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Lorie Garnett moves from writer to sports information director

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Lorie Garnett

By Francis Forte
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Lorie Garnett’s ability to adapt has been crucial to her success in the world of sports communications.

Garnett is the sports information director for Nebraska women’s gymnastics and women’s golf teams. In her position, Garnett writes press releases for her teams and coordinates times for journalists and media outlets to interview the student-athletes.

Garnett has extensive experience as a writer, but her jobs in sports information at Utah Valley University, Brigham Young University and Nebraska has made her appreciate the process of editing.

“It definitely took some very serious, public mistakes for me to take editing more seriously,” Garnett said in an interview. “So at Nebraska, I haven’t really had any big ‘uh-oh’ moments, because I do take editing very seriously.”

The journey to where Garnett is now started in a unique way. After Garnett’s career as a student-athlete for Utah Valley University’s track and field program ended due to a head injury, she decided it was time to take a career in communications seriously.

“I transferred to a school with a better journalism school, BYU.” Garnett said. “As soon as I got in there I got an internship with the athletic department. I worked there from the summer of my junior year until I graduated. I learned a lot, but I did not think I was lucky enough to get a job doing that.”

Although Garnett had doubts she would find a job doing what she enjoyed, an opportunity in a familiar place revealed itself.

“A job opened at Utah Valley, where I ran track.” Garnett said. “It started off as an hourly position right out of school. I stayed there for two years and just got my hands dirty, my feet wet, just doing anything that could be required.”

However, having a job in her field was not enough for Garnett. She decided, like many other people in the same field, that she needed to get a master’s degree.

“I realized that all of the people I wanted to be like had master’s degrees.” Garnett said. “In this industry it is very common to work instead of paying tuition so you can work and have your master’s paid for. When I was offered to come work and have my master’s paid for by Nebraska in exchange to do that job I had been doing, it just made total sense to me.”

During her time at BYU, Garnett learned how to edit other people’s work, which prepared her for future jobs.

“When I was at BYU we did have a very strict editing process.” Garnett said. “It worked the same as here: You write the press releases for your own teams, but every single day of the year there was an editor that was assigned on our staff. I learned a lot doing that because I was worked into the editing rotation.”

When she returned to Utah Valley and eventually went to Nebraska, the process was quite different. Garnett described her thoughts on not having an editor to look over all her work.

“When I went back to UVU it was scary because I thought ‘Oh my gosh, there is no one to proof,’” Garnett said. “That was a crash course.”

As a former writer for BYU’s student run newspaper, The Universe, Garnett has a word of advice to writers transitioning to the world of editing.

“I think the biggest thing is learning AP Style because when in doubt, just go with AP Style,” Garnett said. “Whenever I wonder if a comma goes somewhere or how a sentence should be structured, I can go back to AP Style.

“Read everything back to yourself. Read some things out loud. Get feedback and use your resources.”

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Categories: finals Tags: ,

Success in TV leads Derryberry to teach where it all began

May 3, 2018 Leave a comment

Mandi Derryberry, English and broadcasting teacher at Liberty High School

By Olivia Book
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Mandi Derryberry has had interactions with athletes that most sports fans dream of.

While working as a reporter for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Derryberry was around Oklahoma City’s basketball team quite a lot.

“My last day working, Kevin Durant gave me one of his shoes,” Derryberry said. “They were sponsored by Nike, so every shoot around practice or anything like that they got a brand new pair of Nike shoes, so he just gave me one.”

Now Derryberry is teaching high school students how to become successful in broadcasting.

Derryberry got her bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma City University. Originally studying dance performance, she switched two years later to major in mass communications with an emphasis in broadcasting.

Derryberry had taken broadcasting classes since the eighth grade. Her time as a student at Liberty High School showed how much she enjoyed working in broadcast.

Broadcasting was an obvious choice when she decided to switch majors. Throughout her time at OKCU she had three internships with TV stations, Oklahoma City Thunder, Oklavision and KOCO-TV 5. Amazingly enough, Derryberry worked at all three throughout her professional career as well.

“Basketball was definitely more about stats and fans and giving the community what they wanted,” Derryberry said. “Whereas KOCO was hard-hitting news, so I had to really dive into some topics that were a little uncomfortable and definitely a lot sadder than basketball.”

