McCoy receives grant from Humanities Nebraska

Sunday, April 23, 2023 - 2:45pm

In partnership with Nebraska Public Media, Barney McCoy, the Gilbert and Martha Hitchcock Professor of Broadcasting in the UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications, received a grant from Humanities Nebraska. The grant will support the production of “Running Towards the Fire,” a WWII documentary about University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate Barney Oldfield and Reuters News correspondent Robert Reuben. 

Oldfield was an officer with the U.S. Army Airborne in World War II. He recruited Omaha-born correspondent Robert Reuben to complete U.S. Army Airborne Jump School. By doing so, Reuben had the privilege of parachuting behind German enemy lines six hours before the Allied D-Day invasion of Normandy, France. Reuben would go on to follow and report on U.S. and Allied troops as they fought and chased the German military back to Berlin and Germany’s surrender. 

The half-hour documentary is tentatively scheduled for its premier broadcast on Nebraska Public Media in early 2024.   

McCoy is a professor at the UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications, where he teaches courses in multimedia, broadcast news, journalism, documentary and depth reporting. Before joining UNL, McCoy worked as a full-time journalist for 27 years, winning six Emmy awards and numerous other honors. He has also received national recognition for his work as a documentary director and producer, including multiple awards for his 2018 television documentary "Black Jack Pershing: Love and War." McCoy holds a master's degree in telecommunications management from Michigan State University and a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.

“I’m thrilled to bring ‘Running Towards the Fire’ to television broadcast on Nebraska Public Media,” McCoy said. “The documentary examines the critical role World War II war correspondents like Reuben played by keeping Americans back home informed on U.S. troops fighting in Europe. Colonel Barney Oldfield, the Nebraska native, was Reuben’s chief enabler. He helped make Reuben’s outstanding war reporting possible.”  

Humanities Nebraska is a private nonprofit organization with a mission to help Nebraskans explore what connects people and makes us human. HN is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, an appropriation from the Nebraska Legislature, private donations and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, a public-private partnership with state dollars matching private dollars to benefit the arts and humanities in Nebraska.


Barney McCoy headshot
Barney McCoy, Gilbert and Martha Hitchcock Professor of Broadcasting