Lincoln priest combines love of news with religion
By Ruth Jaros
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
The Rev. Nicholas Kipper didn’t become an editor in a traditional way. He did not study journalism, or work his way up the ranks at a newspaper. Instead, the former Bishop of Lincoln, the Most Rev. Fabian Bruskewitz, assigned the job to him.
“It’s something I enjoy doing, but it wasn’t my choice,” Kipper said in a phone interview.
Kipper worked for the Southern Nebraska Register for 3 years as the assistant editor before taking over as editor-in-chief in 2011. He is now in his third year as the editor.
The Southern Nebraska Register is a once-a-week Catholic newspaper. It covers the Diocese of Lincoln. It includes the geographical area that stretches from the border of Kansas and Nebraska to the South Platte River, north to south, and, from east to west, the border of Iowa and Nebraska to the border of Colorado and Nebraska.
Kipper said that serving as the editor of the Register was a lot like being the editor at any other newspaper.
“The principle thing is looking after the overall thrust of the paper,” Kipper said. As the editor, Kipper helps make decisions about which stories to run and how to organize the paper.
Kipper said the goal of the Register is to provide information that is relevant to the lives of Catholics in Nebraska. The Southern Nebraska Register subscribes to a number of Catholic wire services, from which it draws national and international stories.
“We’re always trying to make the stories relative to people’s lives and trying to incorporate that into what people desire here in Nebraska,” Kipper said, “We have to look at the way local and national news connects to our readers.”
Kipper said the Register has a small staff, which means that everyone has to work hard to publish the paper. Because the Register only publishes once a week, on Fridays, Kipper only spends about 20-25 hours a week working on it. But editing the Register is not his only job. He also serves as the assistant pastor of St. Michael’s Parish in Cheney, Nebraska, and he teaches religion classes part-time at St. Pius X High School in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Kipper especially likes the way the paper lets him combine his interest in the news with his faith. Kipper fills many jobs, but being the editor of the diocesan newspaper means that he is always paying attention to potential stories.
“I’ve always enjoyed looking at the news, and this forces me to be paying attention to the world,” Kipper said, “and to what our Holy Father is saying.”
Despite the narrow focus of the Register, Kipper says there are benefits to running a religious newspaper. One of the biggest benefits of the local, religious focus is the loyal, built-in group of subscribers.
“We’re kind of in a unique spot. People still really like the print copy,” Kipper said, “So we don’t have a lot of the issues of print versus online that other papers face.