Whatever kind of journalist you aspire to be – reporter, photojournalist, designer, multimedia producer, broadcaster or editor – you’ll need to develop editing skills to succeed.
Editors work for all kinds of organizations on many different platforms (print, broadcast, Web, mobile). The goal of editing is clarity, regardless of platform. Editors help readers navigate through information by distilling messages. Editors work for small and large newspapers, broadcast outlets, magazines, book publishers and newsletters. They hold communication jobs for corporate, academic and nonprofit organizations. Editing skills are valued in public relations and advertising. Regardless of where they work, editors increasingly are responsible for work published on the Web.
Since 2011, beginning editing students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln interviewed editors from a variety of places to ask them about their jobs, their advice for journalism students and their insight into how journalism is changing. Although the editors the students chose worked in many different jobs, many editors offered similar suggestions.
Their advice included: Read all different kinds of writing, master the basics of usage and grammar, get internships and college publication experience, learn the Web and new technologies, and be open-minded about the future.
Click on the links below to read their reports:
- Don Aguirre, copy writer, Swanson Russell, by Brook O’Neill
- Kaitlin Ahart, communications director at Marian High School, by Moira Delaney
- Susan Albertus, public relations specialist, Nebraska Department of Economic Development, by Sara Slater
- Graham Archer, online sports editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Tanner Westerholt
- Nathan Arneal, owner, North Bend Eagle, by Meridith Gross-Rhode
- Lindsay Augustyn, communications coordinator, Center for Science, Math and Computer Education, by Mady Traun
- George Ayoub, senior writer, Grand Island Independent, by Reece Ristau
- Lisa Bain, multiplatform editor, Star-Tribune in Minneapolis, by Jordyn Dixon
- Ann Baker, manager of editorial, design and production, University of Nebraska-Press, by Kelsey Baker
- Brett Baker, executive producer Nebraska News and Information Network, by Jessica Larkins
- Bruce Baker, city editor, McCook Daily Gazette, by Megan Conway
- Doug Barber, general manager and editor of Washington County Enterprise and Pilot-Tribune in Blair, Neb., by C.L. Sill
- Alan Bartels, field assistant editor, Nebraska Life magazine, by Nicole Rauner
- Kathryn Bass, copywriter at Karsh Hogan, by Cassandra Kernick
- Debbie Behne, graphic designer, Hain Publishing, by Shelby Wade
- Gerri Berendzen, editorial production coordinator, Quincy Herald-Whig, by Mason Shumaker
- Jessica Best, marketer at Emfluence:Digital Marketing by Emily Wicht
- Miles Blumhardt, editor of active life and sports, Coloradoan, by Jeremy Shipe
- David Brindley, deputy managing editor for copy and research at National Geographic magazine, by Jasmine Rogers
- Jim Brock, editor of the Nebraska City News-Press, by Madison Wurtele
- Karen Brokaw, owner, Brokaw Marketing, by Brennan Andrews
- Amy Brown, co-publisher and editor, Edible Omaha, by Miranda Milovich
- Mike Brownlee, assistant news editor, The Daily Nonpareil, by Sam Egan
- Linda Bryant, managing editor and publisher, Voice News, by Preston Thiemann
- Tracy Buffington, editor of the Fremont Tribune in Fremont, Neb., by Dustin Hunke
- Dave Bundy, editor, Lincoln Journal Star, by Tiler Thomas
- Dave Bundy, editor, Lincoln Journal-Star, by Yuliya Petrova
