Octavio Kano-Galvan is a journalism professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He helps students grasp the concepts presented by different mediums such as video, photography and text. Before becoming a teacher, Kano worked as a photographer, cinematographer and camera operator. In this short video interview, Kano talks about his experience and offers advice for students.
By Cassandra Huck
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
With no agriculture background of her own, Dana Ludvik’s job poses a challenge. She showcases what Nebraska does best: agriculture and water management.
Ludvik is the marketing and communications specialist at the Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She creates promotional materials and monitors social media accounts to engage audiences not only in Nebraska, but across the globe.
Born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, Ludvik initally thought an agriculture background would be essential for her role at the Water for Food Global Institute. But she has grown into the job and continues to learn more about agricultural technology daily. Who knew center pivots had so many working parts to understand?
With a passion for music, Ludvik decided to pursue a degree in broadcast at UNL graduating with her bachelor’s degree in 2004.
But she took as many classes as possible with professor Phyllis Larsen in public relations, such as planning, strategy and promotions. She then went on to receive her master’s degree in 2009 in the marketing, communications and advertising program, also from UNL.
While working toward her bachelor’s degree, Ludvik worked at KRNU, UNL’s alternative music station, as a music director. Not only did she discover a lot about music and the public relations part of the music industry, she ultimately discovered she was not cut out for a broadcasting life. The crazy hours and minimal room for advancement sent her in a different direction.
An internship at Nelnet in the marketing department sparked her interest in working with a marketing team. Thanks to that internship, Ludvik made many connections that led to her first “real” job at the Child Guidance Center doing public relations and other marketing work. From there, she continued working for various non-profits, such as Morrill Hall, helping build its marketing program.
A typical day in Ludvik’s work life includes a great deal of social media monitoring, email management and newsletter work. The first task she checks off her list every morning is monitoring social media and scheduling tweets and posts for the day. Time management is critical.
The thing she enjoys most about her job is the variety. Looking at other social media accounts for ideas and ways to improve her writing are just a couple ways she betters herself. Working in higher education provides Ludvik with the ability to continue learning everyday.
Every job has challenges, though. Ludvik faces the difficulty of conveying complicated research from faculty to a broader audience. She said the goal is to always find the balance between research jargon and relaying the message in a way that the audience can understand it.
For Ludvik, editing is part of her job daily. She edits everything from emails and social media posts to the annual publication wrapping up the center’s work. From only having 140 characters for a Twitter post to editing messages specifically for each social media platform, editing always present a challenge.
Ludvik had a couple pieces of advice for aspiring writers and editors.
“Read, read, read,” she said. “Read often because it’s a muscle that you have to keep exercising to be a good writer.”
She also stressed listening to the public radio and being aware of what is going on in the community.
By Ryan Rothman
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
For some people, four years of college can feel like a lifetime. For one, a career at his alma mater made perfect sense.
Andy Schadwinkel is the director of strategic marketing in the office of University Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a position that he’s held for the past seven years. University Communications offers marketing and communications support to faculty, staff and departments across the UNL campus.
“I was really excited about studying advertising in college. I knew that’s what I wanted to do from the beginning,” Schadwinkel said. “I guess I’m sort of the anomaly, where I knew I wanted to do it, pursued it, got a job in it and have been doing it since.”
Schadwinkel grew up in Alliance, Nebraska, and attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln after high school. He spent his time taking courses in advertising, English, history, marketing and was involved in the advertising club on campus. Schadwinkel feels that the time he spent in advertising club meetings and on trips helped him connect with peers, professionals and learn on a deeper level than day-to-day work in a classroom.
After completing his bachelor’s degree, Schadwinkel spent some time in the United Kingdom in a work abroad program and as a copy writer at an advertising agency in South Dakota. He learned a lot during his time in South Dakota, but one lesson helped him move to the next step in his career.
“I had a conversation with an admissions counselor at a college in South Dakota and heard about his work. I had a good experience in college and I knew the value of higher education — being a life-long Nebraskan, I held the university in high esteem,” Schadwinkel said. “My fiancée and I were looking for a new place to live, a job in Nebraska was open and it worked out.”
Schadwinkel began his work at UNL as the marketing director at the Office of Admissions, but eventually transitioned into his current role at University Communications. He enjoys his job because he gets to do what he likes to do for a place that he believes in.
“There’s a lot of collaboration going on,” Schadwinkel said. “We’re always involved in multiple projects, so every day is an effort to move those projects forward to completion. That involves meeting people face to face, talking on the phone, emailing, updating the project management system and coordinating.” When he’s not working with the department director or the creative directors, Schadwinkel spends some time working by himself. He develops new projects, organizes all copywriting and assists in creative development.
