No Such Thing as A Typical Day
By Kelsey Hansen
Lanny Holstein, beat writer and editor at “Huskers Illustrated,” has a passion for the Cornhuskers and all things sports. When he realized that we wasn’t good enough to actually play sports at a professional level, he turned to his love of newspapers and consuming sports media and became a sports journalist. In a phone interview, Lanny shared what it’s like to work in such a fast pace field.
“There is no such thing as a typical day for me, everything is very unscheduled and sporadic because we print an entire issue after every Husker football game. I have a very short amount of time to write and edit an in-depth feature story and at times it can be difficult. This job is not for those who need a set schedule,” Holstein said.
Although his job can be difficult at times, Lanny finds that the most rewarding thing about working in journalism is being able to be hands on in creating content that sports fans like himself, can enjoy. Lanny also likes the instantaneous feedback he gets after his work is published, whether it is good or bad.
Every job has its rewards but it also has its challenges too. In the world of sports journalism there are many difficulties that individuals like Lanny must overcome.
“Coming up with good, creative material is extremely difficult because the football team is in such high demand for interviews that us journalists must all talk to the players and staff all at once,” Holstein said.
That means when someone asks a great question to a player or staff member, every journalist receives the same answer, so creating content that is new and exciting using information that everyone already has is very tricky.
“You want your story to be unique but you don’t want it to be so obscure that it comes off as stupid to readers.”
Not only does Holstein’s work need to be creative and unique, but it needs to be well written and error free. Self-editing is very important and is something that he does regularly with every one of his stories to make sure his story is the very best it can be.
“Editing is extremely important in my job. After I write them, I spend a majority of the time re-reading it and making sure there are grammatical mistakes and that my work is accurate. I always want to put my best foot forward when writing and editing my stories so that in the end it’s nearly perfect and ready to publish.”
Every writer and editor has his or her own techniques when it comes to editing a story. There’s a certain process that journalists use, whether it be using a checklist, re-reading the story multiple times or skimming. Holstein’s process is one that is highly used because it is efficient and effective.
“When it comes to editing my work, reading the story out loud always works best. If my story is conversational and can be easily read through, I know my work is done. However, if I notice a sentence that doesn’t seem to end or is super choppy I know my structure needs work. It’s all about how the paper sounds, it needs to be natural,” Holstein said.
In a sport driven state like Nebraska, Holstein’s job as a sports journalist and editor is one that many students aspire to have. For those students with dreams of having a career in sports media, he has some crucial advice.
“If you want a job in sports media it’s pinnacle that you have a driven love for sports. This job is not the most conventional because it takes a lot of your time, time some students may not be willing to give up. Expect to work late nights on weekdays and weekends in order to get the job done. Sometimes you’ll miss out on movie nights with friends but you do eventually have free time. It’s not like you don’t have a life, you still do, but if you have a love for what you’re covering that time won’t feel like a loss.” Holstein said.
So how does one obtain such a high demand job like Lanny’s? Here’s a hint: having experience and connections helps!
“Before I graduated, I worked for the Daily Nebraskan where I was covering Husker football. This meant going to press conferences to get information for my stories, but it also entailed the opportunity to make connections with professionals in the sports journalism field,” Holstein said.
Holstein did his best to network while he was at those conferences and it was the time he spent making connections that led to his now boss calling him for his current job.
“He said I’d be making way more money than I was at the school newspaper, so as a poor college student I accepted the position immediately and have loved it ever since.”