In the small town of Orchard, Neb.—population under 400—a small five-person crew works tirelessly to bring Antelope County the latest news. Covering the towns of Brunswick, Clearwater, Elgin, Neligh, Oakdale, Orchard, Royal and Tilden, the team has renewed the spirit of what a small-town newspaper can be thanks to editor Natalie Bruzon, 2016 graduate and former editor-in-chief of The Clocktower.
“It’s a lot of work, and this isn’t what I imagined doing after college, but it’s so rewarding,” she describes. “People are always excited to see their picture in the paper or get their story told and read about their neighbors.”
Her favorite part? She couldn’t decide on just one, but gave a multitude of answers, the first being her coworkers.
“Honestly, who you work with makes SUCH a difference,” she said. “I love my coworkers.”
The second thing? The spontaneity of the job. “I also love how every day is something different. I’m always getting to know new people, or going to take pictures of cute kids somewhere,” she shared. “I really enjoy editing and problem-solving, so I’ve been coming up with ideas to streamline our process, and that’s fun.”
Finally, she loves being able to discover new talents and refine what she learned while at Union.
“Blake definitely influenced my decision to switch to communications. He was the final push I needed to make that jump, so when I become famous, I’ll send him a thank-you note,” she said with a laugh. “Just kidding! I’ll probably never be famous.”
But, her new career isn’t all fun and photography. With new responsibilities come new challenges, and even small-town news reporters can find it hard to maintain stable work, social and personal lives.
She explained, “I think my biggest struggle is finding my balance. Finding the balance between giving work my full attention while not ignoring my personal life and goals is a struggle.”
Yet, amidst a bustling career, Bruzon recently had an amazing development in her personal life.
Her longtime boyfriend, Doug Barahona, a senior theology major, surprised her at Memorial Stadium with a proposal. She excitedly gushed about the experience.
“To have the man I love get down on one knee and publicly ask me to be his wife was so awesome and … I don’t know what word to use,” the usually articulate Bruzon confessed. “I was speechless and breathless all at once.”
When asked about her other goals for the future (besides a June wedding), she seemed uncertain yet hopeful.
“I always wanted to be an editor, like of a magazine, but I always thought that goal was kind of lofty and unattainable. But,” she added, with an accepting smile, “I also never saw myself working as a journalist. Yet, here I am and I really love it.”
Bruzon plans to keep the idea of magazine editor in the back of her mind, a subconscious goal to work towards, but not fixate upon.
Crediting God for where she is and where she’s been, she explained, “It’s been like I’m walking around blindfolded with God holding my hand. He won’t tell me where I’m going, but I haven’t crashed into any trees yet so I think I’m good.”
She laughed at that, ever the optimist.
Graci Escobar is a junior studying English