Around the Office: Scott Winter

Short interviews with Prairie Schooner editors and staff members.

Filed under: Blog |

Scott Winter hosts Air Schooner along with Stacey Waite. An assistant professor at UNL’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications, he teaches media ethics, sportswriting and magazine design, though both his degrees are from English departments, including Nebraska’s in 2007. He takes students on international reporting trips, and has taught in Ethiopia, Kosovo and India. Outside work, he plays ugly tennis with his beautiful wife, watches Arrested Development reruns with his daughter and plans baseball excursions with his son.

There have been eight Air Schooner episodes so far. Which has been your favorite, and why?

I was pretty taken by Irish poet Nuala Ni Conchuir’s work and the rhythm of her voice in the first episode. Israeli writer Etgar Keret’s frenetic answers about teaching writing made for good listening in Episode 5. On top of that, my co-host, Stacey Waite, has really gotten some writers to open up. Jennifer Sinor’s story about trying to sell her fourth grade poetry was amazing. I guess I particularly like talking to writers who take chances and aren’t afraid to let themselves go a little on the air. It’s not like talking to football coaches or politicians at all, where everything is contrived..

How does your work as a journalist inform your approach to the podcast?

The journalism and English/literary worlds can learn much from each other. In journalism, the creativity comes in the reporting, and the rigor is in the research and interviewing. Yet all my degrees are in English, which really changed the way I approached telling stories, too. For Air Schooner, my journalism experience really helps me get behind the obvious questions, and allows me to avoid being acculturated too much. In other words, my journalism background helps me to not worship these great writers – Chris Offutt, Nikola Madzirov, Stephanie Griest – because I need to be professional. Journalism also taught me to meet tight deadlines.

Your UNL journalism department website bio says you love to eat red meat. Are you aiming for some kind of Nebraskan authenticity?

That’s pretty funny for a literary magazine blog editor, sister. Actually, nothing about me is authentically Nebraskan. I’m from North Dakota, about which filmmaker Michael Moore once pointed out: “North Dakota is the least visited state in the union, yet tourism is its No. 2 industry.” We ate deer in fall, if one of our friends shot one from her pickup, and beef the rest of the year. This month, I’m going to India with journalism students for three weeks, so something’s got to give.

Other than Air Schooner, what projects are you working on now?

Besides developing these India photo projects, I’m working with a partner this summer to edit a collection of personal columns by high school journalists who we’ve taught around the country. I’m also trying to revive my fiction, which I’ve deserted during the last two years. Oh, and Stacey and I have this show called Air Schooner.