Kelly: Ex-farm kid from Nebraska ABC Washington correspondent

Kelly: Ex-farm kid from Nebraska ABC Washington correspondent

By Michael Kelly February 26, 2013 5:03 pm 20 comments

Jeff Zeleny, who grew up on a farm near Exeter, Neb., has exited a top reporting  job at the New York Times and accepted a high-profile spot at ABC News.

A University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate, he will become the network’s senior Washington correspondent covering Congress and politics. Besides reporting, he will appear regularly on the network’s Sunday-morning “This Week” program.

Jeff grew up doing farm chores and then worked at a Pizza Hut in Geneva, Neb., before reporting part-time at the York News-Times — similarly named to the paper where he would gain journalistic fame. In college, he became editor of the student newspaper, The Daily Nebraskan. In Decmber, he was UNL’s graduation speaker. 

Zeleny has covered Barack Obama’s rise to the presidency and his time in office, and has traveled to all 50 states and about two dozen countries. He is the third and youngest son of Diane and the late Robert Zeleny, who died in a tractor rollover accident in 2002.

Jeff once told me his career choice was greatly influenced by his father, who read “every inch” of two newspapers daily.








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