University of Nebraska-Lincoln
A publishing press must acquire works in order to publish them. It’s a simple concept that is often full of complications.
“We’re the engine that drives the train, so to speak,” Alisa Plant said.
If the acquisitions department at University of Nebraska Press is the engine, Plant is the conductor. Plant is the editor-in-chief and head of the acquisitions department at University of Nebraska Press. From her office just blocks east of the Capitol, Plant oversees 10 employees.
“We are responsible for getting the manuscripts that the Press then publishes,” Plant said in an interview from her office. “Everyone has certain fields in which they acquire and they seek out the best work in those fields and say, ‘Come publish with (University of) Nebraska (Press), because we’re the best.’”
Plant does more than just oversee the department. She spends time acquiring works in her own fields of expertise, such as the history and culture of food. Plant said when it comes to the rest of the department’s acquisitions, she is often in the background. When it comes to her own works, Plant says she is often in contact with her authors. Whether it’s providing feedback on what she’s read, interpreting reader’s reports for authors or providing a sounding board for the members of her department, Plant helps shape the works the Press publishes.
Being the editor-in-chief at an academic press was a career that Plant stumbled upon.
“It’s a specialized field. It’s not something people grow up wanting to be,” Plant said.
Plant was born in Kansas City, Kansas, and received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Kansas in 1987. After a long period that even included dropping out for a time, Plant received her doctorate in history from Yale University. In the early 2000s, Plant was teaching as an adjunct professor at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge while freelancing as a copy editor.
“I think unquestionably (editing) has made me a better acquisitions editor,” Plant said about her time as a copy editor. An editor's job is “to take someone’s work and not lose their voice, but try and fix it,” she said.
“I think being a copy editor has made me a better acquisitions editor because I can read a proposal and say, ‘Okay, yes. This makes sense,’ or ‘Oh my goodness, this is going to take a real heavy copy edit. This is going to take a long time,'" for it to be ready to be published.
In 2005, Plant said she was offered a full-time copy editing job at Louisiana State University Press, but was more inclined to an open position in the acquisitions field and accepted a job there. The move was providential. Just after she left teaching at LSU, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina resulted in the cancellation of the upcoming semester.
In 2015, after 10 years at LSU, Plant accepted the editor-in-chief of acquisitions position at the University of Nebraska Press.
As an acquisitions editor, Plant relies on building relationships with authors. Her department is the eyes and ears of the Press and is always looking for new authors and interesting manuscripts.
In order to do that, she increasingly uses social media. She uses Twitter to retweet links from UNP’s Twitter account and to maintain a connection with the literary world.
“It is also interesting to me in terms of creating communities,” Plant said about her use of Twitter, "because a lot of the people I follow, follow me.”
Admittedly, she isn’t the best with social media, but Plant continues to try to get her department to engage with potential authors and readers.
After a piece has been acquired, it enters the process of going from manuscript to a book. At an academic press, a lot of published works are works of academia. A dissertation written by a graduate student that was meant for a very small committee must be reworked into a more readable form. For Plant, that means navigating through jargon, slimming down the thick writing of academia and checking the sources and footnotes.
“I will tell them to cut their footnotes (and) eliminate talky footnotes,” Plant said of turning authors’ dissertations into books.
Each editorial decision is often made as a team with the marketing and editorial, design and production departments. As editor-in-chief, Plant settles disputes between authors, editors and other departments.
“Sometimes there are title disputes," she said. "For example, one editor totally loves a title, the author does too, but marketing hates it or vice versa,” Plant said. “We have to come to some sort of compromise there and often I’m brought in with that.”
Despite the many turns in the track on the way to becoming the head of an acquisitions department, Plant said she is happy.
For those pursuing a career in editing, Plant has tips. First, study style guides and have patience, she said. Keep an open eye out for chances and hang around when they find them, she said.
“The way most careers happen is by a combination of luck and persistence and hard work,” Plant said. “That’s kind of a tried-and-true old song, but there’s a reason it’s an old song.”
By Mack Campbell
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Tinka Davi isn’t ready to give up journalism.
At 77 years old, the retired special sections editor for The Sacramento Bee is writing stories – this time as a freelance reporter and editor.
Davi said she has a strong passion for sharing stories.
“I’m constantly learning. People are interesting,” Davi, who lives in Folsom, California, said in a phone interview.
As a freelancer, things have slowed. Weeks are less packed with interviews and stories, she said. But, she writes about things she is passionate about and doesn’t turn down stories.
