Profile: Mitch Smith

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Story and photo by Liz Lachnit, NewsNetNebraska

During his freshman year, Mitch Smith was chosen from more than 900 applicants to accompany New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof on a trip to Africa.

The news-editorial and history major was sitting in his dorm room in Smith Hall in March 2010 when he heard the news that he’d be heading to Africa two months later.

“I think I probably won because I was an unexciting kid from the Corn Belt,” he said.

At the end of finals week, the fast, confident talker was on a plane to Africa to begin a 10-day-trip, where he covered topics such as human rights and the environment. His work was published on The New York Times website.

The trip helped open his eyes to all of the opportunities available in journalism by allowing him to cover topics outside his usual comfort zone of sports, he said.

Since his experiences in Africa, the Overland Park, Kan., native has been a senior sports reporter at the Daily Nebraskan, covering virtually every sport.

In January, he decided he needed a change of pace and began an internship with the Lincoln Journal Star, where he covered more news than sports.

“There is more to journalism than baseball games,” he said. “The best journalists can make sports matter in a larger context.”

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