- Heather Burns, deputy editor at ESPN, by Natasha Rausch
- Patty Busse, Oakdale, Minn., Patch editor, by Frannie Sprouls
- Sean Callahan, editor, huskeronline.com, by Cameron Dudley
- Jesse Carey, contributing editor, Relevant Magazine, by Veronica Vanderbeek
- Cameron Carlow, sports copy editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Reid Kilmer
- Jim Carmichael, NET sports producer, by Dustin Hoffman
- Lorena Carmona, producer NBC Nebraska, by Jordyn Henry
- Zean Carney, former publisher newspaper publisher, by Kaylee Dump
- Doug Carroll, editor, NEBRASKAland magazine, by Gene Curl
- Scott Changnon, multimedia producer and editor, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, by David Cluchey
- Lee Ann Colacioppo, senior news editor, The Denver Post, by Whitney Carlson
- Bill Connolly, retired New York Times editor, by Asha Anchan
- Sue Copeland, contributing editor, Horse&Rider magazine, by Kelly Schnoor
- Stuart Courtney, online sports editor, Chicago Tribune, by Kyle Williams
- Chris Cubbison, USA Today trends editor, by Chelsea Stromer
- Bruce Crosby, editor of the McCook Daily Gazette, by Matt Palu
- Stephanie Croston, sports editor, Seward County Independent, by Jacob Imig
- Kwame Dawes, editor-in-chief, Prairie Schooner, by Jenna Jaynes
- Mary Dearen, managing editor of the Midland Reporter-Telegram, by Emily Deck
- John DiBiase, editor of Jesus Freak Hideout, by Francesca Torquati
- Darnell Dickson, sports editor, Lincoln Journal Star, by Ross Benes
- Lisa Gregory Dodge, editor of ANCHORA, by Lindsay Esparrago
- Bruce Dold, editor of the editorial page, Chicago Tribune, by Desi Botica
- Jeff Domingues, assistant news editor, The Denver Post, by Faiz Siddiqui
- Thea Dreisbach, editor of Dirt Road Daughters Magazine, by Emily Taylor
- Margaret Ehlers Bohling, page designer, Lincoln Journal Star, by Flora Zempleni
- Tom Elkins, video editor, by Eric Jesse
- Leeanna Ellis, online editor at Washington County Pilot Tribune & Enterprise by Sophie Tatum
- Dave Elsesser, news and presentation editor at Omaha World-Herald, by Desire Stephens
- Gale Engle, editor at Indian Hills Community Church, by Kathleen Anderson
- Patrick Ethridge, editor, Beatrice Daily Sun, by Jacob Sorensen
- Rick Epps, presentation editor, The Detroit News, by Kelsey Newman
- Randy Essex, senior news editor, Cincinnati Enquirer, by Anna English
- Jennifer Estep, trader and event marketing specialist, T.D. Ameritrade, by Averi Melcher
- Lindsey Faber, freelance editor, by Nikoel Hytrek
- Jim Faddis, managing editor of Grand Island Independent, by Joseph McCarty
- Mary Fastenau, principal, Anthology Marketing Group, by Caitlin Hassler
- Mike Fitzgerald, editor, Nebraska Cattleman, by Jeanna Jenkins
- Mary Flood, legal media consultant at Androvett Legal Media and Marketing, by Lynn Yen
- Joe Foreman, editor of the Opinion-Tribune, by Taylor Lynch
- Darran Fowler, publisher and editor-in-chief, Hastings Tribune, by Collin Spilinek
- Steve Fredericks, Scottsbluff Star-Herald, by Brett Brown
- Betsie Freeman, features editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Kelsey Haugen
- Cate Folsom, metro editor, Omaha World-Herald by Chris Dorwart
- Chet Fussman, sports editor, Florida Times-Union, by Kollin Miller
- Michele Gallagher, public relations director of Panerai North America, by Natalie Kozel
- Jonathan García, digital editor for KETV NewsWatch 7, by Ruth Oliver
- Natasha Gardner, digital editor of 5280, a Denver lifestyle magazine, by Sable Holub
- Ted Genoways, former editor, Virginia Quarterly Review, by Ben Kreimer
