BVU’s National Student Journalist of the Year Heads West to Begin Career
Once a shy freshman, digital media major, Olivia Wieseler, enjoyed writing and photography experiences from California to New York to Washington, D.C., to Ireland.
Olivia Wieseler, the shy freshman who wrote a documentary script, landed a national journalism honor, and interned in Washington, D.C., as a senior, now heads west to start her career as a copy editor at the Star Herald, the newspaper serving Scottsbluff, Neb.
“The official position is copy editor,” says Wieseler, who, in 2019, was named the national Arthur H. Barlow Student Journalist of the Year by the Society for Collegiate Journalists, the first BVU student to earn the acclaim. “But based on talks with my editor, I’ll be able to help with the company’s digital presence. I’ll do some writing, some videography, and some photography.”
Wieseler’s experience in a multitude of journalism disciplines at Buena Vista University served her well. The 2020 BVU grad from St. Helena, Neb., wrote the script for “Growing Magic: The Mickey Mouse Cornfield Story,” a BVU-produced documentary seen around the country. She earned a paid internship as a reporter at the Pulitzer Prize-winning Storm Lake Times. Additionally, Wieseler served as the co-editor of The Tack, a Game Day intern for the Minnesota Vikings, a tutor in the Center for Academic Excellence, and was involved in productions at both the television (BVTV) and radio (KBVU) stations on campus.
“The people at BVU helped me do what I was able to accomplish. I got so much experience during my four years of college. It’s what I needed to do this job. I’m excited. I’m ready.”
In her final BVU semester this spring, she interned in the communications department at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., one of five BVU students who spent the semester working for interests based in the nation’s capital.
Now, she’s beginning her career in the Nebraska Panhandle, excited to explore and cover a new area of her home state.
“I’ll be three hours from Denver, three hours from the Black Hills, an hour from Wyoming,” says Wieseler. “I’ll be so close to some of the nation’s most beautiful landscapes. As someone who enjoys activities like hiking and photography, I’m really excited.”
Beyond her writing, editing, and leadership skills, it was a BVU excursion to Ireland that maybe helped Wieseler secure her first job.
“The kicker was that I had photography experience,” she says. “In the interview, I talked about my trip to Ireland and was able to share my website portfolio, which contained photos I’d shot in the village of Sneem (Ireland). Having that experience, plus the other things I’d done on campus, in Storm Lake, and with the documentary, they all played a role.”
Wieseler says she’s still drawing comments from relatives and old friends in and around St. Helena who can’t believe the once reserved Wynot High School graduate seems poised to tackle any assignment in the demanding field of journalism.
“Others noticed how I broke out of my shell, thanks to BVU, really,” she says. “The people at BVU helped me do what I was able to accomplish. I got so much experience during my four years of college. It’s what I needed to do this job. I’m excited. I’m ready.”