KFOR: Shadow: Radio

logo2KFOR, a radio station in Lincoln, Nebraska continues to be one of the most successful “Full Service” AM radio stations in the country.  

While at the station’s headquarters on 38th and Cornhusker, I had the pleasure of meeting with Dale Johnson, Jeff Motz and Charlie Groban, news anchors at KFOR.  dale_small

I sat in with Johnson on a couple of his on-air news broadcasts and was even able to say “hey” on air.  “I bet 10/11 and the Journal Star didn’t do that,” he said.  In this cubicle, he discussed his script he had written that morning around 4 a.m and loaded on to the teleprompter.  He said it was important for him to re-write top news stories from the wire, newspaper or television in  his own words and conversational tone.    dsc052771

Johnson did the morning news and traffic updates.  He said radio has become a “hybrid” where on air personalities are able to do news and commercials, something you don’t see in television.

If the station alone is unable to get a needed soundbite for a news story, its partnership with channel 8 comes in handy.  KFOR, in exchange for these sound-bites lets channel 8 do its weather.  Channel 8 and KFOR “tip eachother off” on important breaking news.    

When editing its own soundbites, KFOR uses the computer program Adobe Audition.  

Jeff Motz, news and sports reporter, talked with me next on the topic of writing script.  He pointed out their use of the word “you,” in particular.  For instance when broadcasting the story about a dead body found behind Big Red Keno last night Motz said, “You may have noticed lots of police vehicles behind Big Red Keno last night.” 

I then watched as he fielded questions for the Cathy Blythe “Problems and Solutions” show.  He would simply answer, ask the caller’s name and hometown and whether they had a problem or solution.  He would jot this down with a black permanent marker onto pieces of scratch paper and tape them on the window facing into the recording studio.  In the middle or this, we went into a different studio for his newscast.

For a description of this job, click here



Lincoln Journal Star: Shadow: Sports Writer


I shadowed Brian Christopherson, sports writer for the Lincoln Journal Star.  Christopherson has worked for the Star for the past eight years, and this is his third year with the Husker football beat.


Favorite Husker memory: “I remember visiting the Rose Bowl with 60,000 Nebraskans. The passion of the fans is what makes this beat so exciting. I saw a grown man in overalls crying after the 40-15 loss to Kansas a couple years ago, only to see another grown man crying tears of joy a few weeks later after a 30-3 win over Colorado. A lot of outsiders would probably find that pretty silly, but I just understand it to be what comes with Nebraska football.”

Christopherson and I attended a Husker spring football practice.  At around 6 p.m. people from all Lincoln news outlets were all huddled near the entrance to the Hawks Stadium, Nebraska’s indoor football arena.  


Once inside, Chirstopherson and I headed straight for Zac Lee, quarterback for Nebraska.  Christopherson carried with him a tape recorder, and his fellow Journal Star employee carried a camera for a video clip.  The entire shadow experience lasted about an hour.  After the interview with Lee and a second interview  with Carl Pelini, we met with another player, and we finished.  At this point, Christopherson head back to the Lincoln Journal Star.  He expected to be there until around 9 p.m., but said he couldn’t complain, since he arrived to work around 3 p.m.   TS03EG08

Did I mention I was the only female in the entire place?

In the end, it was an enjoyable experience, though I can’t see myself on this particular beat.  If I were to follow sports, my sport of choice would most definitely be tennis.

For a description of this job, click here.

Lincoln Journal Star: Shadow: Photojournalist

Ted Kirk, photojournalist for the Lincoln Journal Star, and I went to game one of Tuesday’s doubleheader at Bowlin Stadium where University of Nebraska-Lincoln softball women won 2-1 over North Dakota State Tuesday.  Kirk and I arrived at the stadium a little before 2 p.m., went to the press box for the team lineup and then proceeded down the stands in pursuit of the “money shot.”


Kirk discussed lighting and focus but said there is no substitute for a great interesting subject.  Both strapped with a camera, we took hundreds of photos that game, only to choose two for the final article.   

