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UNL graduate begins a promising editing career in Omaha

By: Michael Stanek
University of Nebraska- Lincoln 

Sarah McCallister didn’t realize when she walked into her high school journalism class on the first day of school it was the beginning of a career path.


Sarah McCallister, copy editor at The Omaha World-Herald (photo courtesy of Rebecca S. Gratz)

Fast forward a few years and McCallister would find herself in the jouranlism college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  It was there she decided to enroll in basic editing and joined the Daily Nebraskan newspaper.

“At first I didn’t know what I wanted to do.  I had an older sister that was in broadcasting so that led me to the J-school.  I enrolled in basic editing as a sophomore.  Then I found that writing came easy to me,” she said.

McCallister stayed active at her newspaper and in the journalism school.  She graduated in 2011 and was hired as a copy editor for the Omaha World-Herald.

McCallister works five to six days a week 4 p.m to 1 a.m.

In charge of the Midlands section, McCallister deals with all local stories.  The section front holds four to five different stories on average, all varying in content and style.  She proofreads material for errors in grammar and format.  She also works with a team of editors in page layout and design.

“I pretty much work with everybody in the newsroom,” she said.  “Our jobs are usually determined by what needs to be done.  I help edit the cover page two days a week and I edit the website once a week.  I also write headlines for the stories I’m editing if they don’t already have one.”

With all of the editing responsibility, there is a lot of pressure on McCallister to make sure everything is perfect.

“One of the hardest parts about being a copy editor in the newsroom is that you’re invisible until you make a mistake,” she said.

There is a constant pressure that makes McCallister’s job one of the most difficult in the newsroom.  However, that pressure is also the thing that pushes her to do the best work possible every time.

The path for a young copy editor is a long one.  McCallister hopes to work her way up at the World-Herald, and perhaps to larger news organizations.

The work is hard and time-consumin,g but it’s what she loves and where she is beginning a promising career as an editor.

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