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Editor always strives to make a story the best it can be

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By Josh Nedved
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

To succeed in journalism, take all of the opportunities you’re offered.

That’s how Tim Weber gained valuable experience before landing a job as a copy editor at the Lincoln Journal Star.

After graduating from Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa, Weber worked at a small paper in Missouri for a year. He then went on to work at four newspapers in Iowa, including Iowa City Press-Citizen and Iowa City Gazette.

“I got my feet wet,” Weber said, referring to all of the training and practice he went through as a sports editor at smaller papers. Besides editing, he also had some experience taking photos and writing stories.

Weber’s first two years at the Journal Star were spent as a news copy editor before he was assigned to sports.

“I’ve always loved sports,” Weber said. “I played them as a kid growing up. I love reading about sports.”

His passion for sports and his writing talents come together to make for an enjoyable job as a sports copy editor.

When asked what a typical workday is like, Weber said there really isn’t one.

“It’s different every day,” he said. “It depends on what I am assigned.”

Each day, three copy editors work on the sports section. One is the layout person, who is in charge for the night. That person comes in earlier than the others and helps plan the section for the day. The other two copy editors assist the layout person, editing stories and making sure stats are correct.

“We are there to help out as needed,” Weber said. The roles are switched around equally among the three.

When talking about challenges as an editor in today’s world, Weber said, “Editing in journalism gets harder as time goes on. There’s a large work load and pressure to get things done on time.”

Social media is making a huge impact.  While social media can be a good tool for delivering and sharing news stories, a great deal of content on such sites happens to be fake.

He is especially worried about the next four years. “It’s a scary thought knowing the president-elect is not a fan of objective journalists. He’s suppressing freedom of press.”

As an editor, Weber takes real news seriously. He’s never met anyone in journalism who hasn’t bent over backwards to do the right thing. It’s crucial, he said,  to always be objective and fair.

Writers need help.  Editors are there to assist with correcting small issues like grammar.  Their job isn’t to change stories; it’s to help writers create better ones.

“Adapt yourself to the person you are editing and make them better,” Weber said. “Present the best product possible for readers.”

“The best advice I can give for future editors is to take your ego out of it, do a good job and be proud of it,” Weber said.  “It’s important to be a team player.  You’re not the star.  Make everyone be the best they can be.

“It’s not your story, but the best possible story.”

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