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Young graduate quickly rises to assistant editor position

By Brittany Schave
University of Nebraska Lincoln

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Bailey Hemphill is an assistant editor for Omaha Publications.

 Bailey Hemphill, assistant editor of Omaha Publications, leaped from being an intern to an editor in a little over a year.

After completing an internship in August 2010 with Omaha Publications, a magazine company, Hemphill received a call right before graduating from the University of Nebraska Omaha, asking if she would like to become an editorial assistant.

“I was like well ‘yea of course!’ So as soon as I graduated I started here,” Hemphill said in an interview.

Soon after, the managing editor left and the assistant editor job became available.  Hemphill snagged that position, rising quickly at the company.

Hemphill edits and writes for the many magazines that Omaha Publications encompasses including, Omaha Magazine, Omaha Home, B2B Omaha Magazine, The Encounter, HerLiving and Family Spectrum.

When it comes to which task she prefers, Hemphill said it’s a tough call.  She likes the stories that involve people the the best so it depends on the publication.  Hemphill also is keen on the editing process because she finds it satisfying to take the work and clean it up.

“One of our designers says that she can always tell when I’m editing because I’m just scratching furiously in the cubicle. But … there’s something very satisfying about fixing it,” Hemphill said.  ” It’s kind of like restoring art work — you’re just making it a little better.”

Being an assistant editor can be hectic.  During a production week, especially for the Best of Omaha issue, it may require a 12 to 16 hour work day, editing and getting everything ready.

Once a magazine is published, it obviously can’t be changed so she and other editors spend a lot of time editing before publication to avoid errors.

“I don’t think we’ve had any really really big ones — nothing on the cover. Now that I say that I probably should knock on wood,” Hemphill said laughing as she knocked on the table.  “We have had ones where we’ve gone back through and been like, ‘Oh no Nebraska is spelled Nebarska’.”

Hemphill handles a lot of the social media for the company.  “Social media it is important and I do want to make sure we’re posting regularly but not constantly, so I try to do at least one post a day,” she said.

Although the job can be stressful, it has rewards. Hemphill gets to meet fascinating people.  She interviewed Luc Carl from Springfield Neb., a passionate rock-n-roller who wrote the book, “The Drunk Diet,” but is perhaps better known for dating pop star, Lady Gaga.

Hemphill also did a feature on Katie Huerter, a young activist in global relations who traveled to Israel.

“We got a lot of calls in about that one because it was a little controversial just because of the topic,” she said, “but I tried to keep it as neutral as possible when talking about her.”

It usually takes Hemphill about 30 minutes to write a quick story but longer features can take her a few days.

Hemphill has always loved English classes and the mechanical aspects of language.  She’s working on her own fiction-fantasy novel, which has been a work in progress since she was 16.

 Hemphill didn’t always know she wanted to be an editor.

“It’s funny because when I went in to college I actually went with a biology major thinking I was going to go pre-med,” she said, “but then kind of about half way through I was like ‘you know this isn’t really where my strengths lie.”

Hemphill’s favorite part of the job is the people she works with.  Her co-workers bring a lot of different experiences to the publication. And she has a lively, creative boss.

Most journalism students would jump at the chance to have a job like Hemphill’s after graduation. Her advice is to get an internship.

“It’s very useful. It helps give you kind of an idea whether the career would be something you want to do as well as give you some experience in that field.”

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