Davi was the editor of special sections at The Sacramento Bee, where she worked for 18 years. Before she retired in 2000, she led a team of six people who worked for sections that covered real estate, interior design, home shows and other topics. They produced copy and layouts for up to six sections a week and worked on annual dining guides, gift guides, State Fair sections, auto shows and sections for other annual events.
Davi said she enjoyed the less hectic schedule of special sections because she didn’t have daily deadlines like the rest of the newsroom.
Davi said she didn’t face too many challenges as editor. She had a hard-working staff who rarely made mistakes.
Davi said she has always had a passion for writing, but she did not expect to work for a newspaper.
As a child, she seemed destined for a job in print. Her mother would put copy paper in manila folders and Davi would write and illustrate books. As a young adult, she listened to the radio and took notes as if she were a reporter. She developed basic skills in journalism class in high school.
It wasn’t until college that she took the plunge.
A teaching assistant at the University of California, Berkeley recommended she apply for a job at the Hayward Daily Review in Hayward, California.
“I interviewed for it and got the job,” she said.
Davi loves seeing her writing published and how stories affect people. She still sends copies of her stories to relatives.
She has been impacted by many stories she’s written. She is very proud of a story that ran in the California newspaper the Press Tribune in 2012 in which she wrote about A Touch of Understanding, an organization that runs disability awareness programs for young people.
Davi said the hardest part about being a journalist is waiting for call backs. When a source won’t call a reporter back, the reporter risks missing a deadline.
She said journalism has changed since she graduated from college. Journalists have to be more assertive today, she said.
One pet peeve she has is the overuse of adjectives. Reporters rarely would write “the horrific accident” or “the beautiful garden." It was up to readers, through examining pictures and the article, to form those opinions, she said.
One piece of advice Davi has for students seeking jobs in journalism is: Don’t work for free. She believes, although experience is important, writers deserve to be paid for their work.
By JP Davis
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Trying new things and trying to stand out is what led Nickolai Hammar to Hear Nebraska, a non-profit music and arts organization where he works as visuals editor.
Once a rookie to the cultural scene, Hammar now documents and explores Nebraska’s music and arts community.
He applied for an internship at Hear Nebraska out of curiosity.
“I felt like I didn't know anything about local music,” Hammar, 22, said during an interview at the journalism college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he is a student.
As visuals editor, Hammar uses stories, videos and photographs to promote the Nebraska music scene.
He likes that Hear Nebraska helps bring music to the under-21 crowd that can’t see bands in bars. And, it educates on the unknown regions of underground performance
“[When I was younger] I always heard about these bands that people were talking about, and I felt completely lost...I think the most important part of my job is providing an outlet that a 14 or 15-year-old me could have gone to look at, and found out about shows and bands,” he said.
Hammar, who is from Lincoln, is one of two visuals editors at Hear Nebraska. The other visuals editor, Chris Dinan, is in Omaha. The nascent non-profit has traditionally been run by interns, contributors and volunteers, but now has a small a full-time and part-time editorial staff thanks to grants and fundraising.
Hammar joined Hear Nebraska as an intern in 2013 and became visuals editor in 2015.
But, he also attends UNL, where he is majoring in journalism and nearing graduation. He has worked as the video editor and staff photographer at the Daily Nebraskan and created international multimedia pieces as a part of the Global Eyewitness photojournalism program.
At Hear Nebraska, Hammar works to expose Nebraska as a cultural destination.
“Nebraska is not a really saturated music scene,” said Hammar. “There is a lot of room for creativity for artists like Mesonjixx (a young Lincoln R&B band) that don't really have any comparable artists in Nebraska. I don’t think that there is anyone who is playing the same kind of music that they are…there is a lot of room for people to try new things and try to stand out.”
Hear Nebraska staff produce and write multimedia pieces, feature stories, artist profiles and concert reviews. Hear Nebraska also holds events and concerts centered on Nebraska music such as The Good Living Tour, a nine-date concert series in Nebraska.
Hear Nebraska’s mission is to make the state a globally-recognized cultural destination by cultivating Nebraska’s “vibrant, fertile music and arts community.”
One way to do that is with social media, which Hammar handles a lot. It's a balancing act of informing people, but not overwhelming them, he said.
“I think it is kind of annoying if you see the same posts from us on five different platforms…It’s like if someone were to call, text, email and Facebook message you, ‘Wanna hang out?’”
