Classroom Conversations: Nebraska's Death Penalty Vote

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Should there be a death penalty in Nebraska? Voters will have the final word this fall, and NET News is helping them learn about the different aspects of the issue by taking the discussion to classrooms.




  • For the death penalty? Vote "Repeal"
  • Against the death penalty? Vote "Retain"
  • More on understanding how to vote HERE


Northeast Community College, Norfolk

Western Nebraska Community College, Scottsbluff

Metropolitan Community College, Omaha

The project is called “Classroom Conversations: Nebraska’s Death Penalty Vote.” NET News brought together advocates from each side of the issue to answer questions from students at Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff, Northeast Community College in Norfolk and Metropolitan Community College in Omaha. These lively discussions are the foundation of a new 30 minute television program that premiered Sept. 12 and airs throughout the fall on NET Television.

The producers of the program, Mike Tobias (Twitter Facebook) and Bill Kelly (TwitterFacebook), believe the format of this project kept the focus on content rather than controversy.

“The discussions were insightful, thoughtful and emotional,” Tobias says. “You see how difficult and complicated the death penalty issue is for many Nebraskans.”

Kelly adds that “after each discussion the students who came to participate said they liked hearing the advocates making their case without the yelling and personal attacks that drive a lot of political debate these days.”

The questions from students allowed experts to discuss a wide range of death penalty-related topics, including cost, deterrence, impact on victims’ family members, religious and spiritual perspectives, who is executed, and law enforcement safety. Experts addressing these issues were:

In addition to the television program, the project includes several NET News Signature Stories on NET Radio; one of the radio stories was recorded separately with students in a class on the South Omaha campus of Metropolitan Community College.

“Classroom Conversations: Nebraska’s Death Penalty Vote” builds on the rich tradition of award-winning political and election projects developed by Kelly and Tobias for NET. 



NET News story "Two families, two victims, two different views of Nebraska's death penalty" (Nov. 2016)

NET News story "Impassioned Nebraskans share final toughts on death penalty ballot question" (Nov. 2016)

NET News story "Ballot questions in three states may affect death penalty nationwide" (Oct. 2016)

NET News story "College class discussion shows the complexity of death penalty issue" (Sept. 2016)

NET News story "Is the death penalty moral? Advocates, opponents and students wrestle with the question" (Sept. 2016)

NET News story "Campaigns intensifying for, against the death penalty in Nebraska" (Aug. 2016)

NET News story "Lawsuit to block death penalty referendum cites Ricketts' role" (Sept. 2015)

NET News story "Death penalty supporters submit signatures for referendum" (Aug. 2015)

NET News discussion show "Nebraska's Death Penalty: What's Next" (June 2015)

NET News story "Legislature overrides Ricketts' veto, abolishes Nebraska's death penalty" (May 2015)

NET News story "Legislature votes to abolish death penalty; veto override vote looms" (May 2015)

 Campaign Connection, home for NET News election coverage.