After working in a top 50-network for two years Derryberry was given an opportunity to go back to her dancing roots and was offered a job coaching the Northwest Missouri State’s dance team. She left her journalism career to coach and to earn her master’s degree in English education at Northwest Missouri State University.

Derryberry couldn’t stay away from journalism for long though.

After two years spent getting her master’s, she moved back to her hometown of Liberty, Missouri, to teach English and broadcasting at the same high school where her love for broadcasting began.

She said she felt prepared to teach about technology and on-air presence, but Derryberry was blindsided by teenage attitudes.

“I don’t think that coming from a professional world to a high school that you’re prepared for the pushback that you get from kids — a lot of people just not doing things,” Derryberry said. “But I’ve learned in my years.”

Derryberry has been teaching at Liberty High School for three years now and definitely has made an impact.

“I think my biggest achievement probably has been expanding the program and giving kids kind of free rein to be as creative as they want while still producing quality work daily,” she said.

From having 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. days to now teaching 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Derryberry shares the knowledge she gained from her work in Oklahoma while giving advice that she sometimes wishes she would’ve taken herself.

“My advice would be to stick it out. It’s pretty easy to give up and get defeated if you’re not getting hired and you worked really hard and all that stuff,” Derryberry said. “But if it’s what you want to do be willing to move to a small place and not get paid very much and do a lot of work until you move your way up.”

Passion for sports as a child leads to editing position

Clint Robus, digital sports editor for the Lincoln Journal Star

By Maddie Washburn
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Every week as a child, reading Sports Illustrated always came before chores or homework for Clint Robus.

“I sat there and I read the thing cover to cover,” Robus said. “That’s where I fell in love with sports writing.”

Robus grew up in the country outside of Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His family received the Sunday newspaper, but what Robus looked forward to was his weekly copy of Sports Illustrated.

“I love sports,” Robus said. “When I kind of figured out that ‘hey, I could do this as a job and people will pay me to watch sports and write about sports and think about sports’ I’m OK with that.”

Today, Robus is the digital sports editor for the Lincoln Journal Star and has held that job for five years.

Robus started his career in high school as the sports editor of his high school newspaper. In college, while attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Robus worked part time at the Wisconsin State Journal, the newspaper in Madison.

“And it kind of went from there,” Robus said.

After college, Robus moved to Casper, Wyoming, to work for the Casper Star-Tribune. Robus worked as the high school beat reporter for four years, and he said the job taught him time management.

“Don’t be afraid to go out and take a job at a small paper because you’re going to learn more,” Robus said. “You’re going to learn more about what it takes to be effective and productive than staying as a part-time clerk year after year.”

During his usual 3 p.m. to midnight shift at the Lincoln Journal Star, Robus said his routine consists of checking emails, looking over the budget for the newspaper and website, helping determine where content should be placed on the website, managing sports copy editors, communicating with clerks and posting on social media.

“I’m still trying to figure things out,” Robus said.

For Robus, he said being an editor was not always something he saw himself doing.

“I just never really thought that far ahead. I didn’t fall into it,” Robus said. “My career just kind of slowly tracked that way and I ended up here.”

When it comes to writing, Robus said he gets the chance to write every so often, but not as much as he used to.

“It’s just more managing things and working with part-timers and the full-time staff too,” Robus said.

In an interview, Robus said he has a few challenges as an editor. One is figuring out how to most effectively reach readers with content because the emergence of the internet and social media in the last 10 years changes how people get their news.

Another challenge is working with deadlines after Friday night high school football, Husker football game days and high school state tournaments. On those nights, Robus sifts through lots of information.

Part of his job to is post content on social media through Twitter and Facebook. He tries to figure out how to make content stand out and reach readers.

“My boss in Madison signed me up for Twitter and I was resolutely against Twitter at that point,” Robus said. “So much has changed.”

For Robus, figuring out the different avenues for consumers to get the nonproprietary information that newspapers provide to them is what he thinks will keep readership.

“At the end of the day, the newspaper exists for the reason to sell itself,” Robus said. “We are selling our access to an interpretation of information. We are taking the time to devote resources.”

Robus also said he knows most people in the newsroom would disagree with his thought.

“The stories we tell ourselves still matter and people still want to read those stories,” Robus said. “Just how they are reading them has changed.”

