By Bailey Neel
University of Nebraska- Lincoln
If it weren’t for his knees, David Krause would be playing sports for a living. That may be a stretch. But after suffering repeated injuries from a childhood of activities, Krause’s high school English teacher convinced him to cover sports for the local paper.
“I mean I wasn’t great any way but I certainly had knee issues and it just didn’t work out,” Krause said. “I still wanted to be around it though.”
Krause began working for the Daily Oklahoman, where he stayed throughout his time at the University of Oklahoma. After graduation, Krause and his wife moved to Colorado where he became the sports editor for the Loveland Reporter-Herald. Five years later, he moved to a larger Colorado paper: the Denver Post. Krause started at the Post as a copy editor, eventually working his way up to deputy sports editor.
“You get lucky if you find something that you like and you get to stay with it for a long time,” Krause said. “I like that sports is exciting and that it generates a lot of feelings, both good and bad, but also that there is an element of news and breaking news,” he said. “Denver is the best city for someone like me because we have so many great sports programs.”
After 32 years in the newspaper business, Krause decided that the next logical step in his career was to try his hand at broadcast. Since August, he has been the sports executive producer for 9news, one of Denver’s leading broadcast programs.
“I didn’t know what a cross-roll, or a b-roll, or a voice-over was, I didn’t know that language, I knew newspaper,” Krause said. “It’s a different vernacular, it’s j-talk, but as long as you start with solid writing, then the only thing that changes is the script and how you present it.”
No matter the subject area or whether you work in print, online, or in broadcasting, having a solid foundation of writing skills is something that Krause stresses.
“Important information always goes first, no matter what. After that it’s up to you to determine how much to give a story and to write it in a way that makes sense for the topic,” Krause said. “You don’t want to be redundant, but you don’t want to be vague,” he said. “As an editor I have to ensure that not only do I understand the point of a news piece, but that readers and listeners will too.”
Along with writing, Krause offers this additional advice for journalism students:
1. “Take any assignment you’re offered.”
2. “Be excited, but don’t overdo things.”
3. “Get your name out there any way you can, a foot in the door is a foot in the door.”
4. “Timing is everything.”
5. “Work weekends, no one likes to work them, but someone has to.”
By Whitney Carlson
University of Nebraska- Lincoln
Lee Ann Colacioppo can remember the story developing at The Denver Post.
The paper had teamed up with 9News to do an investigative report on the social welfare system. Apparently, neglect from caseworkers was leading to children’s deaths.
Since 2007, 175 children in Colorado’s social services had died of abuse and neglect.
According to the Colorado Department of Human Services, about 40 percent of these deaths could have been prevented. Caseworkers failed to conduct interviews and follow-up assessments, even when neighbors called in warnings and presented evidence of abuse.
When the story broke, people were outraged. Attention was focused on the social welfare system and on finding a solution to the problem.
At the time, Colacioppo was the senior news editor at The Post. Stories like this, she said, reinforce her love for journalism.
“There aren’t many other jobs where you can look at things that are clearly wrong and put a spotlight on them,” Colacioppo said. “You can see change happen.”
After the news investigations, laws were changed, funds were added to social services, training was revamped and a hotline was created.
“Changes in policy happen because they can’t turn away from it when we do a story on it,” she said.
Journalism can bring people together.
At the beginning of her career, Colacioppo worked in numerous newspapers around the United States before she settled back in Denver, her hometown. She spent a few years reporting and editing in Des Moines, Iowa, Kingsport, Tenn., and Greenville, S.C.
She was promoted to city editor in South Carolina and hasn’t been back to reporting since. She moved back to Des Moines as the assistant city editor and moved back to Denver in 1999 as assistant city editor of The Post.
Colacioppo has held different editing posts since her return to Denver, including city editor, enterprise team editor, investigations team editor and senior news editor, her current position.
Journalism has changed dramatically during her career, especially with the Internet’s popularity.
“I remember when fax machines were new,” she said.
The debut of the Internet was interesting, Colacioppo said. “We watched it come in, not knowing what to think.”
From there, Colacioppo said, she and her colleagues had to come to grips with how to use the Internet to better their business.
Colacioppo loves the ever-changing atmosphere and unpredictability of journalism.
“It’s different every day,” she said. “You never know what’s going to happen.”
She remembers going to work at 3 a.m. to deal with the 2013 Colorado flooding. Every reporter at the paper was working on the story, and she decided where to send them and what stories to tell.
For Colacioppo, it was more than just a great professional challenge. It was a chance to inform the public of necessary information.
And that’s her favorite part of journalism: Making a difference in the world.
To foster that positive change, she advised journalism students to follow their passions, stay flexible and most importantly, keep digging for stories.
“Stay curious,” she said. “That’s the most important quality for a reporter to have.”
By Faiz Siddiqui
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Jeff Domingues intended to become a sportswriter.
It was his passion, after all. He was a sports reporter at Fresno State, where he attended college, before eventually climbing the ranks to become sports editor. After graduating in 1983, he went on to work at a number of area papers, as a reporter and eventually as assistant sports editor of the Fresno Bee in 1991.
