Homegrown outlets discuss state of Nebraska news
OMAHA, Neb. -- With the changes in the media landscape, Nebraska is noticing a change in the way information is gathered and shared.
The Flatwater Free Press, the state’s first nonprofit newsroom, held a forum with representatives from various other news outlets about how Nebraska’s journalists are adjusting to this new wave of news dissemination.
With the support of Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, members from North Omaha Information Support Everyone (NOISE), NPR’s Midwest Newsroom, Lenfest Institute, Flood Communications and Nebraska Journalism Trust discussed this adaption to media.
Matt Wynn, the executive director of Nebraska Journalism Trust, the organization that funds the Flatwater Free Press, said news in the state needs to refocus on its initial values of connecting the community through stories that matter to its people.
“I wanted to make sure that investigations are a part of the conversation, that we had time to do stories that need to be done. Stories that have soul, a heartbeat that makes us connect with the place that we are,” Wynn said. “The traditional media is so based on clicks.”
And this change has been evident with journalists from established news organizations leaving their positions and joining independent, investigative, non-profit media organizations like the Flatwater Free Press.
However, this doesn’t mean that news outlets that report on breaking news are leaving the media landscape, with varying news organizations working collaboratively.
“All journalists in this state need to be sort of a whole ecosystem. It requires a level of collaboration, a level of putting your ego to the side and realizing there are multiple outlets that can do their own thing well and if you can collaborate and share that work, that serves the entire state,” said Flood Communications News Director Patrick Janssen.
This also includes putting together a team of freelancers and reporters from various states and cities to work on a single project. Much like NPR’s Midwest Newsroom, a public radio collaboration of stations in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska that produce investigative stories.
Holly Edgell, the managing editor of NPR’s Midwest Newsroom, said her organization is reporting on investigative stories that reach local, regional and national audiences.
“People who are millennials and younger have a different understanding of what news means in their lives”, Edgell explained.
Patrick Janssen is the news director of Flood Communications, which operates News Channel Nebraska and Telemundo Nebraska.