- Tom Gitter, public relations specialist at Bozell in Omaha, by Josi Orsi
- Jenn Gjerde, public information officer at Visit Nebraska, by Brenna McFadden
- Nick Goodwin, copywriter, Thought District, by Tiler Grossman
- Larry Graham, executive sports editor, San Diego Union-Tribune, by Eric Bertrand
- Sally Gray, copy editor at Marysville Advocate, by Ben Malotte
- Teddy Greenstein, sports reporter, Chicago Tribune, by Ben McLaughlin
- John Greilick, photo director, The Detroit News, by Bailey Ernst
- Clark Grell, art director, Lincoln Journal Star, by Alex Lantz
- Joe Gulick, editorial page editor, Lubbock Avalanche Journal, by Sarah Jo Lambert
- Rachel Halbmaier, events and promotions director at the Railyard, by Elle Hansen
- Ryan Hamm, managing editor of Relevant, by Lindsey Richards
- Laura Haraldson, managing editor of several magazines for Tiger Oak Publications, by Maria Lusk
- Kurtis Harms, executive producer, Market Journal, by Alex Wach
- Tyler Harris, editor of Nebraska Farmer, by Shelby Cammack
- Jim Headley, managing editor, Fairbury Journal-News, by Paige Comreid
- John Heaston, publisher and editor of The Reader in Omaha, by Cara Wilwerding
- Carly Heitlinger, editor, Levo League, by Margaret Bassett
- Bailey Hemphill, assistant editor, Omaha Publications, by Brittany Schave
- Felecia Henderson, assistant managing editor features and design, The Detroit News, by Brianna Foster
- Todd Henrichs, city editor, Lincoln Journal Star, by Liang Xiang
- Shauna Hermel, editor of the Angus Journal, by By Ellen Hoffschneider
- Wade Hilligoss, coach support specialist at Hudl, by Zachary Penrice
- Kati and Levi Hime, owners and editors of Wyoming Lifestyle, by Avery Sass
- Curt Hineline, managing editor, Oakland Independent, by Elizabeth Uehling
- Jane Hirt, managing editor, Chicago Tribune, by Hailey Konnath
- Johnna Hjersman, copy editor, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, by Kelly O’Malley
- Sharon Hoffmann, assistant features editor Kansas City Star, by Chris Nelson
- Neil Holdway, news editor, Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, by Adam Kroft
- Roger Holmes, former editor at Fine Woodworking magazine, by Doug Norby
- Margaret Holt, standards editor the Chicago Tribune, by Jessica Gibbs
- Tyler Huckabee, managing editor, Relevant Magazine, by Veronica Venderbeek
- Catharine Huddle, assistant city editor, Lincoln Journal Star, by Zach Tegler
- Maj. Kevin Hynes, editor of Prairie Soldier and public affairs officer Army and Air National Guard, by Heidi Krueger
- Matthew Hynes, photographer, by Anne-Marie Schneider
- Darren Ivy, publisher, Doniphan Herald, by Heather Haskins
- Josh Jackson, Paste magazine editor, by Brennan Shively
- Emily Johnson, digital editor, The Daily Nonpareil, by Natalie Turcos
- Kelly Johnson, Sunday business editor, Washington Post, by Katie Nelson
- Kurt Johnson, editor and publisher Aurora News-Register, by Kaci Hixson
- Brady Jones, page designer, Omaha World-Herald, by Alicia Mikoloyck
- Mike Kellams, associate managing editor / sports, Chicago Tribune, by Emily Nitcher
- The Rev. Nicholas Kipper, editor, Southern Nebraska Register, by Ruth Jaros
- Ted Kirk, photo editor, Lincoln Journal Star, by Kevin Kuehl
- Jane Kleeb, founder and editor of Bold Nebraska, by Shelby Fleig
- Lonna Kliment, director of ticket marketing for University of Nebraska-Lincoln Athletics, by Jeff Chestnut
- Adam Klinker, editor, Ralston Recorder, by Sara Janak and Robert Vencil
- Jeff Knox, senior director of photography at The Daily Herald in Chicago, by Dena Lorenson
- Julie Koch, copy editor, the Lincoln Journal Star, by Sara Hinds
