‘First Amendment – First Editions’ Theme of Spring Conference

(Update:  The spring conference has been postponed because of the COVID-19 crisis. Watch for a new date to be announced later.)

Nebraska Press Women’s “First Amendment – First Editions” Spring Conference April 25 in
Seward will be a time to celebrate achievements, conduct business and take a 2020 look at the U.S. Constitution’s nearly 229-year-old First Amendment.

The first speaker, Charlyne Berens of Lincoln, is a retired associate dean and professor at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications. Berens described her topic “The First Amendment: Is It Always First?” this way: Americans love and value their right to free expression. But sometimes that right collides with something else we also value: privacy, security, respect. How do we decide, in a given instance, which value should take precedence? This program will explore how our principles and our history guide those decisions.

Also Saturday morning, UNL Assistant Professor of Practice in Visual Communications and Broadcasting Kaci Richter will talk about “Best Practices in Podcasting.”

The afternoon session focuses on “Newspaper Start-ups.”  Gothenburg Leader General Manager Rebecca Steward and LuAnn Schindler of Clearwater, editor and co-owner with her husband, Scott, of The Summerland Advocate-Messenger, will describe their newspapers, how and why they decided to create startups,and the difficulties and rewards of doing so.

Learn more about the conference sessions and speakers. Download Spring 2020 NPW Newsletter

Conference Schedule

Friday, April 24
East Hill Motel, 131 Main St. along Highway 34
6-8 p.m. – NPW board meeting
8 -10 p.m. – Hospitality – Motel meeting room

Saturday, April 25
Seward Public Library, 233 S. Fifth St.
8:30-9 a.m. – Registration
9-10 a.m. – NPW general membership meeting
10-11 a.m. – “The First Amendment: Is It Always First?” – Charlyne Berens
11:15-12:15 – “Best Practices in Podcasting,” Kaci Richter
12:15-2:15 p.m. – Lunch, with Seward official greeting, Hall of Fame
inductions, NPW High School Contest winners and scholarship recipients
2:30-3:30 p.m. – “Newspaper Start-ups” – LuAnn Schindler and Rebecca Steward
3:30-5:30 p.m. – Free time to shop, rest, network, etc.

Contest Awards Banquet
Nebraska National Guard Museum, 201 N. Eighth St.
5:30-6:30 p.m. – Museum tour
6:30-8:30 p.m. – NPW Professional Contest Awards Banquet
9 p.m. – Hospitality – East Hill Motel, president’s suite

Conference Hotel

East Hill Motel – 131 Main St. (Hwy. 34) – 402-643-3679
Block of rooms (with hot continental breakfast) reserved until March 24.

Registration Information

Deadline is April 17.
Register for full conference, daytime sessions, lunch only or banquet only. Student rates are available.
Download the Spring conference registration form 2020


Registration options
List any dietary restrictions:

Fall Conference Features Author of ‘There’s No Crying in Newsrooms’

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 at the Christensen Field Meeting Room. 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.

Broken Bow Conference Features Wind Farm Visit

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 Conference 2018 Held in Neligh

“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. She is the author of four books: “Louise Pound: The 19th Century Iconoclast Who Forever Changed America’s Views about Women, Academics and Sports,” “Portrait of a Chair: A Novel,” “Christmas in Elm Grove,” and “Antelope County (Imag­es in America).”

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.

ESPN Investigative Reporter Paula Lavigne Is Conference Speaker

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. 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 skill set.

Read an overview of the conference in the Summer 2018 Newsletter

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. 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 Conference Features Outdoor Workshops

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.

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.

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