image composed from elements of the resumes and portfolios by HN's new crop of interns
by Andrew Norman
The black-turned-gray, pinstripe suit hung on me like a drunken buddy after closing time. My dad had worn it to probably 10 years of weddings and funerals before I showed up to Zean Carney's office sweating bullets in the thing. Sporting a permanently knotted, blue-gradient tie that I'd slipped over my head that morning, I was there to secure my first real internship. I'd realized not long before that I was quickly approaching a job market for which I was woefully unprepared.
Though he was in his 60s and wrote a weekly column of musings called "From My Window," the then-publisher of the Wahoo Newspaper, Ashland Gazette and Waverly News intimidated the hell out of me. Sitting at his desk in his Wahoo office that smelled faintly of the ink and paper that was turned into newsprint every week in the big room at the end of the hall, he was brusk as he asked questions about my experience.
Because campus newspaper columns focused largely on penis jokes wasn't the experience he sought, Carney was clearly unimpressed.
I didn't have many tools in my belt, as an underachieving college student who was nearly kicked out of school due to general apathy. But I came with a recommendation: Mike Stricklin had sent me.
Then a University of Nebraska-Lincoln journalism professor — and my advisor — Stricklin was an underdog himself, and could smell his kind. The Texan apparently saw something in me. And without his recommendation, I'm convinced Carney would have sent me back to mowing lawns for the summer.
Instead, he gave me a shot. He handed me a disposable camera and told me to use if if I ran into any news. And before I left he said, "I respect a man who wears a suit and tie to a meeting."
I wasn't a very good writer — I didn't have a solid grasp of the fundamentals. And I was as slow as the traffic on Wahoo's Broadway Street. But that summer, I wrote stories about fires, road construction, school board and city council meetings, high school baseball, the annual parade, demolition derby and 4-H exhibits, and a feature about a guy who sold fishing tackle — but no longer bait, at his wife's behest — from his garage.
It was a critical experience for me. I met good people. And though I'd experienced it in class, I learned how to shoot and edit photos, lay out pages and edit copy on deadline. I also learned how to write faster, ask better questions, take quicker notes, develop sources and show up to interviews early. That internship helped me land my first job out of college, which helped me get my next and so on.
And eventually, I even got a suit that fits.
Today, I'm excited to announce five young journalists and designers who — with or without a bad suit — each convinced Managing Editor Michael Todd and me that they'll make great Hear Nebraska interns for the fall semester. We've developed their duties by matching their personal and professional goals with HN's needs. And each of them will be honing different skills and learning different lessons. They all know they'll get out of this internship what they put in.
As interns and later as contributors, young people like Chevy Anderson, Natalia Kraviec, Lance Heybrock, Kelsey Hutchinson and Jay NeSmith have helped fuel the Hear Nebraska mill since we launched in January 2011 (Michael started as an intern, in fact). And their contributions — in content, energy, new ideas and personalities — are very important to us.
If you haven't already, you'll likely start seeing these people at shows. Please introduce yourself and tell them your story:
Current city: Omaha
Focus: Editorial, design
Hometown: Omaha/Raleigh, N.C.
Current City: Omaha
Focus: Photography, video
Current city: Omaha
Current City: Lincoln
Current City: Lincoln
Focus: Design, photography
Below are six questions and answers that tell you a little bit about each of their stories:
What should HN's audience expect from you?
Jay Nesmith: I have a feeling I'll be writing about a lot of DIY bands as well as covering smaller bands that have a lot of potential in the local and regional music scene.
Chevy Anderson: Readers should expect me to produce creative content that makes the reader feel like they were at a show. And if they were there, I hope my content allows them to live it all over again.
Kelsey Hutchinson: I'd like to think I'm always sassy on the spot and that readers should always expect to have warm, fuzzy feelings when I chirp in on things. However, I can only promise that readers will find my contributions to be far from the usual.
Lance Heybrock: Readers should expect a lot of narrative-based work from me. My illustrations tend to revolve around character scenarios, and my writing style is definitely an investigation of where information and narrative meet.
Natalia Kraviec: Readers should expect to see inspired design that's exciting and young.
What about the internship has you most excited?
JN: I think, overall, I'm most excited to be able to directly interact with national and local musicians on a personal level. I love playing music, and I love helping out touring bands in any way possible. This will give me an opportunity to help them out a lot more than just letting them crash on my floor, and will also let me make some national connections. Any sort of publicity is great for a band trying to get their name out there.
CA: I'm most excited about developing relationships with musicians, readers and people involved in the Nebraska music scene. I'm also looking forward to further developing my skills.
KH: I'm so stoked to be part of this wickedly awesome organization because I feel that some people are unaware of all the talent, passion and spirit that dwell in the local Nebraska music and arts scene. I'm excited to be a vehicle of knowledge for all the cool things happening around us.
