Depth reporting courses have been a staple of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications for years. Students get experience in project reporting as each tackles a story within a larger topic. Some past projects have explored obesity, security after Sept. 11, 2001, and Cuba.
In fall 2004, a course led by Susan Gage and Jerry Sass, both graduates of the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas, studied "In Cold Blood" as a work of journalism and literature. The goal of the class was to assess the impact of Truman Capote' self-described work of "narrative nonfiction" through research and interviews with people in Holcomb and Garden City -- both those who lived there at the time of the murders and those who live there now.
The class traveled to Holcomb and Garden City in October 2004; smaller groups of students returned several times in the following months. Beginning in January, a class of experienced editors and page designers took over the project, writing headlines and designing the pages for publication in the Journal-World. The college will publish a magazine of the students' work later this spring.
Suzanna Adam, of Wilcox, Neb., a senior news-editorial and English major, has interned at the Kearney (Neb.) Hub and worked at the Daily Nebraskan, UNL's campus newspaper.
Chris Bainbridge is a graduate student pursuing a master's degree in journalism. This documentary is his first, and he is currently working on his second and third.
Amber Brozek is a senior news-editorial major from Plainview, Neb., who has worked for the Daily Nebraskan, for Times Publishing in Papillion, Neb., and for CNN, as a correspondent for the 2004 presidential election.
Michael Bruntz, of Omaha, Neb., is a senior news-editorial and history major from Omaha who is sports editor at the Daily Nebraskan. He has interned at the Lincoln Journal Star and will be an intern at the Omaha World-Herald this summer.
Tom Gemelke, of Ghent, Minn., is a graduate broadcast student. He graduated in 2000 from UNL and worked as a play-by-play announcer before returning to school.
Kris Kolden is a senior news-editorial major from Plattsmouth, Neb., who was the photographer for the project. He is the photo editor of the Daily Nebraskan and will intern at the Pueblo (Colo.) Chieftain this summer.
Van Jensen, of Lewellen, Neb., graduated from UNL in December and now is a staff writer at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock. He worked as an intern at the Democrat-Gazette and at newspapers in Vicksburg, Miss., and Ogallala, Neb.
Melissa Lee, of Lincoln, Neb., is a senior news-editorial major and the editor-in-chief of the Daily Nebraskan. She worked as an intern at The Journal Star, Billings (Mont.) Gazette and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where she will intern this summer in the newspaper's Washington, D.C., bureau.
Dustin Schilling, a senior broadcast major from Greenville, Penn., has worked and interned in radio and television with Cumulus Broadcasting in Youngstown, Ohio, KOLN/KGIN in Lincoln.
Patrick Smith, of Brunswick, Md., graduated in December from UNL, where he worked for four years at the Daily Nebraskan. He interned at The New York Times News Service and The Frederick News-Post in Frederick, Md. He now works as a copy editor for The Des Moines Register.
Jerry Widhelm is a senior broadcasting major from Dodge, Neb. He interned at Sony Pictures television last summer. He has worked for ABC Sports at Nebraska home football games.
Crystal K. Wiebe, of Beatrice, Neb., is a senior news-editorial major who has interned at the Lincoln Journal Star; The Times of Northwest Indiana; The Gazette of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and the Scripps Howard Foundation News Wire in Washington, D.C.
Michele Brown, of Rutherglen, Virginia, is a sophomore news-editorial and International Studies major who is a copy editor for the Daily Nebraskan.
Sara Connolly, of Council Bluffs, Iowa, is a senior news-editorial major who will intern this summer at the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Sara Gibony, from Kearney, Neb., is a senior news-editorial major who has been a reporter for the Daily Nebraskan and for Global Information Network.
Steve Hermann, originally from the Twin Cities, is a news-editorial graduate student. He has worked at the Santa Cruz Sentinal, The Omaha World-Herald and at papers in Wisconsin, Brookings, Ore., and Storm Lake, Iowa.
Rob Hunter, from Omaha, Neb., is a freshman news-editorial and advertising major. He has worked as a news page designer at both the Lincoln Journal-Star and the Daily Nebraskan, and as a designer at the University of Nebraska Press. This summer he will intern at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Brian Lehmann of Lincoln is a senior news-editorial major who works at the Daily Nebraskan and has interned for three years with National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore.
Susan Gage, originally of Lawrence, Kan., graduated from KU in May 1989 with a degree in journalism. She worked at the Iowa City Press-Citizen, then moved to The Oregonian in Portland, where as an editor she led the paper's coverage of crime and justice issues and a series of stories investigating the state's mental health system, then worked as deputy sports editor. She has taught reporting courses at UNL since January 2004.
Jerry Sass graduated from the University of Oregon in 1977 with an English degree and from KU in 1984 with a master's degree in journalism. He worked at newspapers in Boise, Idaho, and Salem, Ore.; and was copy desk chief of The Oregonian. He is an associate professor at UNL, teaching editing courses since January 2004.