Home > finals > Editor’s insatiable curiosity propels community paper

Editor’s insatiable curiosity propels community paper

Sara Janak
University of Nebraska- Lincoln

Adam KlinkerEditor of the Ralston Recorder.

Adam Klinker,
editor of the Ralston Recorder.

Adam Klinker was a journalism student for about two weeks at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln.

He was torn between journalism and English, but Klinker decided to pursue English and history. After graduating, he worked as a reporter for the Beatrice Daily Sun. After two and a half years there, he attended the University of Kansas and obtained a master’s degree in literature. He eventually went on to work at the Ralston Recorder, where he’s been the editor for two and a half years.

Klinker said he didn’t follow the typical path of a journalism student; he didn’t have any internships. However, he worked at the Daily Nebraskan throughout hiscollege career, and that experience is what helped him break into the industry.

“I actually wrote just about everything for the DN. I wrote sports, news, city council, crime, I reviewed some movies,“ Klinker said. “By virtue of that experience, they hired me on at Beatrice.”

Klinker’s job at the Ralston Recorder, a weekly newspaper, isn’t like most editing jobs.

“I don’t know that there’s anything that really is typical,” he said, but “Monday and Tuesdays are the most regimented days around here because that’s when the production cycle starts.”

He spends the rest of the week seeking out story ideas and bringing them to fruition.

Klinker said one of the toughest parts of his job is coming up with the dominant front-page story, but perhaps the most challenging is that he’s producing the paper himself.

“I’m unique in that I’m a one-man operation. I do everything except sell the ads,” he said. “That can be great, honestly, because I have much more autonomy in this newsroom.”

He enjoys the freedom, but said he can’t bounce ideas off anyone, and that can be challenging.

“I’d say even more challenging than coming up with the stories ideas is dealing with that dynamic,” he said. “All the pressure is on me.”

Klinker said the best part of his job is being independent, and that he gets to do what he loves: writing and telling stories.

“Writing has always been something very important to me, but I’m reminded of something  Dorothy Parker said, she was one of our great humorists of the last century, she said ‘I hate writing, but I love having written,’” Klinker said. “That puts my perspective into sharper relief, because that’s exactly it. Writing is hard, you open up a vein and you just let it run, then it’s over and you feel better about yourself.”

Klinker said the Ralston Recorder is trying to adapt to the changing landscape of journalism, but it’s been a bit of a struggle. The majority of readers prefer to receive the paper the traditional way.

Klinker said his readers don’t want to see breaking news in the Recorder because they can get that from many other sources.

They’re more interested in stories that highlight the community, and he cherishes telling those stories.

“I love telling people stories, and I’m inspired by people and what they do, and I want them to be known,” he said. “We are essentially, every week, creating scrapbook.”

Journalism’s future is on Web, but students need old-fashioned skills

By Robert Vencil
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The digital age is changing journalism, and that’s not always easy for newspaper editors.

The Ralston Recorder, a weekly newspaper, is trying to establish more of a Web presence, said Editor Adam Klinker.  The Recorder has a website, but it is housed on Omaha.com. The Recorder is part of Suburban Newspapers, a division of the Omaha World-Herald.  Klinker also set up a Twitter account and created a Facebook page for the paper, but he said he doesn’t use it as much as he should.

The company would like to use the Recorder as a sandbox in the digital world, Klinker said.  He expects the paper to become more of a 24-hour digital news source by moving online.

“The print is in its twilight,” Klinker said, “and the sun hasn’t even risen over the horizon on the Web.”

But he recognizes that long-time subscribers who have gotten a print paper for years expect to see it on their doorsteps every Wednesday.

“It comes down to your readership,” Klinker said. “There’s just more gravity in print.”  The Recorder contains a lot of small-town features and it’s all about the names, Klinker said.  “People want to see their sons and daughters, nieces and nephews in the paper.”

That style of writing doesn’t fit as well on the Web.

Journalism students today are used to hearing how they need to learn to tell stories on all different forms of media to be successful, but Klinker has another idea.  He thinks the key to success for students is leaving college with a well-rounded education and the ability to talk to people.

“Too many journalists think they know everything,” Klinker said.  “They don’t socialize.  They’re just there for the information.”

Students, he said, need to learn what they can about all they can, but still need to approach a subject like a child.  “You need to put yourself out there,” he said.  To him, it seems as if they human element has left journalism.

“Lost is the idea of the journalist being the guy you can talk to, but still be wary of.”

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