LH: I am most excited about the opportunity to be publishing work (illustrative and written) that deals directly with musicians here in Nebraska. This is where I'm from and where I love to be — to produce work about other Nebraska artists is a dream come true.
NK: I'm excited to produce different types of work, meet tons of people and experience things that I have yet to get my hands on.
What's your favorite musical memory?
JN: There are so many to choose from. I think my favorite, though, would be my old band's first tour, literally right after we all graduated high school. We didn't really go too incredibly far (only out through Nebraska to the western edge of Colorado and back through Kansas), but it was an experience that I will never forget.
It was a super surreal feeling, as it was really the first time that all of us were truly on our own with no one to tell us what to do and with no worries other than getting to the next show on time. We met so many incredible people, and I came to the conclusion fairly quickly that there couldn't possibly be anything better than being out on the road with three of your best friends playing music.
CA: It was being asked if I wanted to go to see Kanye West and Jay-Z the day of their concert in Kansas City for the "Watch The Throne" tour. I jumped on that opportunity and had the time of my life.
KH: My most treasured musical memory will forever be seeing Glassjaw at the Beacon Theatre in New York City. My friend, Katie, was in town and she had found some tickets to the midnight show for their Worship and Tribute album's 10-year celebration. They were in their home state and I have never been rocked harder. This was a real punk show, and it was outrageous.
LH: My favorite musical memory is going to see Zero Hero in the parking lot of a Hastings bookstore in Norfolk, back in 2005. The band was a group of older guys from the area, and I had kind of missed out on their heyday in Norfolk. They were all back for the Fourth of July to see their families and decided to put on a little concert.
I knew every word of every song, and made sure to stand as close to the front as I could, singing along as loud as I could. They were probably weirded out by my enthusiasm for such a small act, but I didn't care. I was just so excited to see these guys who I had been listening to on CD for like three years. To me at the time, it was like studying paleontology for three years as a teenager and then running into a real-life T-Rex in the parking lot of the video store. I will always remember that.
NK: My favorite music experience, hands down, would be Pitchfork 2011. I had been to festivals before, but none that displayed such a wide and diverse range of new and upcoming artists.
Who is your favorite Nebraska band?
JN: Right now, I'm quite fond of Millions of Boys — they have a really great sound. Also, Desaparecidos, Hercules (RIP) and Little Brazil. With so many great bands in Nebraska, it is really difficult to pick just one.
CA: This is a tough one because I feel like there is a bunch of talent in Nebraska. A few favorites are Gus & Call, UUVVWWZ, Icky Blossoms, The Good Life, Betsy Wells and Kill County.
KH: As a longtime tap dancer, my heart lies with Tilly and the Wall as one of my favorite Nebraska bands. Anyone who can incorporate dance in place of an instrument is the coolest.
LH: Definitely the Kris Lager Band. They played a surprise show at my friend's family reunion at a cabin out in the middle of nowhere. One of the guys in the band knew my buddy's dad and they were heading back from a music festival at Cutthills Vineyards outside of Pierce. The band decided they had time to swing through and play a set.
They used the front porch of this little cabin as their stage, and we all danced and partied to the music. Grandmas and grandpas, moms and dads and their little kids — everybody just had a great time, and I was blown away by their sound. I had never heard of them and wasn't expecting much, but man, they put on an amazing show.
NK: I love Icky Blossoms. Their beats blow my mind.
What's your favorite music video?
JN: I don't usually watch a ton of music videos, but this Japanese band, Sparta Locals, has always had a place in my heart. This song, "Tokyo Ballerina," is incredibly fun and catchy, even if I can't understand what they're saying. The video is pretty clever.
I think it just goes to show that good music transcends any barrier — even language. People all over the world listened to The Beatles, for example, even if they didn't speak English. Good music is good music, period.
CA: Danny Brown's "Grown Up."
KH: I have no shame admitting my favorite music video is "Fat Lip" by Sum 41. I mean, the rap at the beginning, the hair, the clothes, the song itself — come on!
LH: "Two Against One" from the album, Rome, by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi featuring Jack White and Norah Jones.
NK: "Baby I'm Yours" by Breakbot ft. Irfane. This music video is incredible. It was handmade by an artist named Irina Dakeva who painted more than 2,000 watercolors to make it.
What's one thing people should know about you?
JN: I've got a really wide taste in music, so people can expect to see me at a lot of different shows.
CA: I grew up playing the string bass in a classical arrangement.
KH: Even though I have Star Wars tattoos, I still love "Star Trek."
LH: I'd like to be a filmmaker one day. That's kind of my long-term goal.
NK: I love kitties. Enough said.
Andrew Norman is Hear Nebraska's director. He learned a lot from Mike Stricklin and Wahoo Newspaper Editor Lisa Brichaceck, and hopes to be the same kind of mentor for these interns. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.