BY JULIE KOEHN
Studying abroad in Spain keeps Kelsey Beltramea (junior, Hiawatha, Iowa) over 4,000 miles away from the fast paced newsroom. Yet when the summer session of The Daily Iowan starts back up in June, deadlines will resurface.
Beltramea was named the new editor-in-chief of The Daily Iowan for the 2009-2010 academic year. She may not be around now, but she’s already working on getting the summer and fall staff together, despite the distance.
“Kelsey told me she’s gonna hit the ground running,” DI Publisher Bill Casey said. After working with Beltramea the last few years he knew she was the most logical candidate. Casey described her as bright with good ideas and as someone who never settles.
Conducting interviews over Skype and making hiring decisions from Spain aren’t the only challenges Beltramea will face. In the middle of a floundering economy, Beltramea will take the position held by Emileigh Barnes (senior, Oxford, Miss.), continuing to meet tight budgets, produce wholesome products and help keep the sanity of a college student staff.
“We face serious challenges in journalism right now,” Beltramea said. “And we need smart, committed people to stand by the profession and ease the transition. I hope to help recruit more of those people as editor.”
Barnes doesn’t think Beltramea will have any problems meeting those demands.
“In that regard, Kelsey is the ideal candidate to be editor-in-chief,” Barnes said. “She'll be cautious with our budget; at the same time, she'll spend in ways that help improve our product.”
That is not the only goal Beltramea hopes to meet. “The first of my major goals involves pushing The Daily Iowan closer to the edge of the cutting edge,” Beltramea said.
She plans to challenge staff members to tell stories by producing more video, photo slideshows, interactive graphics and Web-only content.
Beltramea also hopes to reach out to UI students to help lure in more readers and learn what the student body wants to view in the campus newspaper.
“I plan to visit as many clubs and organizations and campus groups as possible to learn about their interactions with The Daily Iowan, ” Beltramea said. “What they read, what they talk to their friends about, if they've been interviewed — because I want to make sure we are doing the best job we can, providing a resource that is material to their lives.”
Getting away from the desk won’t be a problem for Beltramea. She’s been involved with The Daily Iowan since she stepped foot on campus and has worked in other journalism outlets to climb her journalism ladder to success.
Through all this experience Beltramea has been given many opportunities. She sat in a room with a homicide victim’s parents the day the woman and her children were murdered, she’s covered the caucuses for Barack Obama’s victory and she’s interviewed Karl Rove.
“As a reporter and then editor for The Daily Iowan, I learned to talk with all types of people, to manage all types of employees, and to respect the power of the pen and responsibilities of the free press,” Beltramea said.
“So when the time came to decide whether I would apply for editor, I knew that it was the next natural step for my trajectory there. The Daily Iowan has meant a lot to me, and I'm honored to have been named editor.”
When Beltramea returns to Iowa in mid-May she’ll be going full force to get the summer session of the newspaper up and running.“Being away from The Daily Iowan has been both difficult and rewarding at times,” Beltramea said. “I really do miss the pulse of the newsroom. I'm very excited to come back.” “She'll be a fantastic editor,” Barnes said. “One of the best we've seen in a long time, and that's just what we need at a time like this. She has the dedication to push the newspaper forward, despite a troubled economy.”