- Jessica Kokesh, regional editor, Kearney Hub, by Sawyer Davidson
- Mike Konz, Kearney Hub editor, by Abby Schipporeit
- Jeff Korbelik, features editor, Lincoln Journal Star, by Abigail Gentrup
- Doug Kouma, managing editor, Meredith Corp., by Morgan Horton
- David Krause, sports executive producer, 9news, by Bailey Neel
- Shelly Kulhanek, assistant city editor, Lincoln Journal Star, by Rebecca Carr
- Marianne Kunkel, managing editor, Prairie Schooner, by Julia Jackson
- Jeff Kurrus, associate editor, NEBRASKAland, by Olivia Johnson
- Patrick Lalley, editor, Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, by Jourdyn Kaarre
- Eric Larsen, senior editor for content at Coloradoan, by Alexa West
- George Lauby, editor of North Platte Bulletin, by Ryan Nielson
- Meg Lauerman, director of communications for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, by Amanda Schmidt
- Jessica Lavicky, e-content managing editor, Farm Progress, by Emma Likens
- Thad Livingston, sports editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Teddy Lampkin
- Josie Loza, momaha.com editor, by Emily Eckel
- Kristen Lueck, senior account executive Man Made Music, by Emily Trofholz
- Dana Ludvik, marketing and communications specialist, Water for Food Global Institute, by Cassandra Huck
- Ruben Luna, associate sports editor, The Detroit News, by Connor Stange
- Tim Lyford, news editor, Argus Leader in South Dakota, by Elias Youngquist
- Karen Magnuson, editor and vice president at the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y., by Julia Benson
- Buck Mahoney, sports editor at the Kearney Hub, by Sam Peshek
- Carrie Malek-Madani, communications coordinator for the Lied Center for Performing Arts, by Amy Svoboda
- Jamie May, senior associate editor, BEEF Magazine, by Mollie Wilken
- Don McCabe, editor, Nebraska Farmer, by Melissa Keyes
- Sarah McCallister, copy editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Michael Stanek
- Pat McFadden, Page 1 editor, St. Paul Pioneer Press, by Frannie Sprouls
- Meg McGuire, public relations manager at Charming Charlie, by Molly Deaver
- Terry McHale, California lobbyist and editor, by Michelle Baker
- Terry McKeighan, news editor, Fremont Tribune, by Madison Bell
- Bridget McQuillan, content market coordinator at FlyWheel, by Anna Rosenlof
- Micah Mertes, online entertainment editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Annie Bohling
- Ben Meyerson, news editor, Sun-Times Media Group, by Cara Snower
- Terry Miles, co-owner, Frontier and Holt County Independent, by Adam Pribil
- Chad Millman, editor-in-chief of ESPN The Magazine, by Haley Whisennand
- Elisabeth Mistretta,news editor, Sun-Times Media Group, by Cara Snower
- Scott Monserud, sports editor, Denver Post, by Crystal Zamora
- David Moore, executive creative director, Thought District, by Elise Genaidy
- Alan Mores, co-publisher of Harlan Tribune, by Chelsea Musfedlt
- Lyle Muller, executive director of the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, by Andrew Ward
- Carrie Naylor, publisher of Bertrand Herald, by Jeff Renken
- Dawn Needham, deputy news editor, The Detroit News, by Paige Cornwell
- Christopher Nelson, road test editor, Automobile magazine, by Alexander Hall
- Katie Nieland, graphic designer, Chicago Tribune, by Kaitlyn Nelsen
- Andrew Norman, co-founder, director and editor of Hear Nebraska, by Erika Kime
- Brian Norton, online sports editor, Omaha World-Herald, by James Voboril
- Katie Novak, news editor, Burt County Plaindealer, by Jacob Bryant
- Max Ortiz, multimedia producer, The Detroit News, by Emily Walkenhorst