We made it back in time from the game to catch the 4 p.m. meeting.  This meeting went more in depth than the previous meeting that morning as placement for stories and a definite centerpiece were chosen.  They made sure to include local stories as well as national stories on page 1A.  “Variety is a goal,” they said.TK090315


For a description of this job, click here.

Channel 10/11: Shadow: Broadcast


Upon arriving at the KOLNKGIN station on 40th and Vine, I was greeted by Brad Penner, managing editor for the station.  After a brief discussion on our connected pasts (I taught his daughter Bible school) we began to discuss the study of journalism and the changes the Web has brought KOLNKGIN.  Penner said, “It (KOLNKGIN’s content) is about 50/50” in terms of a video and Web focus.  


Alicia Myers, anchor/reporter for channel 10/11 and I began our day with her videographer, John Frost, at the Child Advocacy Center for her series on child advocacy month set to air next week.  Here Myers interviewed Debbe Andrews, child molestation victim and advocate for the center.  Frost took into account lighting sound, and setting.  He also took various shots of b-roll to enhance the video package. 

Back at the station, Myers and I discussed KOLNKGIN’s video-editing program, Avid, which is the same we use at the journalism college here at UNL.  She went on to discuss the process of logging stories on a program called Access that provides reporters a way to view clips in the same program where they write their script.  

We then took a break to watch the 12 p.m. newscast from inside the studio as well as behind the scenes in the production room.  What I found most interesting was that the anchors themselves control the speed of the teleprompter with a push-pedal when conducting one-man anchor spots.

dscf2261 Breaking news from the wire dictated the rest of my day.  At around 2:00 p.m., anchor/reporter Keller Russel and John Frost headed to the corner of Charlston and SunValley Boulevard by Oak Lake Park to cover a fatal shooting.  This was a very exciting twist in my day. Within minutes, we were on the scene trying to find out as much information as possible for the upcoming 5 p.m. news.  


My day at the station concluded with a post-air meeting where the staff constructively criticized aspects of the 6 p.m. newscast to make sure things would go more smoothly for the 10 p.m. show.

For a description of this job, click here.

Lincoln Journal Star: Shadow: Newspaper Reporter/Copy Editor


I arrived the Lincoln Journal Star at 10th and P this morning, waking before the sun.  At around 8:30 a.m., Margaret Reist, news reporter with a K-12 beat, and I headed to the city county building for a police briefing.  Here we were joined by members of theKLIN radio and channel 10/11.  Here, Police spokeswoman Katie Flood read police reports as reporters scribbled them down on their notepads, occasionally asking for clarification.  The most interesting story in my opinion was a toss up between a story of a mental patient and one about a Vietnamese couple.  It took police nearly three hours to find the patient in the storm sewers. He claimed “people were after him.”  Police found the man near 33rd and Huntington streets by listening to the echoes of the sirens from the man’s phone.  The story on the Vietnamese couple involved a neighbor who spent $20,000 of airfare to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam with their credit cards.  The man was their interpreter and supposed friend.


It was here I listened in on conversations between two of the listeners as they discussed whether the Southwest burglary, was actually a burglary or indeed just a theft as there was not a proven “breaking and entering.”  Tom Cassidy, chief of police, then introduced himself to me and said he recognized my name, only to add, “I have read your blog.” (very exciting)

On our drive back, Reist discussed the changes Internet has brought to journalism.  She said there was always a sense of immediacy, but now that sense is magnified.

Upon arriving back at LJS, we went to a 10 a.m. meeting.  Here Reist realized her day was going to be much more hectic than planned because in addition to her in-progress stories, her boss found the sewage tunnel story to be “very interesting.”  He said they had to “capitalize on it.”

At this meeting, I was introduced to everyone in the office, and the staff discussed stories they were working on and questioned that day’s front page of the local section.  A couple of staff members were upset that the story refrained from including mugshots of a man whowas shot.  Instead, the centerpiece was composed of only two photos, both similar and of the deceased’s family.

