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Gering grad covers state Legislature
March 07, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

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Courtesy Photo - Gering graduate Shelby Friesz is a junior at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Shelby Friesz, a 2009 graduate of Gering High School, now spends some of her time covering the state Legislature for Nebraska News Service.

Shelby, co-editor of the Gering yearbook, is now a junior at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. But she doesn’t attend their School of Journalism.

“I did well in math and science during high school, so I came here wanting to get into something in the mathematical field,” Shelby said. “I started in accounting but found out I was dreadful at it.”
Shelby said at that time, she had been considering going into teaching, so she called one of her former teachers. That led to her decision to go into teaching high school English and journalism.

She credits her work on the high school yearbook with getting her to expand her creative horizons and step outside of herself.
“We had some great opportunities to travel around the state and really get to know people at a different level,” she said. “It helped me a lot in learning to talk with people, keeping deadlines and the other skills I needed in college.”

As a freshman at UNL, Shelby enrolled in a beginning reporting class. Her professor saw her talent and wrote a letter of recommendation for her to get into the teachers’ college. The professor, as advisor for Nebraska News Service, also asked her to write for the group.

“I didn’t think I could teach journalism without first having done it, so this would give me some experience,” Shelby said.
Because of her interest in education, Shelby was assigned to cover the Legislature’s Education Committee for Nebraska News Service. She also helps out with covering the Ag Committee because there are usually more meetings than one reporter can handle.

“The budget is a big thing right now,” she said. “The Education Committee is looking at the state aid formula, so I’m going to have to learn a lot more about how they determine that funding.”
For new journalists, she recommended asking lots of questions. “Most of the people I cover in the Legislature speak a different language,” she said. “I found that if I ask questions, they’re more than helpful so I understand. So I’d advice new journalists no never be afraid of asking questions.”

She also had many thanks for all the teachers in Gering for the help they gave in getting her to this point in her life. “My transition to college was pretty seamless thanks to my teachers who prepared me for the experience. I had such a great foundation; I decided to go into teaching myself.”

After graduating in 2014, Shelby has a number of options. “I studies abroad one summer, so part of me wants to teach abroad for a year. I also want to work with at-risk students in a bigger city, so I might end up there to start. After I get some new experiences, I’d like to end up back in Nebraska.”

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