It struck me recently that aliens are terrible at research.
Think about it: These so-called highly evolved beings have — first mistake — decided to visit our world. So they cart their anvil-sized brains across the universe. And when they step onto the president’s front lawn, what is the first word they say? “Greetings.”
Pirate a copy of Rosetta Stone or something, you dummies. Say hello. Give us a little “Hi, how are ya?”
Anything to illustrate your supposed intelligence, your ability to command respect by showing it. In my interviews with musicians, I try to do the same. I’ll open with a question that means to say, “Yes, I’ve prepared well, so give me your best answer.”
But journalism is a skill I’ve developed over five years, starting with an undergraduate degree and continuing with experience at newspapers and a wonderful organization called Hear Nebraska. I’ve seen and helped this nonprofit for which I’ve served as managing editor effect change in our state’s local music scenes.
Omaha and Lincoln artists are taking pride in their efforts. People here do give a damn about songs written in basements and garages. And I will always write about Nebraska music, hoping to help HN establish our state as an international cultural destination. In a few months, I hope to start creating web applications, too, to bolster Hear Nebraska’s already fearlessly creative and well-built coverage and events.
I’m happy to be joined (serendipitously) by two Hear Nebraska contributors, Kaitlyn and Matt Hovanec who have respectively created illustrations and multimedia for HN, and have laid brushstrokes across our artistic landscape with their own music as members of the creative class. The mere happenstance of two other members of the HN family being part of a 13-student class maybe isn’t so coincidental. This community of artists that chairs Hear Nebraska through the marketplace of the world is not only far-flung and diverse, but it’s composed of the most talented and creative citizens of Nebraska, ex-pats and close relatives.
This community comprises the 29 interns I’ve had a pleasure of working with: editing stories line-by-line, setting animation to video, covering and hosting concerts, and bringing together young writers, multimedia producers, marketing minds and more from Omaha and Lincoln. It includes the 100 or so contributors whose quality work I’ve edited is all volunteer and always welcome.
The staff and board members of Hear Nebraska are both great friends and great inspirations for me. There is absolutely no one better fit for taking on the managing editor role than Chance Solem-Pfeifer. His thought-provoking and detail-driven stories are only a microcosm for who Chance is as a confident leader, skilled editor and Nebraska music advocate whose editorial philosophy is rooted with a respect for artists.
I hope to continue working with incredible people like Lauren Schomburg (programming director), Eric Nyffeler (art director), and board members Jess Paisley, Tim McMahan, Scott Hatfield, Kendra Ingram and Aaron Shaddy. I’ve learned what might amount to a few terabytes of information if my memory were a hard drive through Eric’s design edits, Lauren’s event coordination and marketing, Tim’s editorial might and the rest of the board’s knack for serving and connecting with the community.
And although I could never adequately thank Andrew and Angie Norman for their belief in my 22-year-old abilities as Hear Nebraska’s first hire in 2012, I must express my utmost appreciation for this scrappy, incredibly valuable organization they’ve spearheaded and daily build up through kindness and an unswerving faith in this state’s music and arts community and those who support it.
It is with a hefty opportunity cost that I’m deciding to bolster my skills with web development, but if there’s one sure bet I could make, it’s that Hear Nebraska will continue to grow at an extraordinary pace toward accomplishing its mission: to establish our state as an internationally known cultural destination. I will do everything I can to help make that happen.
And even though today, I would say, “Greetings,” if I were to meet you in the land of CSS or jQuery, by the time I make my first trip past code school, I’ll know how to forge great relationships with native speakers. I’m excited to skydive into web development, and I can already see the clouds starting to shift.