Reist, photojournalist Ted Kirk and a few other staff members then began asking me about my honors thesis.  After discussing the bleak outlook for newspapers, we discussed the need for journalism students to really get a hands-on-experience before graduation.  Kirk suggested the university offer internships with credit in lieu of pay.  This way students get the experience they need, the university doesn’t lose any money, and the Lincoln Journal Star gets the opportunity to really influence these young journalists.  Currently the LJS does not offer internships.

For a description of this job, click here.

I then gave Reist time to make all of her phone calls and started shadowing copy editor/page designer, Sandi Czapla.  Not only does Czapla edit, but she is in charge of writing cutlines and headlines for stories mostly in Ground Zero, the entertainment section of the LJS.  Interestingly enough, she was working on graphics for the Blue Note  70th Anniversary on Tour at the Lied for the Lied.  I was very familiar with the graphics she was using.  In fact, I had my hands on them sooner than she as I am currently working on the Leid’s marketing campaign for this performance along with other students from my advertising/PRclass with professor Sryani Tidball.  After contacting Pam Thompson, the Lied’s new marketing director just last week, I was given these photos.

I was interesting to watch  Czapla work in Quark, the Journal Star’s version of NDesign.  She was working on the food section and a story about a couple wholost weight,


 together.  Her title was “Recipe for Success.”  I thought it was perfect for the story.  Then, as I was told is the newspaper thing to do, we all went out to coffee.  On the way to and from, deadlines, headlines, and photos were the topic of conversation.

For a description of this job, click here.


Radio:  The radio announcer is responsible for producing, writing and editing news programs, along with serving as a radio announcer and news reporter. The announcer must conduct interviews regularly and exercise professional judgement in determining news to broadcast.  Sometimes, the announcer is required to do on-site broadcasts, commercials and promos.  

The following are examples of typical duties for radio announcers according to Northern Arizona University’s Human Resources:

  • Serves as a principal drive-time news announcer. 
  • Operates all equipment in the master control room and central equipment rack. 
  • Prepares and voices newscasts and writes news copy. 
  • Writes and edits introductions and continuity for reports, actualities and other elements inserted within network programming. 
  • Takes transmitter readings and adjusts power when necessary. 
  • Prepares and reviews program materials prior to broadcast. 
  • Reviews wire copy, public service announcements, underwriting announcements, pre-recorded reports and audio elements, newspapers,
  • faxes, program rundowns and other material including school closing announcements. 
  • Reports, interviews, writes, edits and produces program segments. 
  • Participates in fundraising and promotional efforts as assigned. 
  • Represents the station at industry and community functions and events.


Education and Training:  Typically requires a bachelor’s degree in a related field and prior experience as a radio announcer and/or a news producer.  

Expected Salary:median-hourly-rate-by-job-industry-radio-broadcasting-united-states_usd_20090313081012-v101



What you can do to prepare:  Working at your college radio station is most beneficial, as are classes in broadcast.  

Again, I though it would I thought it would be helpful to see an example of at least one want ad for a radio position currently circulating the Web to give you an idea of their exact requirements and description of the job. This job opening was posted two days ago on careerbuilder.com for Cybercoders inWausau, Wisconsin.

This position is open as of 3/20/2009. 
Radio Announcer, Country, AM, FM, Compelling Content, Cool Edit Pro, Vox Pro, Music Master 
Radio Announcer, Country, AM, FM, Compelling Content 
If you are a great Radio Announcer with 1+ years experience with outstanding creativity and enthusiasm, please read on! 
What you need:     

  •  HS Diploma or GED 
  •  Familiar with Cool Edit Pro, Vox Pro and Music Master 
  •  Samples of CommerciaL Productions 
    What you’ll be doing: 
  •  Participate in promotions and events 
  •  Have to have compelling content at all times 
  •  Creativity and Enthusiasm is a must What’s in it for you: 
  •  Comprehensive Benefits 
  •  Competitive Salary 
  •  You will be working with top shelf equipment in an outstanding broadcasting facility So, if you are a great Radio Announcer with 1+ years experience with outstanding creativity and enthusiasm, please apply today! 
  • For a story about shadowing someone with this job, click here.

