Story by Junior Journalists: Celia Alexander, Ivy Clark, Jane Curtis, Grace Gericke, Gracie Hedenberg, Olivia King, Evelyn Linck, Ginny Northcott, Benjamin Pires and Nina Thompson with Guidance from Aerin Johnson, Andre Scott and Keillyn Johnson
Kathleen Nelson worked for 31 years at The Post-Dispatch as a copy editor, sports columnist, fashion assistant and a travel writer. Nelson began her career in journalism as a way to pursue her love of writing and sports.
Her father, who enjoyed sports and was a good athlete, encouraged her to learn more about sports, though she was not as athletically inclined.
As she grew up, she began to nourish a love of reading, writing and journalism. She found inspiration from Mark Twain, Earnest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf and Joe Posnanski.
According to Kathleen Nelson, communications specialist, the traits every journalist should have are:
2. Critical thinking
4. Time Management
5. Being a Good reader
Nelson received bachelor degrees for theater and journalism at Mizzou. Afterwards, in 1981, she was offered a one-day-per-week job at The Post-Dispatch, paying $150 a week; at the same time, she was offered a full time job in Mississippi that paid $175 for a full time job. After much deliberation, she chose to accept the Post-Dispatch’s offer, in the hope that she would eventually work up to a higher job.
“A little bit of a gamble, but it paid off,” Nelson said.
After two years of being a copy editor, there was an opening in sports. Nelson happily took the opportunity, and she covered basketball, football and soccer. She also had her own column.
After five years, Nelson moved to being a fashion writer. She said the job was hard work, and it took a week of her life for just one article. Nelson had to find models, talk to buyers and sellers, buy clothing for the shoots, and find a location for them as well. It was exciting work, as she got to talk with designers, but it was tiring, as the photographers often took hours to make three or four photos. Also occasionally Nelson was asked to model herself, specifically her hands for bracelets, rings, etc…. She enjoyed the work, but was not as passionate about it.
Eventually, Nelson took an opening in the travel department. As her son grew up, however, the job grew harder as her son was now in school, and her husband was a hockey reporter and had to travel with the team.
“My dream job turned into a burden,” Nelson said.
Nelson then returned to the sports page. During her 31 years at The Post-Dispatch, she had five jobs.
Nelson now works at the St. Patrick’s Center, as a Communications Specialist.
“I knew the problems that the homeless had…I knew that they (St. Patrick’s Center) were not only an organization that meant to do good, but did a lot of good.”