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Young digital news editor conquers difficult job market

By Hanna Vasina
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

John Schreier is the digital media editor for The Daily Nonpareil

In a tough job market, many college graduates spend years trying to break into their chosen career.

Not John Schreier.

Since he graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May 2011 with a degree in journalism, Schreier has had three jobs in his field. He’s now digital news editor at The Daily Nonpareil in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  He also had a stint as managing editor at the Papillion Times and as a copy editor at  The Omaha World-Herald.

Schreier is the first person to hold the digital news editor position at The Daily Nonpareil. As the newspaper’s only online staffer, he oversees its Web content and is responsible for pioneering digital initiatives. Part of his job requires Schreier to create an even balance of news and advertising without overwhelming the audience with too much of one or the other.

As the first Web editor at the paper, Schreier also must figure out the best ways to use social networking websites to deliver content to the audience. In a phone interview, he described the challenge that digital technology brings.

“Rather than expecting people to come to us, now we have to bring the news to them,” he said. “It’s a challenge and entertaining at the same time.”

Websites like Facebook and Twitter create a constant battle for journalists, Schreier said. Newspaper must figure out how use them to their advantage.

“Twitter’s crowd is young, and Facebook is a bigger crowd,” he said. “They’re not always the same people.”

Part of the challenge, Schreier said, is making the newspaper’s content  more interesting than the pictures of a friend’s new baby, someone’s engagement photos or the latest celebrity gossip.

Yet the Twitter and Facebook battle is not the hardest part of being a digital news editor; the biggest challenge is competing against larger daily newspapers.

“With everyone trying to get the same story it’s hard,” he said. “We’re the little guy.”

Even with the challenges, Schreier’s job is rewarding. Getting the chance to try something new and have it turn out successful makes his job worth all the hard work, he said.

Schreier’s most successful moment since graduating from UNL came at The Daily Nonpareil, where he produced an audio slideshow that has attracted a lot of reader traffic. It’s a top 10 story for the news organization.

“When you do something new that engages your audience, their reaction is the most rewarding.”

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