- Crystal Owens, assistant editor, Loudoun Times-Mirror, by Emily Rust
- Jacob Padilla, editor, NebHHSSports.com, by Carter Donahue
- Kaela Paseka, creative director, Duncan Aviation, by Megan Engel
- Amy Palser, managing editor, Hastings Tribune, by Chloe Gibson
- Megan Paolone, head copy editor, BuzzFeed, by Hannah Trull
- Kate Parry, assistant managing editor, Minneapolis Star Tribune, by Lani Hanson
- Haylee Pearl, copy editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Paige Ourada
- Linda Persigehl, managing editor of Omaha Publications, by Kylie Morrison-Sloat
- Linda Persigehl, former managing editor, Omaha Magazine, by Michaela Noble
- Ron Petak, executive editor, Suburban Newspapers, by Elissa Kroeger
- Courtney Pitts-Mattern, copy editor at Omaha World-Herald, by Alissa Shanahan
- Zach Pluhacek, online editor, Lincoln Journal Star, by Emily Walkenhorst
- Nick Piastowski, assistant sports editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Connor Schuessler
- Scott Poese, station manager, KBRX in O’Neill, Neb., by Marc Zakrzewski
- R.J. Post, assistant managing editor, Grand Island Independent, by Jacy Marmaduke
- Noah Prestwich, associate editor at ClickHole, by Nick Kuklinski
- Heather Price, copy editor/page designer, Lincoln Journal Star, by Bethany Schmidt
- Tomari Quinn, editor and director of audience development at Topeka Capital-Journal, by Jordan Huesers
- Sue Ramsett, news director for KOLN/KGIN 10-11, by Zach Revense
- Jennifer Ramundt, copy chief and assistant managing editor at Meredith Corp., by Lizzie Moran
- Anne Raup, photo editor, Anchorage Daily News, by Kaylee Everlee
- Andy Raun, regional editor, Hastings Tribune, by Daniel Buhrman
- Lisa Reid, field editor of Showtimes Jr. Livestock Magazine, by Samantha Schneider
- Erin Reynolds, project and brand manager, Archrival, by Jonathan Crutchfield
- Guy Reynolds, Willa Cather scholarly edition books editor, by Weston Poor
- Christine Ricciardi, copy editor, GuideLive, by Alli Lorensen
- Bill Rischmueller , operator of Wakefield Republican, by Daniel Vanderveen
- Mary Lou Rodgers, editor, Douglas County Post-Gazette, by Sarah Vogel
- Linda Rosenberg, director of copy editing at Penguin books, by Morgan Spiehs
- Corey Russman, editor at Sandhills Publishing, by Julia Peterson
- Burt Rutherford, senior editor, BEEF Magazine, by Valerie Kesterson
- Katie Sands, vice president and account director at Swanson Russell, by Maddie Stuart
- Deb Shanahan, Money editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Michael Bishop
- Kayla Schlechter, field communications manager for POET, by Miranda Broin
- Nicole Schmoll, freelance copywriter, by Haley E. Barber
- John Schreier, managing editor at The Daily Nonpareil in Council Bluffs, Iowa, by Hannah Pachunka
- Dave Schroeder, news director, KRVN, by Bryce Doeschot
- Gary Schwab, senior sports editor, Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News & Observer, by Gage Peake
- Mark Schwaninger, L magazine in Lincoln, Neb., by Kayla Stauffer
- Brien Seifferlein, video editor, NET Nebraska, by Will Stott
- Kevin Selders, associate editor, Ascend Integrated Media, by Joe Thiesfeld
- Lew Serviss, staff editor, The New York Times, by Carrie Niemeier
- Howard Sinker, digital sports editor, Minneapolis Star Tribune, by Josh Skluzacek
- Amber Smith, news producer at KOLN-KGIN 10/11, by Lindsey Berning
- Patrick Smith, online editor at Omaha World-Herald, by Annie Pigaga
- Dave Stagg, owner and editor, HM Magazine, by Ben Rickaby
- Chip Souza, sports editor of the Northwest Arkansas Times, by Robby Korth