Ten years later, Domingues — a lifetime sports journalist — received an opportunity to edit news at The Denver Post. Open-mindedness, he said, carried him the rest of the way.
In this phone interview, Domingues, assistant news editor at The Denver Post, highlighted the ins-and-outs of editing, the changing nature of the profession and the tools modern journalists need to evolve with the industry.
Q: Where did you get your start in editing?
A: I was a sports editor at my college paper for at least a year. Every job, even when I was a reporter working at smaller papers — there was some element of editing to it.
Q: Why did you pick editing instead of reporting or some other aspect of journalism?
A: It was something I was always involved with. When I got out of school, I intended to become a sportswriter, and there was always editing that was part of it. I enjoyed the aspect of being able to influence the broad product rather than just the one story I was working on. And so that kind of put me toward doing it full-time.
Q: You mentioned wanting to becoming a sportswriter. A lot of people will go in thinking they’re going to be, say, a sportswriter, and end up taking, say, a news internship. How does going in open-mindedly help?
A: You should always be open-minded about what you do. There are so many different aspects to journalism. I think it serves you well to try other things. I’ve done photography. What I’m doing now is a lot of page layout and being involved in the story placement process. I’ve also previously been a line editor where I’m getting the first read of a story with a reporter before it goes to the copy desk. There’s a lot of different jobs that have to be done, and I think the more you expose yourself to that the more well-rounded journalist you become.
Q: You mentioned previous roles, what does your current job entail?
A: The first thing I do when I get in is I’m looking at story budgets and consulting with the editors of the sections to determine ‘what are their priorities, what do they see as the big story today, what do the want to put the most focus on?,’ and so I’m going to design a section that reflects that. If I’m doing world and national pages, I’m consulting with the wire editor and seeing what their stories are. I’ll get an idea of what stories they want to use. I’ll try to get a read on every story so I know what to look for in terms of photos, graphics – if there’s any cool quote done in the stories I’ll try to play that up, pop that out…. Once I get pages laid out, then I’m kind of overseeing the production process, the headline writing and the copy editing and making sure the pages get done on time. And then you do it all over again the next day.
Q: You talked about how some stories are mundane, well what are some of the ‘cooler’ stories you’ve worked with?
A: There was a little thing back in 2003 called the invasion of Iraq. I happened to be working on the front page on that day. That was a challenge, especially in Denver. We also had a huge major snowstorm that same day and so it was a constant juggling act all day long…I’m not sure we ever got the exact right balance, but we tried to treat both fairly equally on the front page.
Q: Was one of them featured more prominently?
A: Yeah, eventually we had to recognize that going to war was a pretty historic event.
Q: We’ve discussed editorial challenges you’ve faced. What are some of the challenges that come with the (editing) profession?
A: Just keep a fresh set of eyes. Look at things as though you’re seeing them for the first time. When you keep in that mindset and you’re surprised by something — ‘Dick Clark died, that’s a surprise’ — the reader’s going to be surprised whether they’re looking at your paper online that afternoon or they’re picking it up for the first time tomorrow morning. You want to give them something they don’t know. Try to keep that mindset as you’re going about your work.
Q: Now, with the emergence of Web journalism, what challenges are modern editors facing that past editors didn’t?
A: That’s definitely a huge challenge that we’re all learning how to deal with: The immediacy of things. More often than not, readers are going to know that Dick Clark died, or they’re going to know that the president said something – anything out there – the score of the ballgame. What journalists today have to do, as I’m sure you’re learning, is try to find an angle for a story, a way to present it being more analytical, or how’s and why’s and what…. That’s going to be a challenge that everybody faces as things evolve.
Q: You mentioned evolving, how do you see the Post, or newspaper journalism evolving?
A: It’s going to have to find its niche – to not necessarily be the first source of news. More and more people are going to find that immediacy online, they’re going to find it on television. You’ll find that a lot of people are still with the mindset of ‘if we have it in print first, we’re still out front’ and depending on what the story is, that may or may not be true. You’ve got to recognize that your readers may or may not know the whole story, but they’ll know pieces of it. They’ll get the gist of things before you make it into print and you need to keep that in mind.
Q: What advice would you offer to student journalists?
A: The same advice that some very wise people gave me a long time ago. Always be curious, always ask questions, always look at the world as though you’re seeing things first the first time. When you do that, then you’re going to be asking yourself questions that readers will ask when they read your stuff. Never assume that you know everything and always be willing to ask one more question. I think that will serve you well.
By Crystal Zamora
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Combining short, concise phrases with long, intricate sentences, I listened closely to Scott Monserud during our phone interview. Monserud has been the sports editor for the Denver Post for the past five years. His choppy style reminded me of a coach calling out plays. He calmed my nerves with an encouraging “great question,” and always tried using “we” instead of “I” when referring to his staff. Over the past 10 years of working for the Denver Post, sports has begun to rub off on him. The reporters and photographers are his team as he constantly reevaluates the coverage the Denver Post is publishing. The Denver Post is an award-winning newspaper and the premier source for news about the Denver Broncos. Monserud stands by his belief that, “there will always be a place for good writing, good writers and the craft of writing” in today’s news industry.
“A great part of great writing is great editing.”