Spring Conference Features ESPN Investigative Reporter Paula Lavigne and Much More

Paula Lavigne, an ESPN investigative reporter working primarily for the Outside the Lines brand on television and online, was keynoted speaker for NPW’s spring conference May 5 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. 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 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 skillset.

Other presentations at the conference, which featured the theme “Who Knew? Media’s Evolution,” were:

“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, shared 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.

Joan Lukas, president and owner, and LeAnne Morman, senior account executive, of Lukas Partners presented “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.

Gretchen Garrison, author of the book “Detour Nebraska” and a freelance writer, talked about “Why Detours Are Beneficial.” Sometimes in writing (and in life), our path takes unexpected turns. Garrison has learned to embrace these new directions. Drawing from her travels across the state, Garrison showed that sometimes detours actually result in the best destinations.

Special thanks to our conference sponsors:  Nebraska Broadcaster’s Association, Nebraska Lottery, 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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