Lisa Eckelbecker hopes she’ll be able to work her entire career in journalism.
The Nebraska native has worked for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette in central Massachusetts since 1989. While at Columbia to receive her master’s in journalism from 1988 to 1989, Eckelbecker says she fell in love with the East Coast and knew it was time for her to live outside of the Midwest.
During her years at the Telegram, Eckelbecker has watched the field of journalism go through massive changes. What was once a print-only business now includes channels that seem to grow and change constantly. When Eckelbecker joined the business desk, she was one of four reporters, and the team had a dedicated editor and copyeditor as well. Now, the business desk includes just one reporter – Eckelbecker – and an editor.
“I think it’s forced me to think much harder about what I’m going to work on,” she says. “I have to say no to a lot of stories now. I have to choose the ones I believe will be the best for the readers, be the most meaningful, be different from what others are reporting.”
With an area larger than the state of Rhode Island to cover, Eckelbecker certainly stays busy—especially since the business landscape is so diverse, including biotech, traditional and advanced manufacturing, agriculture, banking, insurance and more.
Eckelbecker has a lot of heart for the people who live and work in the area she covers. When she reflects on her years at the Telegram she says it’s the little stories that she’s most proud of, in addition to the awards she’s won.
“I think sometimes I’m proudest of the little stories that allow me to go in and meet people who don’t normally get to talk to the press, whether it’s an entrepreneur starting a really remarkable business or an elderly farmer with a herd of sheep and you sit at the kitchen table and talk to them about what’s going on with wool prices,” she says. “Every community needs good reporting at the local level. It can really have an impact on the people who live there.”