Students advised to get "clips"
By Andrea K. Ciurej
Local media professionals shared their college experiences with communication students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Jan. 29.
The panel gathered in the Milo Bail Student Center to brief students on the importance of working for the Gateway, the student newspaper.
Omaha World-Herald reporters Christopher Burbach, Khristopher Brooks, Henry Cordes and Cindy Gonzalez; Wendy Townley, assistant director of University Relations at UNO; and Tom O’Connor, senior associate director of media relations at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, contributed to the panel titled “Gateway Confessions: Hear How Media Professionals Got Their Start,” sponsored by the Gateway, the UNO Publication Board and the School of Communication.
Panelists emphasize student newspaper writing value
Gonzalez, a 20-year veteran of the OW-H, used story clips from the Gateway to land her first job with a radio station.
Clips from the student newspaper are essential for any communication profession, she said. “You cannot get a job, you cannot in the newspaper market or public relations job without something to show your employer.”
Karen Weber enjoys the discussion
Experience is paramount, too.
Cordes, a former Gateway staff writer, started working for the OWH his freshman year of college. The Gateway launched his career as a news writer, helping him find his inner voice, he said.
Cordes said the classroom doesn’t provide students with this kind of experience. “They give you a lot of room to fall on your face, which is one of those things you’re going to have to do to learn the ropes of the business,” he said.
Townley, a former editor-in-chief of the Gateway, agrees. “It was so wonderful to have my feet held to the fire in a way that I never had in class before,” she said. Townley only had one year of writing experience from her high-school newspaper before approaching the Gateway.
“I just went in eager saying ‘I want to write,’” she said. Townley used the Gateway as a connection to the UNO campus, despite the late production nights every Sunday and Wednesday.
“If this is something you want to do with your life, you have to make time for it,” she said.