Archive for the ‘Nebraska’ category

Meet a Member: Molly Klocksin

May 31, 2017

Molly Klocksin joined NFPW early in her career and rejoined Nebraska Press Women three years ago. She has been active ever since rejoining, even helping plan an affiliate conference. Molly attended her first NFPW communications conference last fall after being awarded a First Timer Grant from the NFPW Education Fund. It is nice to have her back as an active member and we hope to see her again this fall in Alabama. I hope you take time to get to know this unique and unbelievable NFPW member.

Name: Molly Klocksin

City and State: Lincoln, Nebraska

Molly Klocksin

Molly Klocksin

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Parliamentarian, Nebraska Press Women affiliate

Years a member of NFPW: About 3 years in this century.

Tell us a little about you.

I grew up in suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My paternal grandfather was a small-town newspaper publisher, and a paternal uncle was a TV news anchor and state legislator. My parents read newspapers and watched the news on TV; we often talked politics at the dinner table. One of my earliest political memories is accompanying my mom to the polls for the 1960 JFK/Nixon presidential campaign. The “lunch ladies” from my elementary school were poll workers!

All through school, I was interested in news and politics. During the summer of 1967, I kept a diary describing what the newspapers and TV stations were reporting about the race riots in Milwaukee.  At one point, I wrote, “I sound like a reporter!”

In high school, I was co-editor of the school paper. I went on to study journalism and political science at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire. Journalism was popular in that Watergate era, but I think I may have been a “J” major, anyway.

In my early career, I worked at newspapers – a suburban weekly and a small-city daily. I worked hard, and worked long hours, but the work and the people suited me. I later worked as a press secretary for U.S. Senator Jim Exon, D-Nebraska in Washington, D.C., and for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln., writing press releases and feature stories about agriculture. I then took a detour into my current position as a Case Advocate for Disability Rights Nebraska, and earned a master’s degree in counseling from Doane University in Lincoln. I still feel like a reporter when I investigate abuse/neglect in facilities for people with mental illness. I interview people and observing their surroundings, and then I take the details to our agency’s attorneys – much like I used to gather information for stories that went to editors. I’ve written an Op Ed piece, some press releases and blogs for our agency. .

Any career advice you would give?

Be willing to move for a job. My dad told me I’d have rocks in my head to move to Grand Island, Nebraska. But I wanted to work at a daily newspaper, and I figured working in a lightly populated state’s third largest media market would be a good opportunity. I was right!

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’ve always wanted to be a certified Jazzercise instructor. I’ve been a student for years. It keeps me sane.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I’d like Santa Fe, N.M. in the winter. And northern Wisconsin in the winter.

What book are you reading?

“Leaving the Pink House,” by Ladette Randolph. She’s a Nebraskan, and she writes about all the houses she has lived in. She also writes about renovating an old house with her husband. This book resonated with me because my domestic partner is building us a custom log and stone house on his farmland outside of Lincoln. He does the vast majority of the work, of course, but we often talk about the “Big House on the Prairie” and plan our future there with our cats. We’re hoping to make many happy memories there with visits from his two adult daughters and four adult grandchildren.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

When I was young, my mother called me “The Next Nancy Dickerson.” Nancy was the first female correspondent on network television. She was from a Milwaukee suburb, and graduated from my mother’s alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison.   Nancy Dickerson’s son, John Dickerson, now hosts “Face the Nation.”  I wrote to him on Facebook after I read his book about his mother. He “liked” my comment. Mom would have gotten a kick out of that!

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I’ve met great friends at NFPW and Nebraska Press Women events. Even though I no longer work in the media per se, I still enjoy the company of journalists. Of course we have professional development opportunities, but it’s the people and sense of community that matter most to me. When a member loses a parent or other loved one, NPW members are the first  to send a card. That thoughtfulness is hard to find elsewhere these days!

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.

My Twitter handle is @annalia2013. I’m on Facebook as Molly Klocksin.


Meet a Member: Stephanie Geery-Zink

April 20, 2017

Stephanie Geery-Zink was one of the organizers of the 2011 NFPW conference hosted in Nebraska and Iowa. It was a family affair with her talented family joining to help with the celebration. She is a hard working professional and enjoys sharing her talents with others. Enjoy getting to know this talented, unique and unbelievable member of NFPW.

