Broadcast producer returns to Lincoln after working in 17 countries
By Harrison Drake
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
As a military journalist, Brett Baker worked all over the world after he left his hometown of Malcolm, Nebraska.
After 22 years away, Baker returned to Nebraska, where he now produces newscasts in Lincoln. For the past three years, he has worked as a content producer at KOLN/KGIN | 10/11 News.
Baker has won awards for his work and has more than 20 years of broadcast experience. He produces 10/11’s 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. shows.
Although Baker wouldn’t change his path or the experiences that he’s had, he offered some advice to people starting out in broadcasting.
“Do what’s best for yourself in that moment,” Baker said in a phone interview.
Baker started out as a student at the UNL but left to join the Air Force as a broadcaster because he wasn’t an awesome student and decided he needed a change in his life.
Baker ended up graduating from the U.S. Military’s Defense Information School in Indianapolis, Indiana. While there, he learned the basics of broadcast. He said the program is like any other university’s but more condensed and intense. He went on to serve nine years in the Air Force across 17 countries.
“As a broadcast journalist in the military you’re kind of a one-man band,” Baker said. “So you when you first go out, you shoot, right? Edit all of your own stuff.” This kind of training allowed Baker to do jobs ranging from morning radio in South Korea to covering the United Nations in Somalia.
One of his last jobs in the Air Force was working for the Air Force News Agency in England. Working for the government in this capacity allowed him access to some of the best and newest technology in broadcasting. His experience helped him get hired at KSAT in San Antonio, Texas.
Baker worked as the senior producer of the sports section at KSAT for 12 years. Sports had always been his true passion. During his time in Texas, he covered four NBA finals and many Super Bowls. But after his daughter received a scholarship to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the family relocated in Lincoln.
After 25 years of experience in the news industry, Baker has interesting insights on news and editing.
Baker’s favorite part of his job is dealing with live and breaking news. He pointed to the morning that Bo Pelini got fired as an example.
“Pulling off awesome live television,” Baker said. “That’s the best stuff.”
When asked about the importance of editing in his job, Baker gave a passionate response.
“I think it’s insanely important,” Baker said. “Good editing is something that most viewers should never notice. It’s conveying a message in a way that has the most impact.”
Baker mentioned that the biggest thing he has to work on with new reporters is editing. Earlier in his career, he attended workshops and classes at the University of Oklahoma through the NPPA (National Press Photographers Association) to learn more about news editing.
“Heavy editing,” he said, “is what creates the difference between great and mediocre news stations.”