On Wednesday, February 10th, Andrew Norman returned back to East Lansing with his wife, Angie, to talk about how his journalism master’s project took an unexpected turn for the better. A native Nebraskan, Andrew graduated from Michigan State University in 2010 with a M.A. in Environmental Journalism from the Knight Center. A slew of environmental issues surfaced at this time as well as the documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth”, which really inspired him to pursue turning the issues into stories and caused him to land at MSU. For much of his time here, he worked with Great Lakes Echo covering environmental science news which gave him a real love for the Great Lakes and the environment’s health. For his master’s project, an idea thought up on a cocktail napkin at a local Lansing bar turned into the couple’s entrepreneurial venture. Hear Nebraska is the product of their love for Nebraska that resurfaced in their time in Michigan.
Hear Nebraska is a nonprofit music organization with the mission to connect and encourage fans, artists, and music in Nebraska to thrive. Together, they wanted to see the state display more of its growing arts and music scene and become a cultural tourism destination. When first walking in the room, Andrew and Angie’s smiling faces did not give away the countless months of development and struggles they have faced with their team of seven now in starting their business. It started like a blog featuring singer/songwriters which then grew into articles about events, musician video interviews, and has now evolved into a multimedia website promoting music and arts events all over Nebraska. Andrew himself could not believe he went from covering environmental news to shooting music videos, owning a family business, and much more. He spoke on how much his team meant to the progress of Hear Nebraska and how thankful he was for his interns present in the first few years going unpaid and just sparking so much inspiration and hard work to the company. Just last summer, Hear Nebraska launched their first music festival tour through 9 cities in the state in 9 days. It was called the Good Living Tour featuring 27 bands made in Nebraska. The tour is expanding this year to add even more cities. The dedication to cultivate their home state’s music community through multimedia journalism, events, and education was amazing.
Andrew gave a wide list of what factors went into the creation of the business. Some tasks and some components to their progress this list was:
- Talked to great sources
- Networked- A LOT!
- Got to work- all the time
- Made it their life
- Found a great designer
- Developed their brand + logo
- Made a good website
- Kept a consistent + real voice
- Got involved in after school programming
- Became a social presence
- Took risks
- Created a strong board of team members
- Showed their team love
- Got money through grants
- Launched new programs
- TOLD A STORY
With high aspirations for Hear Nebraska, Andrew and Angie Norman are just getting started in their business ventures and it was amazing to hear their story. Andrew began and finished his talk with the important advice: “It is all about building those relationships.” Good relationships with others is so crucial in business but also in everyday life and as the Normans found out, those relationships can connect us all really, especially when we celebrate what we have in common, like our home state love.
Check out Hear Nebraska on Facebook and hearnebraska.org for their latest news and events.