Name: Stephanie Geery-Zink

City and State: Lincoln, Nebraska

Stephanie Geery-Zink

Stephanie Geery-Zink

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Nebraska Press Women. I have served as president, past president, vice president, treasurer, secretary and Legislative/First Amendment (not necessarily in that order!). Helped organize the 2011 NFPW Conference in Council Bluffs/Omaha. I am taking a break from the NPW Board after serving for 16 years, but as a former treasurer I serve on the Finance Committee.

Years a member of NFPW: 19

Tell us a little about you.

I was a journalist from 1991-2009, worked in public relations, then made a jump to nonprofit work as a communications coordinator, and as a development director (fundraising) for Lincoln Community Playhouse for the past five and a half years.

My husband and I have been married for 23 years. Our daughter Schuyler is in her second year at the University of Nebraska College of Law (Class of 2018), specializing in international human rights and national security law. Daughter Keelin is a senior at University of Nebraska High School.

Any career advice you would give?

Keep your options open! You never know where life might take you, so be ready for any eventuality and pay attention to possible career changes. I could have never imagined when I was in the midst of my journalism career that I’d end up working in nonprofits, especially as a fundraiser but it has turned out to be a rewarding career change that draws heavily on my journalism and NPW/NFPW experiences.

Family members from left, Keelin Geery-Zink, Roger Geery, Schuyler Geery-Zink and Stephanie Geery-Zink

Family members from left, Keelin Geery-Zink, Roger Geery, Schuyler Geery-Zink and Stephanie Geery-Zink

Which talent would you most like to have?

My organizational skills are okay, but I could be much better at motivating myself to get more organized. My superpower choice would be never-ending energy.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I’m pretty happy where I live now, but would love to be able to travel especially in Great Britain, Ireland and France.

What book are you reading?

“Quitter (closing the gap between your day job and your dream job)” by Jon Acuff and “Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home” by Anita Hill (yes, a book I picked up at the Arizona NFPW Conference in 2012, finally getting around to reading it!).

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I was scared of dogs all my life. Until Winston, an apricot toy poodle, entered my life almost three years ago. He was supposed to be Keelin’s dog, but we latched on to each other and are inseparable. Now I need to pet all the dogs. I am still a cat person too!

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

NPW has provided me with important career and leadership experience through serving as an officer of the organization and organizing conferences (special events planning). I have also made some incredible friendships.

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc. I’m on Facebook! A lot!

Meet a Member: Barb Micek

February 14, 2016

Nebraska Press Women have many strong members. One person I have enjoyed getting to know at NFPW meetings, through the NFPW board and when I attended a Nebraska affiliate meeting is Barb Micek. She is a talented writer, dedicated member and has a friendly personality so people enjoy spending time with her. Meet this awesome member I am happy I can call a friend.


Name: Barb Micek

City and State: Fullerton, NE

Affiliate and leadership positions: Nebraska Press Women, served on NPW board for around 15 years in committee positions and as secretary.

Years a member of NFPW: Member for 20 years

Tell us a little about you:

I have worked as editor for a weekly newspaper in Fullerton since 1996. In 2013, co-writer Nancy Hansen, who is currently serving as NPW secretary, and I published the book “Nebraska Authors Volume One” and in 2014 published military stories of over 50 veterans across Nebraska titled “Nebraskans Remember.” The books were a culmination of three years of interviews and research in between working, so I guess we like to work on the wild side of life! We are currently working on the second books in between our work schedules. In January I also decided to take an online college courses to pursue a Library and Information Services Degree. I guess I thought I didn’t have enough to do!

Any career advice you would give?

Love what you do, life is too short to do otherwise.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d like to have the talent of not procrastinating.


Barb Micek, front left, with NFPW members visiting Island Park following a spring board meeting. From left: Cathy Koon, Micek, Teri Ehresman, Katherine Kenniston, Lori Potter and Cynthia Price.

If you could live anywhere where would it be?


I hear Arizona is nice this time of year, especially after digging out of 15″ of snow. Where I’d like to visit is Poland and find my ancestry there.

What book are you reading?

The Worst Hard Times : The Untold Story of the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan, and A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken. (You have to read at least two books at a time.)