Hear Nebraska also acts as a cultural hub for information about shows and Hammar hopes bands turn to Hear Nebraska for exposure.
“People should understand that getting their band covered by us or getting us to premier a song or whatever is as easy as reaching out,” he said.
A huge part of Hammar’s job is to keep bands on his radar and cover new and exciting material, as well as help unnoticed acts become noticed. Hammar said he wants to show people the unique artists in Nebraska and encourage people to support them.
Hammar said, “The best possible outcome of me doing my job is a kid seeing photos or a video of a performance of a band and coming away from that thinking, ‘I want to go to that band’s show,’ or, ‘I want to start my own band because that looks … awesome.’”
By Cheyenne Rowe
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Brian Clark Howard, a National Geographic editor and writer, had always been attracted to science, but he never knew it would become such a large part of the stories he would tell later in his life.
Following the love he had for environmental and world issues, Howard graduated from the University of Indiana in Bloomington with degrees in geology and biology. But it was an internship at E-The Environmental Magazine that sparked his love for environmental journalism. He became managing editor of the magazine in 2001.
“I think that definitely the internship that I took was a turning point,” Howard, 37, said in a phone interview. “I was not sure how much I would like it, but I actually had a really good time. It was a lot of fun. That’s how I decided ‘Oh, I could actually make a career out of this.’ I never really knew exactly what I was going to do growing up. I was always attracted to science, but I hadn’t thought of this path.”
Howard received a graduate degree in 2007 from Columbia University School of Journalism in New York.
He has worked as a social media consultant, author and web editor at The Daily Green, another environmental Web magazine. In 2011, he joined National Geographic, where he has worked as a writer, editor and producer for the environmental news portion of National Geographic magazine.
“I do quite a bit of writing now,” said Howard, who lives in Washington D.C. and grew up in Indiana. “For a while I was doing a lot more editing.”
Howard’s days are packed full. He writes, attends about two meetings a day and keeps a running tab on National Geographic's Twitter account, @NatGeoMag. He also edits content on Snapchat.
Even with all the work, Howard said he enjoys his job because he learns something different every day, talks to interesting people and sees interesting things.
Working for National Geographic, Howard gets a special combination of the journalistic world every time he comes to work. The news judgment decisions he and the staff face tie in with immediacy and the demand for accuracy.
Because of the nature of the publication, writers and editors at National Geographic are more focused on deciding if “people are going to gain a lot from a whole new story on something,” he said. National Geographic usually operates more by adding to a story then they do by breaking the news to people themselves.
“That’s one of the things we look at,” he said. “Can we add to the conversation? Can we say something that’s meaningful?”
Something that is very important to Howard and National Geographic is the need for accuracy.
National Geographic is a scientific magazine, especially where Howard is concerned in environmental writing, and the audience it reaches is one of professionals, well-educated adults and “people who are interested about the world.”
Inaccurate information could damage the reputation of the magazine and its brand, he said.
The advice Howard had for aspiring editors or journalists was simple: Keep doing exactly what you want to do.
“If you’re an aspiring writer, write as much as possible. If you’re an aspiring science writer, write as much science as possible. If you’re a photographer, take as many pictures as you can,” Howard said.. “Just keep doing the work and getting it out there.
“Keep doing the work you want to do, because the less you do it the harder it is to do it.”
By Parker Cyza
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
When Kyle Cummings was in middle school, he was asked — as every kid is — what he wanted to be when he grew up.
He thought about it, and wrote his answer on paper to put in his time capsule for school.
“It was the first time I’ve ever been asked what I wanted to be,” Cummings said in an interview at his office at the Alliance Times-Herald. “Initially, I wrote down that I wanted to be a play-by-play announcer. And that adapted into ‘I want to cover sports.’”
So Cummings kept with it. He wrote for his high school newspaper and looked into potential careers for covering sports.
“And I think I’m too stubborn,” Cummings said about his career choices. “I can’t change my mind very easily.”
Cummings, 23, is from Alliance, a small Nebraska town of about 8,500. He graduated from Alliance High School in 2010, and later attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. At UNL, he majored in journalism and covered Husker sports — particularly Husker football — for the Daily Nebraskan.
“I kind of got lucky (to cover Husker football),” he said. “I had only worked at the DN for two semesters and that was basically because they were really low on numbers when I got in.”
When Cummings became one of the older students at the paper, he got to cover Husker football.
