Spring Conference Focuses on Journalists Persevering

Nebraska Journalists: Proudly Persevering is the theme for the Nebraska Press Women Spring Conference April 22 at the Homestead National Monument Education Center on the west edge of Beatrice.

Morning speakers will be author Alan J. Bartels, Lower Loup Natural Resources District information and education coordinator, and former editor of NebraskaLife magazine, and Carol Lomicky, an author and professor emerita in journalism at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Bartels’ topic, “How not to become a writer,” will include an update on his second book, “100 Things to do in the Nebraska Sandhills before you die,” which will be published in September.

Lomicky, an NPW member, will speak on “Newspapers: Gone like the Buffalo?” and focus on what newspaper mergers, acquisitions and closures mean for local communities.

NPW High School Communications Contest winners will be recognized at lunch

Afternoon speaker LuAnn Schindler of Clearwater will tell us about launching a new weekly newspaper in 2019, the Summerland Advocate-Messenger. She was the 2021 Nebraska Press Women Communicator of Achievement and was named the 2022 National Federation of Press Women COA last June in Fargo, N.D.

There will be a short late afternoon membership meeting, followed by time to explore the Homestead National Monument museum and grounds.

At the 6 p.m. banquet at the Black Crow restaurant, professional communications contest winners will be honored and two women will be inducted into the Marian Andersen Nebraska Women’s Journalism Hall of Fame.

Registrations are $70 per person for the full day or $40 for the lunch and speakers only. Guest tickets are $20 for lunch and $35 for supper.

The schedule includes:

  • 9:30 a.m. – Introduction
  • 10 a.m. – How Not to Become a Writer, Alan J. Bartels
  • 11 a.m. – Newspapers: Gone Like the Buffalo, Carol Lomicky
  • 12:15 p.m. – Lunch
  • 1:45 p.m. – Everything You Wish You Knew about Starting a Newspaper, LuAnn Schindler
  • 3 p.m. – Business meeting
  • 3:30 – 5 p.m. – Time on your own to explore Homestead National Monument
  • 6 – 8:30 p.m. – Awards banquet
Register online using the option below to pay with a credit card or PayPal.

Fall 2022 Conference

Past Conferences

Fall 2023

Keynote speaker Jennifer Nelson is a senior staff attorney with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, where she leads its pre-publication and pre-broadcast review practice, oversees the publication of and updates to the Reporters Committee’s legal guides, and supervises its hotline for journalists. She talked about rights and responsibilities for freelancers. The afternoon speaker was NPW member Eileen Wirth, a professor emeritus of journalism at Creighton University and author specializing in Omaha history. She talked about her recently published book, “The Women Who Built Omaha,” and have books to sign and sell.

Spring 2022

Nebraska may be late to the non-profit news movement party, but that’s not necessarily bad, according to the leaders of the Cornhusker State’s two non-profit news entities. Cate Folsom, editor-in-chief of the Nebraska Examiner, and Matt Wynn, executive director of the Nebraska Journalism Trust, which funds the Flatwater Free Press, discussed the challenges of launching these new non-profit media outlets at the Nebraska Press Women Spring Conference in York. Both said Nebraska’s relatively late entry into the category gave them a chance to see what worked – and didn’t work – at other non-profit news
outlets around the country. The two non-profit publications are based on different models, but both dedicate themselves to providing journalism as a public service that fills some of the gaps in the existing media.

Fall 2021

Nebraska Press Women celebrated its 75th anniversary during its Fall Conference October 9 in Grand Island with the theme 75 Years of Truth Telling. Keynote speaker was Sherri Burr, attorney, educator, TV arts program producer, newspaper columnist, travel writer and Pulitzer Prize-nominated author. She also is New Mexico Press Women president and the 2021 National Federation of Press Women Communicator of Achievement.

Burr’s topic for the evening banquet was “The Story Behind the Book.” She talked about her book, “Complicated Lives: Free Blacks in Virginia, 1691-1865.” Published in 2019, it was nominated for a Pulitzer in the history category.