Lisa Gregory Dodge anchors herself to the world of editing

By Liz Rentfro
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Lisa Gregory Dodge’s story cannot be told without a key element of her college career: She was a member of Delta Gamma.

That paved the path into her dream job. lisa-dodge-gregory2

Dodge’s passion for journalism, as well as her devotion to Delta Gamma, comes through every day in her job as editor of ANCHORA, the fraternity’s quarterly magazine.

She has the opportunity to tell stories of friendship, scholarships and philanthropic projects by Delta Gamma members across the country.  

“Those inspirations that you see every day keep you going and keep you invested in Delta Gamma,” Dodge said during a telephone interview. “Personally, when you come into contact with one of your staff members, or volunteers, or members themselves, there is a distinct connection that you have with someone who is also a Delta Gamma. It’s just really fulfilling to work with such strong women.”

Dodge’s enthusiasm for journalism goes back to high school. She started working at her high school newspaper as a writer and realized it was a line of work she wanted to pursue.

 Dodge attended E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, and after graduating she worked many jobs learning and sharpening her skills.

She didn’t find her true professional home until she landed a job at ANCHORA, a magazine founded in 1884 that focuses specifically on Delta Gamma at a national level.

Dodge soon became the editor. While she emphasized she has always loved writing, she said she loves the reward and the challenge of editing more.

“It can be challenging to edit other people’s work, sometimes it takes more work to edit than just writing yourself,” Dodge said, “but I enjoy the editing process more than being a reporter.” 

The ANCHORA is different than most publications not only because it is Delta Gamma specific but also because it is published quarterly. Dodge only has one publication each quarter to connect with her readers and show what the magazine has to offer.  Her goal is to make sure there are no mistakes.

“I always try and have as many people read the print before it gets sent out, but I feel like inevitably there is always something that is missed and that is the worst part of it all,” Dodge said. “This magazine is the historical record of the fraternity, and for there to be an error, or a mistake, or something we did not fact check properly, is the worst day.”

Although the ANCHORA is published as a print magazine, it also utilizes many online outlets. In addition, the Delta Gamma website also provides valuable information about ANCHORA’s content.

“The team that we have uses all of their skills to the best of their ability in the places where they are and because of that it is a superior publication.”  

Categories: finals, Rentfro Tags: ,

For Rob Schlotterbeck, a sense of humor helps with deadlines

May 3, 2018 1 comment

By Ian Ondracek
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Rob Schlotterbeck Mug

Rob Schlotterbeck is a copy editor at the Lincoln Journal Star

They say that laughter is the best medicine.

For Rob Schlotterbeck, copy editor at the Lincoln Journal Star, laughter cures the stress of always being on deadline.

Having been a copy editor for 30 years, Schlotterbeck has seen newsrooms shrink in recent years, meaning that editors like Schlotterbeck must edit more stories in the same amount of time. To deal with deadline stress, Schlotterbeck says that he and the other editors crack jokes or take walks to get coffee.

Schlotterbeck’s interest in journalism peaked when he was in high school, and he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1986 before finding a job as a reporter at the St. Joseph News-Press. He worked at the newspaper for three years, starting as a reporter before transitioning to an editor.

He then worked as an editor for The Examiner in Independence, Missouri, before coming to work at the Lincoln Journal Star in 1997.

In his 21 years at the Lincoln Journal Star, he has worked as a copy editor and more recently as a sports copy editor. The advent of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook has added another level to editing, and the increased demand for immediacy has increased the likelihood of mistakes.

However, sports stories, he said, have less room for error since they depend on cut-and- dried facts such as statistics.

On a typical day, he begins by checking stories already published for mistakes. He then begins working on stories that have been submitted by reporters. This is the part of the job that gives Schlotterbeck the most fulfillment.

He says that the most rewarding part of his job is taking a writer’s story, seeing what the writer wanted to do with the story and helping get the story to that goal. However, he advises editors to be respectful when editing a reporter’s work. He says that reporters take their work very personally and that editors need to make sure that reporters know that the editor is critiquing the work, not the reporter.

Despite being an editor, Schlotterbeck still has a chance to do some writing, including writing stories based on press releases and box scores from different sporting events.

He says that the best thing students can do to prepare for a career in editing is “read, read, read.”