He graduated from UNL in December 2013 and landed a job with the Columbus Telegram in Columbus, Nebraska, and worked as a sports reporter from December 2013 to March 2015.
At the Telegram, Cummings said he learned the value of writing local content. People still care about what’s going on in town, especially with sports, he said.
“I kind of got a feel for how to balance things and how I kept local content in the paper,” he said.
Cummings also learned about the importance of building sources. Talking to players, coaches or fans is important for nearly every story, he said.
“The communication with coaches has always been big for me,” he said. “They’re huge in helping you find stories and developing those relationships.”
In March 2015, Cummings returned to his hometown of Alliance to write for the Alliance Times-Herald. He was offered the sports editor position, and is the only sports writer on staff.
With no other sports writers on duty for the Times-Herald, Cummings juggles everything on the sports page. He covers high school games in Alliance and the nearby town of Hemingford. He takes the pictures and writes previews and features. He collects sports stories from the nearby colleges of Western Nebraska Community College and Chadron State College and decides what other content he’ll put in the paper.
“(The Alliance Times-Herald) has given me free reign. They’ve let me go out and cover what I want to cover, how I want to cover it and where I want to go,” he said.
The best part about his job, Cummings said, is getting to know the people he’s covering.
“When I got back (to Alliance), I didn't know hardly anyone anymore,” said Cummings. “But it’s been nice getting to go around and get to know the kids and their families.”
The toughest part about his job is deciding what content to put in and how to balance the coverage.
“It’s a lot more important in a small town paper,” he said. “It’s tough to decide where I’m going to go this weekend to make sure I give everyone fair coverage, so I’m not overlooking a sport. It’s a balancing act.”
At the start of every week, Cummings goes through the upcoming events around the area for the week and decides what he’s going to cover and what he can’t.
“My main goal has been at least one local story per day,” he said. The rest, he said, goes to national, regional or state stories.
Cummings said he gives local stories a high priority. However, in a smaller town, there isn't a game or event happening every day. On the days where there’s not a game, he’ll plug in a feature or a preview of a game happening the following day.
The Times-Herald is largely a print-oriented newspaper. It has a website, which mostly posts local stories for readers, but it will have to get better, Cummings said.
“We’ll have to integrate more into online eventually,” he said. “Right now, Alliance has an older readership so that’s really helped us stay with print. So we have a few years, but we’re starting to do some online publishing.”
With the constant change in the world of journalism, Cummings said the biggest change will be how people get their news, which, he said, “is scary for small town newspapers” that don't have a strong online presence.
“It’s going to have to come out quicker and to a wider audience,” he said. “Going forward, it’s just a matter of how we’re getting (stories) to them and to what medium we’re getting it to them.”
To boost viewership online, Cummings keeps tabs on his Twitter account, but is not as active as he should be, he said.
“I don't update it as quickly as I would like,” he said. “But just looking at the clicks and the views, it’s clearly important and clearly where people are starting to get their news. They start with social media and get to the news outlets that way. It’s kind of the gateway in.”
Cummings' advice for journalists is simple. “You’ve got to learn to love what you do,” he said. “You have to learn to have a passion for what you do. Otherwise it will show in your work quite clearly that you didn't care that day.”
By Abi Wedding
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Being a young, fresh face in the journalism industry can be a challenge, but it's one Amanda Brandt, digital content editor and city hall reporter at the Kearney Hub, has tackled head on.
Since she graduated from Creighton University in May 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Brandt has worked at two Berkshire Hathaway-owned papers. In January, she'll move to a Berkshire Hathaway paper in Texas.
Brandt didn’t always have her heart set on journalism. She changed her major to journalism her senior year of college.
"I wanted to go into politics or law,” Brandt, 23, said. “Maybe something international because I love to travel.”
She soon realized the path wasn't a good fit. At the suggestion of a professor, she switched to public relations and marketing. The summer before her senior year, Brandt had an internship at a marketing firm, which pushed her toward journalism.
Before joining the Kearney Hub in the summer of 2014, she worked at the Omaha World-Herald as a special section intern and covered community events.
After that, she joined the Kearney Hub because she wanted to work in her hometown and stay at a newspaper owned by BH Media Group, the Berkshire Hathaway company that owns newspapers around the country.
"You want to have a job you love and I do love my job, but staying in the same company is helpful in the long run," Brandt said during a telephone interview.
