March 2, 2021

Amy Johnson is editor of the Springview Herald in Nebraska and president of the Nebraska Press Association. She and a co-worker manage the paper for their 700 readers.

The remoteness of their community of 250 residents spared them in the early months of the pandemic, but they altered their reporting strategies to post more on social media. The pandemic has illustrated how critical journalism is for rural communities that can’t get local news elsewhere, and Johnson said the state association needs to focus on succession planning to ensure a next generation of journalists in Nebraska.

“There is so much information online,” Johnson said. “Our community newspaper is directed to them in this local area, and I think that’s one of the biggest things that I’ve noticed — the comments from people that they’re looking to the newspaper for current regulations and changes in the COVID landscape.”

Listen to the oral history interview:

Read the transcript.

See the front page of the Springview Herald from March 25, 2020.

See the front page of the Springview Herald from April 8, 2020.

See the front page of the Springview Herald from May 13, 2020.

See more from The Essential Workers, an oral history project tracking the experiences of locally owned newspapers in Mid-America during the pandemic.

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Teri Finneman is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Kansas. She previously worked as a print journalist and multimedia correspondent covering state…
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