Spring Conference Features ESPN Investigative Reporter Paula Lavigne and Much More

Omaha is the place to be the weekend of May 4 and 5 when Nebraska Press Women holds its spring conference. “Who Knew? Media’s Evolution” features national speakers, interesting and relevant programs, awards, two meals and more. The conference will be held at the Regency Lodge, 909 S. 107th Ave.

Keynote speaker is Paula Lavigne, an ESPN investigative reporter working primarily for the Outside the Lines brand on television and online. Lavigne is also co-author of the book “Violated: Exposing Rape at Baylor University Amid College Football’s Sexual Assault Crisis.” She is a specialist in data journalism and statistics and also trains colleagues on databases and investigative reporting techniques. Lavigne worked previously as a reporter at The Dallas Morning News, The Des Moines Register and The News-Tribune in Tacoma, Washington. She has degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Creighton University.

Lavigne will lead a 10:15 a.m. session on “Navigating ‘Multi’ Media: Setting Yourself Apart” where she will talk about how in today’s market there’s an expectation for journalists to be flexible and skilled in different types of media – digital, print, radio, TV, social media, etc. — and what you can do to set yourself apart at both specializing and broadening your skillset.

Two new members will be inducted into the Marian Andersen Nebraska Women Journalists Hall of Fame during an 11:45 a.m. luncheon. Additionally, young journalists will be recognized for winning awards in NPW’s high school communications contest, and we’ll honor two scholarship recipients. Keynote speaker Lavigne also will share a few remarks during the Hall of Fame luncheon.

In a 2 p.m. presentation, “Bearing Witness: Backpack Journalism at Creighton University,” Carol Zuegner, Ph.D., an associate professor of journalism and chair of the Department of Journalism, Media and Computing at Creighton University, will share how Backpack Journalism at Creighton University in Omaha uses new media tools and relatively inexpensive video equipment to produce documentaries about people in developing countries and marginalized societies. She will talk about what she has learned about telling stories and video, including tips on how to produce video content for your organizations.

Joan Lukas, president and owner, and LeAnn Morman, senior account executive, of Lukas Partners are the speakers for a 3:15 p.m. presentation on “Cutting Through the Clutter: Reaching Your Audience in a Digital World.” Gone are the days when news reporters stay in their lane. The information superhighway is even more congested with all of the digital options that news seekers turn to, with a speed limit that’s faster than ever. Utilizing different platforms helps to reach a splintered audience.

The 6 p.m. Communications Contest Awards Banquet will honor NPW’s own members who have won awards in the professional contest. Additionally, Gretchen Garrison, author of the book “Detour Nebraska” and a freelance writer, will present “Why Detours Are Beneficial.” Sometimes in writing (and in life), our path takes unexpected turns. Garrison has learned to embrace these new directions and hopes to inspire you to do the same.  Drawing from her travels across the state, Garrison will demonstrate that sometimes detours actually result in the best destinations.

See the full event schedule below. Deadline to make hotel reservations is April 13, and the deadline to register for the conference is April 24. Hotel rooms are available in the Nebraska Press Women block for $72 per night, plus tax. To get this rate, you must ask for the block and book by April 13.

Register now for the spring conference. Sign up online (below), download the Spring conference registration form 2018, or download the Spring Conference 2018 flyer.

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NPW Spring Conference 2018 Schedule

Friday, April 13
Deadline to make hotel reservations

Tuesday, April 24
Deadline to register for the conference

Friday, May 4
5:45 p.m. – NPW board meeting (Chateau Room at Regency Lodge)
6:30 p.m. – No-host dinner in Regency Lodge’s 909 Lounge (restaurant and bar) for NPW members
8:30 p.m. – Hospitality room and professional development discussion (Chateau Room at Regency Lodge)

Saturday, May 5
(All events are at the Regency Lodge. Meetings and workshops are in the Rainier Room and meals in the Alpine Room.)
8:30 – 9 a.m. – Registration
9 – 10 a.m. – NPW membership meeting
10:15 – 11:30 a.m. – “Navigating ‘Multi’ Media: Setting Yourself Apart,” Paula Lavigne
11:45 a.m. – 1:45 p.m. – Hall of Fame Luncheon. Recognition of newest inductees into Marian Andersen Nebraska Women Journalists Hall of Fame, high school contest winners and scholarship winners.
2 – 3 p.m. – “Bearing Witness: Backpack Journalism at Creighton University,” Carol Zuegner
3:15 – 4:15 p.m. – “Cutting Through the Clutter: Reaching Your Audience in a Digital World,” Joan Lukas and LeAnne Morman
4:30 – 5:30 p.m. – NPW action teams meet (all members welcome)
6 – 8:30 p.m. – Communication Contest Awards Banquet. Speaker: Gretchen Garrison, “Why Detours Are Beneficial”
8:30 p.m. – Hospitality room (Chateau Room)

Special thanks to our conference sponsors:  Nebraska Broadcaster’s Association, Nebraska Press Association, Omaha World-Herald and University of Nebraska at Omaha. 

