young man working on a computer

Changing the Sports Journalism Game

Westside High School senior Noah Atlas’s intense drive and creativity keep him focused. Once he starts something, he isn’t satisfied until he finishes. This drive turned his love for sports into a first-place finish at the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) State Journalism competition as well as a paid gig working for News Channel Nebraska.

  • young man with computer
  • young man

Edge: Why sports journalism?

Atlas: I’ve been heavily into all types of sports my whole life—football, baseball, basketball. Mainly for entertainment, but I also get a certain amount of joy playing them as well. When I saw a sports journalism class offered at Westside, I decided it would be good for me to try because I could end up doing it as a career when I got older. Everything about the class really came naturally to me. I’m just writing articles about something I love.

Edge: What was the 2023 NSAA State Journalism Contest like?

Atlas: When I arrived, they put me in a room with the same stat sheet that every other sports news writer got, basically a summary overview of a fictional state championship basketball game. I took what I was given and just wrote and wrote and wrote. Somehow it all fell into place.
   I didn’t know what to expect. At the end of the contest, they started calling up the eight people in my category from eighth place to first place. I kept waiting, but my name wasn’t called. Then the student who was the head of Westside’s sports journalism department, who was in the same category as me, placed second. As they counted down to number one and they called my name, I was so happy. I knew my story was good, but I didn’t know what to expect. It was cool.

Edge: What was going through your mind when you realized you had won?

Atlas: I was very surprised. I believed in myself, so I wasn’t shocked, but it was still a huge surprise. I was happy to see my work pay off.

Edge: How did you get the job working for News Channel Nebraska?

Atlas: I’ve always let my creativity run wild. I like to see where my mind takes me. I’ve been into video editing and doing sports edits just for fun. To me, it’s another form of sports journalism and telling the story. News Channel Nebraska noticed my work and they hired me to do sports edits of clips and highlights around the state of Nebraska.

Noah’s father, Brett Atlas: They hired Noah to help develop this portion of their digital marketing division. They are working together to incorporate these short edits into promotions for football, basketball and other events through social media and other outlets. He’s on the cutting edge of the changes in journalism, and he’s getting paid to do it.

Edge: Basketball is your first love?

Atlas: Football was probably my first love, but my dad played in high school and had a few injuries, so he wouldn’t let me play beyond flag football. I’ve played basketball my whole life, including two years for Westside. I’ve always had the most fun playing basketball, and I watch it a lot. I’m a big Chicago Bulls and KU Jayhawks fan.

Edge: What else do you do in your free time?

Atlas: I have three jobs this summer. In addition to News Channel Nebraska, I work at Crisp & Green in Omaha, and I’ll be a camp counselor for two weeks at Camp Sabra at Lake of the Ozarks.

Edge: What are your future plans?

Atlas: I had planned to study business in college, but now it’s about exploring what I can do. Whether it’s sports media and making edits or writing articles and possibly working for a big company like ESPN, I’m focused on learning more about the different routes I might choose to take.

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