Editor Linda Persigehl wears many hats
By Michaela Noble
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
To Linda Persigehl, success in life and in a career has everything to do with how many hats one wears.
In her case, “hats” doesn’t refer to an article of clothing worn to make a fashion statement, but rather the wide range of responsibilities and tasks expected of an editor.
Persigehl worked as the managing editor for Omaha Magazine for a little over five years.
Being a managing editor meant mostly relegating people and managing the magazine, she said. She chose writers for assignments, came up with stories, found sources, and then, at last, proofread the stories she was given.
“I had an impact because of how many hats I wore,” Persigehl said. “This job works way better with collaboration.”
Even something as simple as reading an article was a 3-step system for Persigehl.
First, she would read the story for content, making sure it answered the important questions. The second step was checking its continuity. Finally, Persigehl would read the story for its grammatical correctness, sometimes throwing back questions for the writer to consider.
Her work was not over after sending a story back for revisions, though.
“After stories got back to me revised, I would work with the art director and photographer to see how to illustrate each story,” Persigehl said. “People are visual, so even with a fantastic story people want an image and that emotion.”
It was because Persigehl was so dedicated to doing each of her many jobs right that she ended up leaving the magazine, and her permanent mark on it, after more than five years.
The magazine took off when the economy charged back up, Persigehl explained, making her job as an editor even more demanding.
“It was a great thing, but that meant more editorial content.” Persigehl said. “I was doing more work, and it had to be done faster.”
She said it was a testament to the magazine that it has grown so much, and that its growth shows that editing jobs aren’t going away—in fact, quite the opposite.
“They [Editors] are asked to take on the social media aspect…. an expanding thing that will only help magazines,” Persigehl said.
Reflecting on her time as an editor, Persigehl said there were parts that were difficult.
“Managing people, managing my time, and once in a while knowing when to push the envelope,” Persigehl said of her hardest tasks.
But there were also aspects of being an editor that she loved.
According to Persigehl, her job was never tedious because she got to go out and do things; she worked in a small place and got to learn new things every day.
Persigehl said she is looking forward to getting back to her writing, possibly as a freelancer for Omaha Magazine and other publications.
When asked about advice that she would give to students looking into an editing career, Persigehl said it is important to have passion and showcase it.
She paused for a moment, thinking.
“You can sell your personality and attitude even without experience,” Persigehl said in an afterthought.
She also wanted to capitalize on what she deemed the power of print.
“If you read it, you believe it,” Persigehl said.
“It has a lot of power, and it can do so much good.”