For the Record

The independent short documentary “For the Record” made its Omaha debut Sept. 12 at the Benson Theatre, laying bare what’s at risk when a community newspaper closes. We were grateful to host the screening along with that newspaper’s editor, Laurie Brown, and Evan Smith, co-founder of the Texas Tribune. They joined Nebraska Journalism Trust executive director Matt Wynn in conversation about the changing news business and the opportunities and solutions ahead. We appreciated the audience’s questions about the value of local journalism and how non-profit newsrooms are stepping up to serve this need.

The 2023 film follows a year in the life of a newsroom in the Texas Panhandle as Brown, staring down declining ad revenues, refuses to give up on covering football games, city council meetings, and the opening of a new nursing home. Without the Record, she says, “No one else is gonna tell the stories that we’re telling – nobody.” 

Emmy-winning filmmaker Heather Courtney produced the film with support from Arnold Ventures, one of the Nebraska Journalism Trust’s valued partners in producing journalism that connects and informs Nebraskans. 

To support or read more about the film, check out this background from the Austin Film Society

By Matt Wynn

Matt Wynn is the Executive Director of the Nebraska Journalism Trust, which launched and funds the Flatwater Free Press. He has spent 13 years at news organizations across the country, most recently on the investigative team at USA Today. He lives in his hometown of Omaha with his wife, Sarah, and three children.

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We hosted Eileen Wirth at the Gadzooks Group today and member Mike McMeekin mentioned having attended the documentary screening. Would you be willing to talk to our group for 15-25 minutes or so on Thursday, October 5, at 9AM via Zoom? We are a mostly retired group of former professionals, including a past journalist for the Chicago Tribune, who follow and comment on current events incessantly.



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