- Larry Sparks, a former online editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Kyle Cummings
- Chris Spurlock, graphics editor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, by Anna English
- Philippa Stasiuk, content developer at Resort Lifestyle Communities, by Matt Balascak
- Christine Steele, senior copy editor, The Capital Group Companies, by Gabbi Nicole
- Kathy Steinauer Smith, community investment manager at Woods Charitable Fund, by Griffith Swidler
- Haley Steinkuhler, media specialist, Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources, by Emily Long
- Hilary Stohs-Krause, multimedia reporter and online editor, NET, by Margaret Baker
- Colleen Stoxen, assistant managing editor for Page One, Minneapolis Star Tribune, by Angela Hensel
- Ginger Stringer, Web editor for the Columbia Daily Tribune in Columbia, Mo., by Demetria Stephens
- Tim Summers, graphics editor, The Detroit News by Mikala Kolander
- Jenny Sundberg, brand communications manager at Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, by Jolene Dreier
- Marissa Tankersley, editor of Drive, by Amanda Schutz
- Rob Taylor, sports acquisition editor, University of Nebraska Press, by Libby Mason
- Zach Tegler, sports copy editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Matt Jensen
- Ryan Terrell, news editor, Suburban Life, by Margaret Sorce
- John Teti, senior editor at the A.V. Club, by Drew Preston
- Tyler Thomas, owner and writer of the blog Nebraska Foodie, by Lauren Grace Bejot
- Emily Thornburg, communications director for Nebraska Corn Board, by Morgan Zumpfe
- Michael Todd, managing editor, Hear Nebraska, by Matthew Masin
- Mike Vandermause, sports editor and columnist at the Green Bay Press Gazette, by John Howell
- Ben Vankat, online editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Anna Gronewold
- Susan Veidt, president U.S. Central Region of FleishmanHillard, by Nicole Emanuel
- Brandon Vogel, managing editor at Hail Varsity, by Sarah Frey
- Krista Vogel, account manager, Hurrdat Social Media, by Sherene Al-Turk
- Job Vigil, managing editor of the North Platte Telegraph, by Cade McFadden
- Curt Wagner, features editor, RedEye, by Ally Phillips
- Kent Warneke, editor, Norfolk Daily News, by Michael Menish
- Tim Weber, sports copy editor, Lincoln Journal Star, by Josh Nedved
- MaryJo Webster, data editor, Minneapolis Star Tribune, by Aidan Connolly
- Darrell Wellman, managing editor, Nemaha County Herald, by Thomas Shelly
- Sandra Wendel, owner Write On, Inc., by Michaela Odens
- Metta West, copy editor, Meredith Corp., by Cristina Woodworth
- Kevin Wilkins, editor, of Skateboard Mag, by James Pace-Cornsilk
- David Williams, editor Omaha magazine, by Jillian Humphries
- Melanie Wilkinson, news editor, York News Times, by Kelsey Baldridge
- Bill Windler, sports editor, Milwaukee Journal Star, by Jake Sueflohn
- Connie White, state government editor, Omaha World-Herald, by Jaime Melton
- Mark Zeligman, assistant sports editor, Kansas City Star, by Chris Heady
- David Zenlea, associate editor, Automobile magazine, by Alexander Hall
- Sara Ziegler, entertainment editor at Omaha World-Herald, by Maranda Louglin
- Chuck Zimmerman, founder, ZimmComm New Media LLC, by Kristi Block
- Joeth Zucco, senior project editor, University of Nebraska Press, by Jordan Kranse
Alternative Press is a monthly music magazine in Cleveland. Editor-in-Chief Jason Pettigrew got his start at Alternative Press when at a concert he picked up a copy of the then-free magazine and saw that the founder, Mike Shea, wrote a review on musician Peter Murphy.
