a minister for many years and began freelance writing for the church.  I eventually got a job writing for the Telegraph covering sports.

Q: How did you get where you are today?

A:  I just kind of fell into this. After I worked here for a while I just moved up and was hired to the managing editor position.

Q: What are some things you like to do in your free time away from the office?

A:  Golf, golf, and … golf.

Q: What is the most common mistake you see?

A:  There are grammatical and punctuation errors that are made, but that is pretty seldom. I would have to say missing a story would be the greatest mistake.

Q: Wasn’t the Telegraph purchased very recently? Has that had an impact on your job of the newspaper as a whole?

A:  The Telegraph was purchased with the World-Herald. It affects the financial side of the newspaper, but not the news side. I guess the owner could have a say in what news does get published, though that would rarely happen where we are not close to headquarters. How the newspaper is today will be how it is in the future.

Q: The Telegraph’s website has been upgraded. Is it a move toward becoming more technologically oriented?

A:  We have to process that idea. When I started here, it was the first year of trying to move to the Internet or just putting our print edition online. We have to be ready to move forward with technology. It allows a news service to publish anything compared to print.

Q: Do you see the Telegraph becoming more involved with social websites and the Internet overall in the future?

A:  The website covers social media and we have used it more. The last couple of years, we have developed a philosophy that technology will play a major role in what we do. In the last year, we have been great with creating a network communication service and it allows us to be able to tell stories faster compared to a few days or even a week. Through the social media, we can give access to stories, photo galleries, videos, and we want our website to be a home for it.

Q: If you could have any other job, what would it be?

A:  A professional golfer. I think that would be a great job.

After navigating changes in the journalism industry, Vigil offers this advice for young journalists: Learn from every angle so you adapt to the changing world of journalism.

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