Fall 2017 Conference Focus Is on Freelancing and Creating Award-winning Work

NPW’s fall conference on Sept. 30, 2018, in Osceola, Neb., featured the expertise and achievements of members. NPW Professional Development Director Jill Claflin organized two panel discussions, one focusing on freelancing, the other on the creating award-winning contest entries for the communications contest.

The first session focused on “The Nuts and Bolts of Freelancing.” Several members depend on freelancing for full or supplemental income, and three of them shared tips on how to get started and how to grow a freelance business. They were joined on the panel by Osceola native Terry Anderson, news editor for agricultural publications produced by Plaindealer Publishing. In that role, he hires freelancers and shared from that perspective.

The second session, “How They Did It: Contest Winners Give Us the Inside Scoop,” featured four winners from the 2016 Communications Contest sharing the stories of how their winning entries came about.

Read an overview of the conference sessions in the Winter 2017 Newsletter.

New Omaha World-Herald Executive Editor Headlines Spring 2017 Conference

Melissa Matczak photo

Melissa Matczak

“Striking the Balance” was the theme for the Nebraska Press Women’s spring conference April 29 in North Platte. We’ll be talking about work-life balance and about balancing the “post it now” demands of social media with the need to produce well-written, error-free copy. Our speakers will be Melissa Matczak and Gerri Berendzen.

Matczak, the first female executive editor of The Omaha World-Herald, talked about how she has balanced her career with raising a family of three daughters. She also led a session on online news, including social media. Matczak joined the World-Herald in 1997 as a reporter and became an assignment editor in 2001. She served as features editor, assistant managing editor and managing editor before being named executive editor in January 2017.

Berendzen led a session on the need to produce well-written, error-free copy.

Gerri Berendzen photo

Gerri Berendzen

Berendzen is the editorial adviser for the University Daily Kansan and teaches at the KU School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She is a national board member of the American Copy Editors Society. Her background includes working at newspapers for 32 years, as a visiting news editor at the Columbia Missourian and a visiting assistant professor of copy editing at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.


Special thanks to our conference sponsors:  Mid-Plains Community College and BH Media Group.

Fall Conference Features Outdoor Workshops

Fall-2016-conference-flyerThe celebration for Nebraska Press Women’s 70th anniversary continued during the Oct. 8, 2016, fall convention.

The “Down on the Farm” event featured jeans and boots, outdoor workshops focusing on polishing the sense of place in your writing and photography, and lunch built around beef brisket and chicken from a smoker next door to the restaurant in a converted barn.

The conference was held at Burchell’s White Hill Farm northwest of Minden.

Judy Nelson, Jill Claflin and Glennis Nagel enjoy the view at Burchell's White Hill Farmhouse Inn, site of NPW's fall convention.

Judy Nelson, Jill Claflin and Glennis Nagel enjoy the view at Burchell’s White Hill Farmhouse Inn, site of NPW’s fall convention.

The day also included a general membership meeting and announcement of the 2016 NPW Communicator of Achievement award winner.

Professional development workshops included:

  • Researching and writing biographies panel with Jan Thompson of Overton, Carol Lomicky of Kearney and Todd VonKampen of North Platte.
  • A Sense of Place writing workshop – Judy Nelson of Lincoln.
  • Outdoor workshops on writing and photography with Judy Nelson (writing) and Lori Potter (photography).

Former Chicago Tribune Managing Editor Headlines 2016 Spring Conference

Speaker, Jane Hirt1Former Chicago Tribune managing editor Jane Hirt was the keynote speaker at the NPW’s spring convention on April 23, 2016, in Lincoln. A 25-year veteran of the news media industry, Hirt embodies the NPW’s 70th anniversary convention theme of “Embracing the Future, Respecting the Past.”

The UNL journalism graduate was called a “charismatic leader who could make change happen” by Gerry Kern, the Chicago Tribune editor who recognized her abilities and tapped her for managing editor/vice president of the Tribune in 2008, a position she held until Nov. 24, 2014, when she stepped down to pursue personal interests.

The NPW spring convention also featured:
• a workshop on using social media for reporting, for community involvement and for promotion,  presented by Michelle Carr Hassler, assistant professor of practice at the UNL College of Journalism & Mass Communications (CoJMC)
• an update on the current state of journalism education by UNL CoJMC’s dean, Dr. Maria Marron
• a preview of CoJMC Professor Joe Starita’s book (due out in November) on Nebraska’s Susan LaFlesche Picotte, the first Native American female physician
• induction of the 2016 honorees into the Nebraska Women Journalists Hall of Fame, and a tour of the hall
• announcement of the state communications contest winners.

Many Thanks to our Sponsors: UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications, Nebraska Press Association, Nebraska Broadcasters Association, Nebraska Lottery, Firespring, BH Media (Omaha World-Herald), Lincoln Journal-Star, and Nebraska Farm Bureau.

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