    PR Representative/Specialist:

    PR Representative/Specialist:

    Public relations specialists serve as advocates for businesses, nonprofit associations, universities, etc., while building and maintaining positive relationships with the public.  They are responsible for drafting press releases as well maintaining contact with individuals in both print and broadcast who will disseminate their information.  PR reps must generate positive publicity for their clients.

    PR representatives must be good at communicating through print, in person and by phone. They must keep up with current events and be well versed in pop culture to keep a grasp on what will create public interest.

    Typical Day:

  • prepare press releases and contact people in the media who might print or broadcast their material;
  • arrange and conduct programs to keep up contact between organization representatives and the public;
  • represent employers at community projects;
  • make film, slide or other visual presentations at meetings and school assemblies;
  • plan conventions;
  • prepare annual reports and write proposals for various projects;
  • keep the public informed about the activities of government agencies and officials
  • What you can do to prepare: Membership in student organizations such as PRSSA, the Public Relations Student Society of America, is a good way to begin networking as well as to learn more information about the field.  Finding a mentor who can aid you in your experience is also helpful.  Internships are always beneficial.

    Education and Training: A college degree in public relations, journalism, advertising or news editorial is not required.

    Expected Salary:


    What you can do to prepare:

    Again,  I thought it would be helpful to see an example of at least one want ad for a PR representative position currently circulating the Web to give you an idea of exact requirements and job descriptions. This job opening was posted two weeks ago on careerbuilder.com in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.

    Job Description

    Looking for freelance work in a fast paced environment? EDMC (Education Management Corporation) is searching for a Public Relations Specialist – Interactive.

    Position Summary

    The Interactive Public Relations Specialist is responsible for creating and maintaining new media–based public relations deliverables and content in support in promoting all EDMC school systems.  The incumbent will work closely with other Public Relations staff members to augment promotional/student competition/media relations opportunities and to develop and maintain online Newsrooms for each school system (The Art Institutes, Argosy University, Brown Mackie College, South University).  In addition, this position manages internal online databases to ensure proper archiving of all Public Relations content produced.

    This position will work in close counsel with other EDMC departments (Advertising, BPC, Web Team) and to ensure quality assurance with the goals of enhancing image, maximizing school performance, and increasing prospective student and media interest in the schools.

    Key Job Elements

    1.      Create engaging new media content for school system Newsrooms, including promotional videos, photo galleries, success stories, and other public relations deliverables.

    2.      Edit, post and maintain promotional material to key social networking Websites and work to identify new external Web opportunities that target student demographics, prospective employers of EDMC graduates, and alumni.  Recommend new online PR tactics as needed.

    3.      Ensure regular update of EDMC Public Relations Intranet site and internal Public Relations shared drive (as department’s daily archive/ library system), including uploading of media placements, training material, press kits, competition guidelines, and strategic plans.

    4.      Focus on maintaining content on school system Newsrooms by regularly posting press releases, graduate success stories, faculty experts databases, press kits, and leadership bios, with an eye toward developing new Newsroom divisions.

    5.      Work with Advertising on generating Newsroom visitor/view reports on key Public Relations websites.

    6.      Assists VP of PR and AVP of PR in support of corporate communication initiatives.

    Position Specifications

    1.       3-6 years as a practicing PR professional

    2.       Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, English, Communications or Public Relations.

    3.       Solid knowledge of and experience with new online public relations tools, social networking Websites, blogs, and the online tools used to measure visibility of content.

    4.       Ability to use a broad spectrum of resources including, but not limited to print, Web/intranet, email, videoconferencing; “Web 2.0″ online resources such as wikis, social networking website; blogs, search engines, free online press release distribution services; del.icio.us, Technorati; and e-pitching technologies like MMNR’s, PR Trak, ProfNet, Bacon’s Media Resource, PR Newswire, Multi-Vu, ARA Content, E-Watch, Omniture, and MediaATLAS, to name a few.

    5.       Computer literate, marketing-minded, strategic yet creative thinker, self-starter, able to manage multiple projects simultaneously

    6.       Credible list of professional affiliations and/or certifications (i.e. PRSA, IABC, or APR).

    For a story about shadowing someone with this job, click here.