Reading a variety of books exposes you to many different kinds of writing, many of which you can incorporate into your own writing, he says. That makes you a better writer and thus a better editor.

High school teacher pursues her passion by helping students

May 3, 2018 1 comment

By Hallie Miller
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Julie Eckman knew she always wanted to be a teacher. 

“It wasn’t until upper high school when I figured out what I wanted to teach,” she said.

Helping students felt like her calling.

“It’s almost like a mission in some ways that is very much apart of my faith,” Eckman said.

Her education began at Syracuse High School, where she joined the yearbook staff and learned her first editing skills. She pursued her calling at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, graduating with a degree in secondary education with dual endorsements in English and journalism.

Eckman’s career began at Cozad where she taught for five years. Then she moved to Milford to teach at Milford Jr./Sr. High School. She teaches two classes of English and a class where students learn to produce the school’s yearbook. She has been at Milford for  23 years.

Working as the editor on the yearbook and newspaper staff in college is really where she learned a lot of her editing skills. She also was a part of the alumni association, which helped with her communication skills when contacting alumni.

Editing even plays a role in her current job. Whether it’s putting together the yearbook or looking over rough drafts, she always gets the chance to sharpen her skills.

A typical day of work includes updating grades, teaching students in various courses, editing papers and so much more. She even works one-on-one with students to make sure they fully understand the material.

“My day can change minute-by-minute,” Eckman said.

Her favorite part of the job is seeing students achieve their goals and gain confidence. Her passion for her job shows the students just how dedicated she is to them.

“I believe that all of us have the duty to help young people and I have made that my career.”

 She’s proud of the way the English department prepares students for their futures. 

“When the students go to college we hear back that their writing skills are satisfactory, probably better than most of their peers,” she said.

Eckman always encourages her students to get out of their comfort zones.

“If you see something you think you could do, apply for it,” she said. “You definitely won’t get it if you don’t try.

So just go for it.”

Categories: finals, Uncategorized Tags: ,

Telling children’s stories is more than a job for hospital videographer

Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 4.06.41 PM

Mitch Mattern, videographer and video editor for Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska

By Kenneth L. Ferriera
University of Lincoln-Nebraska

For Mitch Mattern, no job is as tough or as rewarding as working with children.

As videographer and video editor at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska, Mattern tells children’s stories.

“When I got the position at Children’s, I knew I would love coming to work each day,” Mattern said.

He got his start at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln, where he studied broadcasting hoping that one day to be a sports journalist. But the diversity of the journalism college exposed Mattern to other aspects of broadcasting.

“I really started to develop an affinity for videography and visual storytelling,” Mattern said in an email interview.

After graduating from college in 2012, Mattern worked in TV for a few years honing his skills.  The strain of covering news got to him. Seeing so many crime scenes, accidents, severe weather and more had grown tiresome.

So Mattern took the skills he learned in TV and started doing video work for Bellevue University.

His next move was becoming a videographer at the hospital, where he enjoys projects that help patients.

On average, Mattern juggles five to 10 projects at any given time. If he gets stuck, he’ll switch to something different.

It’s a fast-paced job that requires time management.

For bigger projects, Mattern can plan how he wants to portray the subject. But most days, he must quickly edit a video for upload by the end of the day.

“To me, video editing is like a puzzle with different solutions,” he said. “I enjoy that aspect of it.”

Whenever Mattern gets to showcase what makes his organization different is when he really enjoys what he does.

One of his more popular projects involves a service dog named Sven. It is easiest to show people the effect Sven, a dog who assists young children in tough times, had on the community through video.

His style, he said, is inspired by journalist the likes of Boyd Huppert and Steve Hartman.

Huppert and Hartman are not directly involved in the filming process; they spend most of the post-production time in the editing room. They aim to create a meaningful story that the viewer can easily sympathize with.

“They make the viewer feel something,” Mattern said. “It’s what makes the stories so unique and tug at the heartstrings.”

Mattern has always strived to connect with his viewers. One way he does this is to work closely with healthcare professionals. Sometimes, he films live streams with them, allowing interaction on a larger scale.  Viewers can send in questions or comments and the medical professionals answer.

Another challenge Mattern faces is that his work often deals with depressing stories.

“Reporters have to try and focus on the positives,” he said, “not every day is going to be a good day.”