Her morning presentation was on “The Illusion of Control in the Digital Era.”

Spring 2021

The virtual event featured a photography workshop by Scott Umstattd, a travel and documentary photographer with more than 30 years of experience shooting around the globe.

In addition to continuing his own photography endeavors, he is a presenter at photography workshops and is the author of “Fighting the Evils of Darkness: A Low Light Photography Survival Guide,” which was his focus for the Nebraska Press Women presentation. He also has written hundreds of informative articles on his photography blog, What Makes a Picture Powerful at picture-power.com.

Fall 2020

Held virtually via Zoom, the program focus was “Newspaper Start-ups.”  Gothenburg Leader General Manager Rebecca Steward and LuAnn Schindler of Clearwater, publisher and co-owner with her husband, Scott, of The Summerland Advocate-Messenger, talked about their newspapers, how and why they decided to create startups, and the difficulties and rewards of doing so.

Fall 2019 

Kristin Gilger, co-author of the book “There’s No Crying in Newsrooms: What Women Have Learned about What It Takes to Lead,” was keynote speaker for NPW’s fall conference on Oct. 12, in Fremont.  Gilger, the Cronkite School’s senior associate dean at Arizona State University and a UNL alum, talked about her book and lead a conversation about the challenges and opportunities for women in leadership.

A panel discussion, “When Disaster Strikes, Nebraska Strikes Back,” focused on the media’s response to flooding earlier this year. Panelists were Erin Grace, Omaha World-Herald columnist; Rose Ann Shannon, retired news director of KETV; and Tammy Real-McKeighan, news editor of the Fremont Tribune.

Spring 2019

NPW’s 2019 Spring Conference April 26 and 27 in Broken Bow featured a field trip to a ranch north of Broken Bow to see the giant wind turbines on the pasture hills. Matthew Haumont described the pros and cons of the wind farm project for his family, one of the first ranch families to approve land leases for turbine construction.

The keynote workshop by Laurinda Weisse, an assistant professor in Calvin T. Ryan Library at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, focused on digital filing system options for photographers, self-employed freelancers and others.

Fall 2018 

“Recording Memories:  Writing and Rewinding History” was the theme for NPW’s Fall Conference held Oct. 6, 2018, in Neligh. The morning session focused on historic writing, with author Marie Krohn, a Neligh native.  A former teacher, Krohn left the classroom after 17 years and em­barked on a writing career. Gloria Christiansen, a former educator from the Clearwater and Neligh areas, provided an overview of The Rural School Project. Christiansen spearheads a local committee which secured a former country school, moved it 10 miles to Neligh and is in the process of renovating it, as part of the Antelope County Museum complex. NPW member and History Nebraska board member Eileen Wirth spoke on “History Nebraska: Building Our Future on Our Past.”

Read an overview of the conference in the Winter 2018 Newsletter.

Spring 2018

Paula Lavigne, an ESPN investigative reporter working primarily for the Outside the Lines brand on television and online, was keynote speaker for NPW’s spring conference May 5, 2018,  in Omaha. 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. She has degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Creighton University.

Lavigne presented a workshop on “Navigating ‘Multi’ Media: Setting Yourself Apart” where she talked 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 skill set.

Read an overview of the conference in the Summer 2018 Newsletter

Fall 2017 

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.

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

Spring 2017 

Melissa Matczak photo

Melissa Matczak

“Striking the Balance” was the theme for the Nebraska Press Women’s spring conference April 29 in North Platte. Topics were work-life balance and balancing the “post it now” demands of social media with the need to produce well-written, error-free copy.

Melissa 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.

Fall 2016

The 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.

Spring 2016

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.

Past Convention Locations

Spring Fall
Conference canceled
Broken Bow
North Platte
Peru State College
Council Bluffs, IA
Mahoney State Park
Broken Bow
West Point
Council Bluffs
North Platte
Grand Island
Grand Island
Grand Island
Omaha/Council Bluffs
Red Cloud
Central City
North Platte
Red Cloud
Nebraska City