Buffington follows boyhood dream to become editor of Fremont Tribune
by Dustin Hunke
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Two days will always stick out for Tracy Buffington in his career as the editor of a daily newspaper.
A little over a month after he became the editor of the Fremont Tribune in Fremont, Neb., terrorists attacked America on Sept.11. Buffington and his staff rushed to get the initial details in the afternoon edition. The newspaper also published an extra, one of the few times the Tribune had ever done so.
The second day he won’t forget happened in June 2011, when a tornado ripped through town. Fremont had not seen a tornado for decades, and residents were shaken by the danger and property damage.
“It was an important few days when everyone on staff jumped in and did a great job of explaining what happened and how people worked together to clean up the mess,” Buffington said.
Both events were big news stories, and Buffington knew from a young age that he wanted to work in the news business.
He liked to write, and he joined the junior high newspaper staff in his hometown of Davenport, Iowa. That experience sealed it: He fell in love with journalism.
In high school, he became a sports reporter for the student paper.
After graduating with a journalism degree from Davenport’s Marycrest College in 1987, his only goal was to find a job as a journalist. After he was hired at Davenport’s Quad-City Times, he set a goal to become the editor of a daily newspaper. In August 2001, he achieved his goal in Fremont.
As editor of the Tribune, Buffington also oversees all the content on the newspaper’s website. He acknowledges that print journalism is declining.
“It’s hard to believe, but when I started working … services like The Associated Press were sending stories and photos via satellite … now, some newspapers are only available online,” he said.
A recent change that signals the end of print journalism is the closing of the Tribune’s printing presses. The paper is now printed in Lincoln at the Lincoln Journal Star’s printing facility and sent to Fremont. The Fremont Tribune and the Journal Star are both owned by Lee Enterprises, and the move was a cost-saving measure.
Still, Buffington remains optimistic about the future and enjoys his job very much.
“The most rewarding part of the job is being able to share breaking news and important information with readers,” Buffington said. “Whether it’s online or in print, I really enjoy working with other members of the Tribune newsroom in getting photos, videos and stories out to the public.”