The Summerland Advocate-Messenger - Reliable, Trustworthy Reporting, Capturing The Heartbeat Of Our Community

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By LuAnn Schindler

-Isms: Views on life in rural America


November 18, 2021

When my writing career started more than 30 years ago, I spent months establishing a freelance career. After long days of teaching and coaching, I stayed up late at night, crafting query letters and sending them via snail mail, hoping to get a bite from local publications ... or a big break with a national news outlet.

It seems amazing, considering it was in the dark ages - er, I mean pre-internet times. It was hard work, but I was determined to form partnerships with trusted publications and prove I would offer reliable, factual and at times, entertaining, reporting.

Luckily, a regional magazine requested multiple articles and, in time, more publications discovered that a Nebraska-based author could write about health issues in the New York - Tri-State region, connect with experts around the world to offer tips for healthy food and beverage ideas during pregnancy and dissect writing styles and provide exercises to boost creativity.

Relationships like these are so important.

The Advocate-Messenger depends on partners who supply news from across Nebraska. As a weekly paper located approximately 150 miles from Lincoln, it’s not feasible to employ one reporter to cover the legislature. Important stories from across Nebraska need to be told and shared with our readership.

That’s one of the benefits SAM gains by publishing articles written by University of Nebraska Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications students who are part of Nebraska News Service, the CoJMC news and sports wire service. According to instructor Jill Martin, NNS provides stories written by UNL student journalists to more than 100 community media organizations across Nebraska.

“We are grateful to partner with community newspapers and media organizations like the Summerland Advocate-Messenger to distribute our students’ stories. Our student journalists provide local communities with relevant stories straight from the source. In turn, the students get real-life experience and exposure. As a land grant institution, our connection with local communities is a top priority,” Martin said.

This week we feature a Nebraska News Service article, on Page 9, about state aid to libraries.

Earlier this year, the Flatwater Free Press debuted. The organization is billed as “the first independent, nonprofit, collaborative, purely investigative and enterprise news outlet serving the entire state of Nebraska,” according to its website. We’ve shared quality FFP articles and photography from Kilgore, Newman Grove and Grand Island. This week, we include a story aboutthe granddaughter of Anna Pavelka, the inspiration for Willa Cather’s novel, “My Antonia.”

SAM features Terri Hahn, of Osceola, and brings some of the best food writing and recipes in Nebraska. Once a month, semi-retired journalist Bev Wieler, from West Point, shares her perspective about gardening in her column, Outside My Kitchen Window. And, seasoned journalist Sandy Schroth, of Brunswick, has been with us since the beginning. She covers two courthouse beats for us and keeps us on our toes when it comes to knowing the AP Stylebook.

While we would like to hire a few more local reporters (we are hiring), we are proud of the relationships we are building with veteran reporters and budding journalists from different cross-sections of life, from various locations across the state, bringing captivating stories and data-driven journalism to your mailbox each week.


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