During her hiring interview at The Daily Nebraskan, then-freshman Grace Gorenflo said she wanted to be an editor for The Daily Nebraskan.
Now, in her junior year, Gorenflo is an assistant news editor and is set to assume the role of editor-in-chief.
“This is my dream job,” Gorenflo said. “I’ve known I wanted to be the editor-in-chief of my college publication since I was in high school, and I was the editor-in-chief of my high school publication. It’s something I’ve been thinking about and planning for a really long time, so it just feels right to me. I’m at peace.”
On Monday, Feb. 24, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Publications Board selected Gorenflo as The Daily Nebraskan’s 2020-21 editor-in-chief. Gorenflo and Jackson Wilford, a photographer for The Daily Nebraskan, applied for the position.
As editor-in-chief, Gorenflo wants to recruit a more diverse staff, tell a wide variety of stories, increase the publication's presence on campus and continue to focus on The Daily Nebraskan’s audience. Overall, Gorenflo’s main priority is to make The Daily Nebraskan a source of information often sought by students.
“Just because we don’t have a print product doesn’t mean we can’t have a presence,” she said. “And I really want to have more of a presence in students' lives by doing numerous things.”
To increase the publication’s presence, she wants The Daily Nebraskan to have face-to-face interactions with students to give them the chance to interact with The Daily Nebraskan staff, ask questions and participate in the Curious Cornhuskers initiative.
Curious Cornhuskers allows staff to no longer have to guess what students want, Gorenflo said. She said she looks forward to continuing those sentiments as editor-in-chief and creating new ways for The Daily Nebraskan to interact with students.
“We are here for students,” she said. “We are students writing for students, and so we really want to be even more student-centered than ever before.”
Gorenflo also plans to increase staff diversity by recruiting over the summer. She will recruit all students, not just those in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, to join The Daily Nebraskan community. All editors will be involved in the hiring process throughout the year, so a more diverse staff will become a reality.
“I have this kind of chicken and egg mentality with diversity, where I think the more diverse our staff is, the more diverse our coverage is going to be, and vice versa,” Gorenflo said. “I don’t want any demographic, any group, any organization on campus to think they are not valued by The Daily Nebraskan. We should be covering everyone.”
Current editor-in-chief Karissa Schmidt said Gorenflo met with her almost every Monday since November to plan for her application. They talked about what Schmidt learned as an editor, what she still hopes to get done and what she did not have time to accomplish.
“The fact that she’s taking time out of her day, before she even gets the job, to put this much work into this future role, just shows a lot about her and who she is,” Schmidt said.
As editor-in-chief, Gorenflo said she wants to continue a leadership and management style similar to Schmidt’s and continue to cultivate a feeling of community in the newsroom. She wants to always have her door open and be available for staff members if they have questions or concerns, similar to the opportunities Schmidt presented Gorenflo.
“At the end of the day, any [editor-in-chief’s] job is to serve the staff,” Gorenflo said. “We’re supporting the staff, we’re upholding the staff, we’re doing a lot of those tedious tasks … to maintain the structure of the staff … so the editors and reporters can focus on the job at hand and focus on connecting with the audience and producing good content.”
Throughout her career, Gorenflo said she has been mentored by many teachers and professors, particularly her high school journalism adviser Susan Massy and Jill Martin, assistant professor of practice at CoJMC. Gorenflo said both remain influential members of her life, and she would not be as prepared to take on the editor-in-chief position without them.
Gorenflo said her goals will be challenging, but she is excited and honored to lead the newsroom next year. She said she has no idea what lies ahead but that brainstorming will allow Gorenflo and her team to reinforce the student-focused nature of The Daily Nebraskan.
“I am a planner to my core,” Gorenflo said. “I know there are going to be many surprises in the next 24 hours, 24 days, 24 weeks, whatever, and I’m so looking forward to it. I am excited for all of the new staffers we’re going to have, all the new ideas and perspectives. I have a lot of goals, but it’s going to take a team to achieve them.”