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

That if you tried to interrupt me while watching Downton Abbey, I probably wouldn’t answer your phone call.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

NPW is important to me, mainly because of the sisterhood it’s become in my life, and because the conferences are so valuable in what I learn and gain in the way of education and friendship. Plus, the conferences bring me to places in Nebraska I never would have been if not for NPW. The very same can be said for NFPW.

Way to follow you:

Facebook, I don’t Twitter. Our book website is

Meet a member: Mary Jane Skala

December 30, 2015

I became better friends with Mary Jane Skala during the NFPW post-tour to Yellowtsone National Park and Jackson, Wyo. in the fall of 2008. She is familiar with the Moab area in southern Utah, so was a great help for the NFPW post-tour in 2013. She is a talented writer and great asset to our organization. Meet my friend, Mary Jane Skala.


Mary Jane Skala

Name: Mary Jane Skala

City and State: Abiquiu, N.M.

Affiliate and any leadership positions: At the moment, New Mexico Press Women and Nebraska Press Women. I belonged to Ohio Professional Writers for 40 years, from 1973-2013. I served as president, vice president, secretary and contest chair, and organized many spring and fall meetings. When I moved to Kearney, Neb. in 2012, I joined Nebraska Press Women and served as secretary and contest chair. In May, I moved to Abiquiu, N.M., so I joined New Mexico Press Women, but I’ve kept the NPW membership because of all my friends there.

Tell us a little about you.

I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to a tight clan of journalists. My father was the dean of radio news broadcasters in Cleveland. As news director at radio station WGAR, he covered the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, went to Russia with then-Vice President Richard Nixon in 1959, attended every national political convention, etc. My twin sister Martha is editor of the Conneaut (Ohio) Courier. My brother was editor-in-chief of Industry Week magazine and now writes non-fiction books. My late uncle was editor of the Middletown (Ohio) Journal.

After graduating from Michigan State University, I worked at the Purdue University News Service, putting my then-husband through graduate school there. I then became a reporter with the Sun Newspapers in suburban Cleveland. From 1981-85 I was the editor of the employee magazine for the Chessie News, serving 30,000 Chessie System Railroads (now CSX) in 13 states. When Chessie moved to Florida, I stayed in Cleveland as the employee newsletter editor at a hospital and did PR at Cuyahoga Community College.

From 1989-2009, I returned to Sun News as senior editor. I loved it. I wrote a chain-wide column that reached 500,000 readers. I ran the newsroom, wrote editorials, gave suburban election results on local TV, appeared on news magazines, etc., won awards, served as an officer in several professional organizations, etc. I’d have stayed forever, but newspapers sputtered, and Sun News folded. Thanks to my NFPW connections, I found work as a reporter for the Kearney (Neb.) Hub from 2012-2015.

Since May, I’ve been the volunteer coordinator at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, N.M., a Presbyterian Education and Retreat Center. I volunteered here between newspaper jobs, and when they called offering me a job last spring, I couldn’t resist. I still write my weekly column for the Kearney Hub.

Any career advice you would give?

Do what you love, and the money will follow. My father always said a career ranked second in importance only to the person you marry, and he’s right. Learn. Make friends. Make connections. Join professional organizations; they’re invaluable in teaching you about the business. You never know where those ties will lead.

Which talent would you most like to have?

To have a beautiful singing voice.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Right here in northern New Mexico. Since I first went West on a family vacation when I was 12, I’ve always dreamed of living in the West, and here I am. I have no TV; and the closest supermarket is 45 minutes away, but I have friends, fulfilling work, beauty, silence and more stars at night than I can count.


Mary Jane Skala and her son, Matt.


What book are you reading?

I’m re-reading “Seven Storey Mountain,” by Thomas Merton, his autobiography of his twisting spiritual journey from his aethistic childhood to his calling as a Trappist monk and a writer of books that are theological classics. I just finished “Angle of Repose,” by Wallace Stegner. I’ve read it four times. It’s about a young woman from New York who headed West 125 years ago. I always discover new insights when I re-read favorite books.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I’m an identical twin. I was the lone embedded Christian on a trip to Israel with 75 Jews during the Intifada. During that trip, I spent three days camping in the Gobi desert. I was told to stay in my tent at night – prowling hyenas would eat me if I didn’t.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you? I have learned so much! Bosses don’t have time to teach; only through organizations like NFPW do you add the fat that’s critical for a successful career. Professional friends became personal friends. NFPW friends got me the job at the Kearney Hub when newspapers died in Cleveland. I’ve attended conferences, made lifelong friends, and seen parts of the U.S. I might never have seen, thanks to NFPW. It polished my career.

