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Magazine editor tackles weddings, Omaha living

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Chris Christen, editorial director of Inspired Living Omaha and Wedding Essentials Magazine. Photo courtesy Christen.

By Wellesley Michael

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Journalism is an ever-changing industry, but editor Chris Christen is ready to change with it.

Christen is the editorial director for Inspired Living Omaha and Wedding Essentials – two niche magazines published by the Omaha World-Herald. She calls herself a jack-of-all-trades as she assigns, edits, photographs and writes.

Christen works with a full-time creative director. Together they collaborate with freelancers. In their office, collaboration is key.

“Everyone has an element they can bring. Our best work is when we collaborate,” said Christen, in a phone interview.

Christen believes one of the best qualities of an editor is the ability to know that everyone has good ideas. One idea may not always be the best. It is good to keep an open mind and open ears, she said. She also thinks it’s important to be considerate and reinforce the positive.

Inspired Living Omaha focuses on home decor, food and style. The magazine helps readers find new businesses, boutiques and restaurants. Inspired Living Omaha is circulated in the Omaha area six times a year and can be found at businesses such as boutique Mesh., Midtown Crossing Sales Office and The Post & Nickel.

Wedding Essentials, published twice a year, gives Omaha brides inspiration. The magazine includes information about florists, venues and wedding dress shops. Each issue shows the weddings of  local couples, including photos of even the smallest details. Wedding Essentials is published once in the spring and summer and once again in the fall and winter.

The two magazines can be viewed on Issuu, a digital publishing platform.

Each issue contains hyperlinks that direct readers to products and brands featured in the magazine.

Social media has affected journalism and is a big part of Christen’s work.

After photo shoots, Christen and her team use Instagram to give a sneak peak.

“Instagram is our brand,” she said.

The Instagram for Inspired Living Omaha is full of creative pictures taken around the city. Many feature nature, clothes and jewelry from local designers, home decor and behind the scenes images from photo shoots.

Wedding Essential’s Instagram includes pictures of couples and small wedding details such as cakes, decorations, flowers and rings. One photo shows a geometric, modern floral arrangement done by floral shop, Voila Flowers.

Recently, Christen directed a photo shoot at a glass company in front of mirrors with graphic prints.

Christen is always looking for inspiration. She tries to get out of the office and find new ideas.

She said, “Inspiration is everywhere. Look for it in magazines, on Instagram or it could just come to you.”

Christen is a multitasker. When she is not directing photo shoots, she is in the office editing.

“There is no room to be sloppy,” she said. “Accuracy is everything.”

Using the AP Setylebook as a guide, Christen makes sure she and her writers do not lose their voices from over editing.

“If you don’t have a style then people can edit the same story differently,” she said. “Then your publication lacks a voice.”

Christen has been involved in editing since high school.

At her high school in Oakland, Nebraska, Christen enjoyed the arts and worked on the yearbook. She loved taking pictures and talking to people to hear their stories.

By her sophomore year, Christen knew she wanted to pursue journalism. She began working for the Oakland Independent while in high school.

Christen continued her education at Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska, where she studied journalism and minored in business with the goal of becoming a newspaper publisher.

After graduating in 2009, her first job was at The Red Oak Express, a tri-weekly publication in southwest Iowa. Then, Christen interviewed for a job at the Omaha World-Herald and was hired as a copy editor in the features department.

After working at the World-Herald on page layout and design, Christen began the job she has now – overseeing the magazines published by the newspaper.

Christen encourages journalists to correct and admit their mistakes because accuracy is one’s integrity.

“There is no room to be sloppy,” she said. “Accuracy is everything.”

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