As digital content editor at the Kearney Hub, Brandt oversees all the online material and creates unique media plans. She finds, follows and develops stories using social media platforms.
"As far as the various platforms go, Twitter is my favorite because I like the challenge of the 140 character limit. It's a fun exercise in brevity," Brandt said.
As a young journalist, Brandt was expected to know how to shoot and edit photos and video and run a stellar social media plan, all while reporting news. At the Kearney Hub, she began as a feature and digital reporter handling basics, such as copying, pasting and posting stories on the Web.
Over time, Brandt put more of an emphasis on adding various components to the website. She gets satisfaction jazzing up a story by adding videos, creating graphics, and embedding related links.
"The way I changed the paper's media presence proved to the people here that I'm good at the Web stuff and that I have the writing, reporting, and technical skills needed to boost the online presence and traffic," Brandt said. “Seeing the amount of viewer traffic for a story that I worked hard on was astonishing.”
In January 2016, Brandt plans to take on a new challenge when she becomes digital content editor for The Eagle, a BH Media Group newspaper in Bryan-College Station, Texas.
She is looking forward to working at a morning paper. The Kearney Hub comes out in the afternoon.
At The Eagle, she will write headlines and captions for reader-submitted images, but her concentration will be on social media and promotional content.
"They currently have the managing editor handling all of the online content and it's too much for one person so they need somebody to focus on it," Brandt said.
She hopes that leaving the role of reporter will allow her more time to write on her own. “I'm really going to miss having a beat to report,” said Brandt, who is looking forward to updating her personal blog. “But I look forward to writing for myself again.”
By Abbie Petersen
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Being a reporter has been a lifelong dream for Haley Herzog, 22-year-old Omaha native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate.
Her passion has its origins in her 1999 abduction by a stranger. Herzog, then a 6-year-old girl, was kidnapped from a Council Bluffs, Iowa, park and released later that day. She says incorrect information was released by the media.
So, Herzog learned at a young age the importance of verifying facts. Herzog wanted to be a reporter so that she could report the truth. Before graduating from UNL with a degree in journalism and political science, Herzog had two internships and was involved in the National Broadcasting Society.
Although her kidnapping happened 16 years ago, her motivation to report persists today.
In her job at WLNS-TV in Lansing, Michigan, Herzog reports and produces. As a reporter, she pitches stories in morning meetings, gathers contacts and sets up and conducts interviews.
“I make sure I shoot b-roll and then come back to the station and pick out the sound bites I want to use, write my script, get it approved, voice my track and then put my track and sound bites together and edit corresponding b-roll over it to bring it all together,” Herzog said in a phone interview.
Herzog said she never knows what to expect day-to-day. She said she is never bored with her job and is always on her feet, meeting interesting people.
Although Herzog has been working in Michigan for several years, she hasn’t worked on a major news story.
“Since I have been here it has been a lot of hard news or really fluff stuff,” Herzog said.
She enjoyed a ride along she did with the Greater Lansing Food Bank delivery truck - an assignment that started at 7 a.m. Herzog carried in boxes and met the volunteers who help at the food bank.
Herzog writes and edits her own scripts and then gives them to a news director to critique. Herzog said editing her writing is important, but so is editing her shots.
She advised other broadcast reporters to re-read scripts many times and in different voices, check shots to make sure they are clear and not overexposed or underexposed.
When it comes to making tough news decisions, Herzog said sometimes it’s just about asking.
“I always ask before shooting someone, and with stories I feel iffy on, I ask my news director," she said.
Another thorny issue is social media, she said.
Herzog said social media and the race to be first have hurt journalism's credibility.
"Everything happens so fast so we have to do our best to get it out to the public, while maintaining our credibility with keeping the facts straight," she said.
One of the biggest struggles Herzog faces is competition in the TV news industry. She said that finding a first job is a struggle, the salary is low and newcomers often start out on less desirable shifts or do jobs others might not want to do.
She was hired part time as a part-time producer. She now produces the weekend morning show, which means she wakes up at 11 p.m., gets to work at 12:30 a.m. and goes home at 9:30 a.m.
“Producing has made me a much better writer," she said. "I love the small morning weekend team I work with, and I have had a lot of opportunities to report for the show as well.”
In the future, Herzog hopes to be reporting full time and she said she would love to anchor in a community that she volunteers in and has connections.
Herzog said she didn’t let the 1999 kidnapping define her. If anything, it increased her drive to do the thing she loves: reporting.