When he’s not working with the department director or the creative directors, Schadwinkel spends some time working by himself. He develops new projects, organizes all copy writing and assists in creative development.
While he’s worked on many projects, Schadwinkel is particularly proud of his work on the University Toolbox & Brand Book. It is a document that helps campus communicators reach their audience while retaining the UNL brand.
As the director of strategic marketing, editing plays a crucial role in his job.
“I think it’s careful to balance the utility of communication. You don’t want to compromise effective communication, clarity and all of the fundamentals that we talk about when you learn how to write,” Schadwinkel said. “The opportunity to go back and review, think about the audience and how someone might perceive something is critical. People are missing out on non-verbals. Written communication is more and more useful and more and more used, but we can’t forget the value of editing.”
Schadwinkel believes that another key to good editing is having a filter.
“We should all have a filter. In this day and age when there are so many places to publish, sometimes we have the urge to want to publish something or share it with people. As communicators, we should put the filter on for who we should reach,” Schadwinkel said. “We have an audience in mind for Facebook, email and Twitter. I might share one thing in one channel, and one thing in another channel. It’s important to have the right filter for the right audience and channel.”
For Schadwinkel, it’s all about the audience. “I think audiences are demanding. Attention is one of the most valuable things out there. You have to spend the time to make the message as clear and effective as possible in the time that you have, otherwise you’ll miss your chance.”
Schadwinkel’s advice to students is to gain experience.
“There are so many choices out there, so I think it’s important to try to get some experience in things,” Schadwinkel said. “Don’t worry about failing. Don’t worry about thinking that once you do something, then that’s what you’re committed to doing forever. You have to expose yourself to different fields and different interest areas.”
By Lauren Grace Bejot
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Tyler Thomas experiences life through food, not art, not music. He feeds his passion by making it his hobby.
Thomas majored in advertising and public relations at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he also earned a political science minor. After college, he worked at Swanson Russell, a prominent Lincoln, Neb., advertising agency, for two years as an interactive project manager. Then, he saw an opportunity at UNL to explore his passion for social media. Now he is the social media and content director at UNL. “I create, manage and curate the eight different platforms the university runs.”
Thomas emphasizes the importance of making people feel a part of the university, “Seventy percent of my job is listening. The other 30 percent is to post and engage.”
A year ago, Thomas realized he needed a creative outlet while working at Swanson Russell. He decided to create his own blog, Nebraska Foodie. “I come from a very large Italian family, and I lived in Belgium for a few years. A lot of the memories I have are what I ate.” Thomas said everyone can relate to food regardless of culture or income background.
His family and friends supported him during the start of Nebraska Foodie. A designer friend from Swanson Russell insisted on helping create his Nebraska Foodie brand identity, and his fiancée, Mandy, is a co-founder and contributing writer. Thomas hopes Nebraska Foodie’s restaurant, food truck, event and drink reviews will help the community find new and exciting places to eat. “That’s where Lincoln, Nebraska, really struggles. You find a few good places, and you don’t go anywhere else.” All reviews are positive and shed light on the importance of supporting local businesses. “My philosophy is that if a restaurant is bad, it’ll tank itself. There’s no point in my adding negativity into the world.”
Thomas explains that he has no plans to quit his full-time job: “Down the road, I’d like to be paid to do Nebraska Foodie to offset my own costs, but I don’t want to quit my job and become this big blogger. The goal is to monetize by selling ad space to grassroots, local businesses.”
He said he’s looking to make the content of Nebraska Foodie more interactive with videos, but “I don’t want Nebraska Foodie to become money-oriented, and I’m not having fun with it.”
Thomas’ goal is to make sure the reviews are easy to digest (forgive the pun). He doesn’t want people to think, “does that even make sense? He just looked up every adjective in the book — all those words are weird,” Thomas says. He sends his articles to his friend, Amber, at Swanson Russell and then to Mandy, his fiancée, to double- and triple-check his grammar and syntax. “I also like to get people’s feedback on how I’m writing because I don’t want to get stuck on writing in a certain way.”
Thomas consistently interacts with the readers of Nebraska Foodie through his blog reviews, Twitter and Instagram to keep true to his mission: supporting local businesses. “I’m not bashing big chains because they do help the local economy, but if you look behind their big signs, you see all these little local places. There is a niche food community. We’re not a flyover state in regards to food, too. I want to tell the story.”
Thomas recommends that future bloggers to build a community and create a conversation with people you’ve never met. “If you’re not learning, and you’re not having fun, then why are you here?”