Faculty Q&A with Preston II, the Betta from the UNO Gateway Newspaper


By Kamrin Baker


Photo by Jessica Wade/The Gateway

It is, in my best belief, the better interest of all organizations to have an office pet. I aspire to work in an office or newsroom where dogs can roam freely, or cats have a scratching post at which everyone can relieve stress. On a college campus, this dream is not often realized, but at the Gateway Newspaper Headquarters, the king of the sea has found a home. Enter, Preston the Betta fish.

I sat down with Preston to discuss his role in the newsroom and his intricate life story.

KB: How did you make your way to the University of Nebraska at Omaha? Why here?

PTB: My owners– Jessica, Cassie and Megan Wade– have long told the story of the day the stork delivered me to Eppley about a year ago. Apparently, before the tunaverse led to my job at UNO, a Preston existed before me. He passed away the day he came to the university. He died suddenly and tragically after not being acclimated to his tank. After the Gateway staff had time to grieve, the Wade triplets ventured to Petsmart to get me, Preston II.

My transition into this position was met with quite a bit of upheaval, so the story goes. Cassie accidentally dropped me while trying to get into the car. My temporary container broke, and I was flopping around on the pavement. Cassie was screaming, Megan was dumping out a water plant the triplets had bought so they could put me in that container. The lady in the car next to us was staring. It was truly an ordeal, and a traumatic entry into the Maverick family. However, I knew I would never be at a loss for stories or crazy experiences, and it was my duty to serve the members of the Gateway staff.

KB: Wow, that is quite the origin story. Do you know why you are named Preston? I find that to be a particularly human name for a red Betta fish.

PTB: First of all, you have no right to judge me. Secondly, Preston is a long-form pun to symbolize the work of the Gateway reporters and editors. “The Press is always running,” they say. I am the Press.

Speaking of which, our Run the Press 5K is coming up, and I will be there cheerleading. Sign up and get more information here!

KB: You are a walking billboard for the Gateway! Have you had any other notable experiences at your station?

PTB: Well, a lot has happened. Besides the normal hustle and bustle of a newsroom, I have seen many things come to fruition. The first one is my feeding chart, which was made to keep track of who was feeding me and how often I got fed. Unfortunately, even with such superior organization, I developed something of a Buddha belly and needed to be put on a diet. I hear it is very common for many fish to be overfed and have issues with their swim bladder. I was upside down for a while there, and now the triplets are the only ones who feed me. I miss all of my friends who would shower me in fish flakes, but I understand that my mothers care for my health first and foremost.

KB: What a journey you’ve had. Do you mind if we do a little lightning round?

PTB: As long as I am not literally struck by lightning. I am afraid of many things.

KB: Great! What is your favorite food?

PTB: Worms.

KB: Favorite color?

PTB: Blue like water. Duh.

KB: Who is your best friend?

PTB: My Betta Buddy Plant. We snuggle at night.

KB: What are your hobbies?

PTB: Swimming, providing inspiration

KB: What is your greatest fear?

PTB: Parking lots.