And, Herzog said she has some advice for journalism students.
“Work hard now, get internships, talk to people, stay in touch with contacts, and don’t give up," she said. "It is a hard industry to break into and don’t let that keep you down. Some days and even weeks are really hard and you feel like giving up or that it is all just too much, but if you really love it you will make it through."
By Zach Hammack
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lisa Eisenhauer doesn’t work your typical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Eisenhauer, 51, is the night metro editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She's in charge of the metro news that happens after hours.
Her night staff, while updating developing stories from the day, goes out and reports on news as it breaks, whether it is a fire or a shooting.
One of the bigger tasks as a night editor is contacting sources, said Eisenhauer, who typically works a 3 p.m. to midnight shift,.
“People are at their offices in the daytime, so you can track down judges and principals, for example,” Eisenhauer said in a phone interview. “At night you have to track them down at home or find cell numbers. It’s a challenge to find people at night.”
Eisenhauer, a native of Du Quoin, Illinois, fell in love with journalism in high school, writing for the student newspaper. She continued this passion into college.
After graduating from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, she started her career as a reporter.
Before taking her position at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Eisenhauer worked for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.
Eisenhauer’s initial role as a reporter gave her a unique view on editing.
“I had a reporter’s perspective on how challenging it can be to fill holes in stories,” Eisenhauer said. It was a challenge, she said, to get people to talk and cut down information.
Eisenhauer’s job has evolved from being primarily a reporter to now being the night metro editor in St. Louis.
It’s important, she said, to know that, as an editor, the story you edit is not your story.
“It’s their [the reporters’] story,” Eisenhauer said. "It’s my job to make sure it’s correct, that it reads well, and gets across the point they want to tell.”
Eisenhauer stressed the importance of maintaining the reporter’s voice while still upholding the story’s clarity.
Deadlines are especially important for the night staff at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch because first editions start printing at 10:45 p.m. The next edition arrives at around 11:30 p.m., usually finishing up around 12:30 a.m.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch also functions as an online news source, setting deadlines for digital media around the clock.
“We work for online; it’s a new world,” Eisenhauer said. “We’re constantly keeping up to date, posting stories, updating stories.”
She explained how reporters and editors would stay overnight in the newsroom while the events in Ferguson, Missouri, were unfolding, posting as much current information as possible.
“We’re always trying to get a story first. We have to beat TV and all the other websites,” Eisenhauer said. “Deadlines are every minute.”
Eisenhauer deals with a lot of crime because of the time of day her staff covers the news.
With this type of news comes a lot of ethical issues for editors.
“There are always issues with crime victims, like knocking on the door of families of somebody who was involved,” Eisenhauer said.
Eisenhauer explained a recent case where someone filed a sexual assault claim against a high-profile individual. No one, however, was charged in the case.
“In general we don’t name anyone who makes those claims or anyone who is charged in a filed sexual assault case,” Eisenhauer said. “But this one had some grey areas.”
As a journalist, ethics is a part of the everyday process, she said.
One of the most important lessons Eisenhauer has learned at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is taking care of a story.
“You should never harm a story,” she said. “You may want to clarify, to improve, to illuminate, but don’t inject errors. Don’t overstate something.”
As an editor, she said, there exists a fine line one has to tread between overdoing it and not harming a story.
The dynamic between editors and reporters is a straightforward relationship, Eisenhauer said.
“I’m the point person for the night copy editors,” she said. “Any error in any story from the metro staff comes to me.”
These errors can include making sense of ambiguous quotes or making calculations on the spot.
“Part of my work is production - making sure everything that goes into the paper is correct,” she said.
Some important editing tools the staff at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch rely on include the Associated Press Stylebook and reference books like a dictionary.
Editors use websites like LinkedIn to fact-check the spellings of names and titles.
Editing skills are some of the most important skills one can learn, Eisenhauer said.
She explained how her husband, who used to work in the journalism field but now works for a corporation, benefited from learning editing.
“They love his editing skills,” she said.
Eisenhauer described editing as a lost art and a necessary skill for anyone who is trying to get into the journalism industry. Her experience as a reporter taught her this importance.
“It’s the ability to use language well to communicate clearly,” she said, talking about editing. “It’s super important.”
A note about the content: This site showcases the final projects of University of Nebraska-Lincoln editing students. Each semester, students pick a journalist or communications professional to profile. This is their work.
This is me. I run this site.