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.”
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.