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc. I have email ( I’m on Facebook, and my weekly columns can be found at


Meet a Member: Mary Pat Finn-Hoag

September 30, 2015

I always look forward to seeing Mary Pat Finn-Hoag at NFPW conferences. Mary Pat and others from Nebraska are special friends I enjoy seeing each year. She is a dedicated member of both NFPW and Nebraska Press Women and is always willing to help out and share her talents. She is a talented writer and you can always count on her to help out and get a job done. She is another unique and unbelievable NFPW member I am honored to call a friend.

Name: Mary Pat Finn-Hoag

Hometown: Norfolk, Nebraska

Mary Pat Hoag, right,

Mary Pat Finn-Hoag, right, has written numerous stories with foreign ties. Her latest was on Rochelle Holm, who is coordinating a water and sanitization project Malawi. Holm is shown holding her 18 month old daughter, Mphatso.

Affiliate and leadership positions:

I am a proud member of the Nebraska Press Women and am currently serving as historian. I am a past vice president and have served on various committees and coordinated two state conventions in Norfolk.

Years a member of NFPW:

I’’ve been a member since 7-7-77; am I lucky or what! My regret is that I didn’’t join several years earlier.

Tell us a little bit about you.

I grew up on a Wayne County farm that’’s been in our family since 1906. I ha’ve always loved to read and was “reading” newspapers before I could read. My fourth-grade country school teacher told me: “You can write.” I incredulously answered: “I can?”

I graduated from Wayne State College (a 12-mile pickup drive from home) in December 1972, its first graduate with the journalism-broadcasting double major. I also earned a teaching degree.

I landed a newspaper job before a teaching job — and I’’m now in my 43rd year at the Norfolk Daily News, a family-owned newspaper for more than 125 years. I worked on the national Livestock Market Digest staff for four years before landing the agricultural editor’’s position. I am also in my second long stint as youth editor. I’’ve done general reporting (on almost every subject), plus photography, almost since day one.


Always helping a friend, Mary Pat Finn-Hoag, right, snaps a picture of Lori Potter at the 2014 NFPW conference in South Carolina.

Any career advice?

Continue to learn. Read, read, read. Hone your skills; attend workshops. Be involved in professional organizations. Go the extra mile. Be a team player. Treat everyone with respect. Give praise to others. Use your God-given talents. Maintain high standards.

What talent would you most like to have?

As a teen, my early career ideas were livestock judge, veterinarian or artist. Then I wanted to be a disc jockey. I later thought I woul’d farm full time and do free-lance work on the side. I love art and would love to be more artistic; I have creativity inside wanting to spill out.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Norfolk — and Nebraska — are great places to call home (I’’m not a big-city girl), but I love to travel. I’’ve enjoyed discovering the cities scattered across the country where the NFPW conferences have been conducted. I love mountains, beaches and nature. I’’d like roots but freedom to explore wherever my heart leads me.

What book are you reading?

Prior to the Alaska conference I was delving into a stack of travel information on Alaska. I usually have several books in the works; I gravitate almost entirely to non-fiction. My current reads include “Eighty-One Seconds” by LaRayne Topp (personal accounts by victims of the multiple tornadoes that struck this immediate area in June 2014); “The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey” by Alan Guebert, a nationally syndicated ag columnist who recently spoke in Norfolk; and “My Life with the Saints” by James Martin. I have been a “magazine-aholic” since childhood and subscribe to “too many,” but I love mags and keeping up on many topics.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

My high school English teacher said women don’’t go into broadcasting. My guidance counselor said I should work in a factory (since I was fast on office machines) and not go to college. My parents were college educated and all eight of their children would — and did — go to college. My proudest moment in life was graduating from college in 2.5 years (trimester plan), ranking third academically in my class.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I love the “sisterhood,” the networking, the educational workshops, and look forward to the state and national conferences each year. Membership in NPW and NFPW has been one of the wisest investments of my life!

Ways to follow you:

I am not a “techy” and not an avid social media user. My home email is, and I’’m on Facebook (marypat hoag).