Seward sports editor enjoys life, career in small town
By: Jacob Imig
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Small towns are nothing new to Stephanie Croston. She grew up in Franklin, Neb., which has about 1,000 people. She graduated from Kensington High School in Kansas, which is about 30 miles south of Franklin. Kensington has a population of just under 500 people.
Croston has lived in small towns her whole life. It’s no surprise that she’s carving out her career in one too.
As a freshman at Kensington, her father, who was the yearbook adviser, asked Croston to take a picture of a high jumper at a track meet. She didn’t know a lot about taking pictures, but she took some good pictures. Her father asked her at the end of the year to help him design and format the yearbook. She enjoyed doing that and thought it might be a good career for her.
So she studied journalism at Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C.
Now, Croston is the sports editor at the Seward County Independent, published in a town of less than 7,000 people. She coordinates sports coverage each week for Milford, Centennial, Malcolm and Seward. Croston also serves as the copy editor, proofreading everything that goes into the paper.
One of the biggest challenges Croston faces is the state track and field championships in Omaha, Neb. Each year, the Independent covers teams that send about 40 athletes to the meet. The events are spread out, which makes taking pictures of every athlete difficult. Coordinating coverage can be difficult. Updating the latest information on the Independent’s website and also its Facebook page is another challenge. However, her team gets the job done.
Working for a small town newspaper has its advantages, Croston said. If something is happening, residents will tell the paper because it’s important to them. Also, reporters get to know the people they are covering. On the flip side, the town gets to know reporters too. A reporter might run into someone on the street and that person might have hurt feelings about what the reporter wrote.
Still, Croston doesn’t mind. “I have been doing this long enough that it doesn’t affect me,” Croston said in an interview. It’s important to be a professional.
Croston’s advice for students includes:
- Don’t get boxed in. Students should take a wide variety of classes. For instance, Croston took Introduction to Business in college because she wanted to have some background knowledge in case she ever had to interview a business person.
- Take a photography class. Croston believes it should be a part of every journalism program.
- Take a variety of writing classes. Creative writing might be the most important. Creative writing can help journalists write better feature stories.
- Be involved in other activities. Being a well-rounded person is important. During a day, Croston may talk to the superintendent of schools, Seward High School Athletic Director or a head librarian. Taking a wide variety of subjects is very important.