A few days after the show, Pettigrew called Shea asking him why he was disrespecting Murphy. Shea responded with: “Well you think you can do better?” Pettigrew then started work at Alternative Press doing freelance writing.
He did mostly album reviews and the occasional feature until 1992 when the senior editor left and Pettigrew was promoted to editor-in-chief.
In a phone interview, Pettigrew gave future journalists his advice and opinion on the future of Alternative Press.
Before Pettigrew worked at Alternative Press, he worked as a record store clerk. Although he went to school at the University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg and majored in English, he was always interested in music journalism.
“I’ve always been interested in how bands work, but I don’t play anything. There’s this saying: ‘Pettigrew should go learn an instrument and start a band, but the best thing he knows how to play is the phonograph,’” Pettigrew said.
In the ever-changing world of journalism, many things have changed at Alternative Press since Pettigrew became editor.
“There’s now a regular 24/7 news cycle, which has changed everything. You can’t break a lot of news anymore because the Internet is so immediate. Just saying ‘Band has new album’ isn’t a good story angle anymore. The album will leak and you’ll have to find something to talk about because readers won’t care about your opinion when they’ve already heard the album,” Pettigrew said.
There are some things that will never change in the magazine industry, he said.
“There’s still people who want to control every aspect of what you do whether it be a manager, record label, or even a band member trying to make everything pretty for themselves and ignoring when something bad or questionable or perceived as career-destroying happens. Control is always an issue that plagues this line of business and that won’t ever change,” Pettigrew said.
Social media has had a huge effect on how journalism has evolved since the invention of the Internet. Social media can be an important tool for journalists to help get an audience, get traffic to their website and promote their work.
“You’d be surprised at how many old-school newspaper reporters recoiled at the thought of getting a Twitter or Facebook account. It’s very important because a lot of writers and editors want to see their content. You want to get the word out on what you’re working on and get attention to it. You need to create a personality so people know where to go to,” Pettigrew said.
The 24/7 news cycle has changed the way that journalists work and has changed the way the newsrooms work.
“The 24/7 news cycle has made people exhausted. It requires constant updates because the stories aren’t set in stone. There’s constant updates and frequent updates, which makes a lot more room for error than ever before. You have to be on your toes more than ever before,” Pettigrew said.
With that 24/7 news cycle, there’s also been an effect on accuracy.
“Because of the Internet, there’s been a rise of citizen journalists. They’re just heavy on opinion and short on facts, but I guess it’s just the Internet. The Internet is a great democratizing thing where everyone can talk, but everyone talks at the same time and it’s just static. There needs to be some sort of voice of reason. I can’t think of anything more inept than a series of comments after a YouTube video,” Pettigrew said.
With many publications switching mainly to digital and having a harder time getting funding for print, one wonders if the future of Alternative Press is digital.
“We get a lot of subscribers that like the tangible thing. I think there’s people who collect the magazines and like the cool pictures. Magazines and comic books are still that type of thing that you want in your hands. There are those people that will scan all the pages to put up on the Internet for everyone to see. I think it will be interesting to see what will happen next. There is a possibility we could go exclusively digital, but I think there’s still the people that like the tangible thing. It’s a hard one to call,” Pettigrew said.
Pettigrew had this advice for future journalists and editors.
“Think about the level of commitment you want to give to what you do. Maybe you’re like, ‘Well, I want to give 50 or 20 percent of my life to this.’ Now think about the level of commitment you can manage if you gave twice that amount. The 24/7 news cycle now allows you to work 17 hours a day. If something happens at 3 a.m., you have to be ready to go,” Pettigrew said. “If you genuinely feel you can dedicate more than a normal job would allow you to then by all means do it, but be prepared because it is 24/7 now.”
By Madison Nabity
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
A job title in the newsroom is not always as it seems. No one knows this better than Jeff Bundy, the director of photography at the Omaha World-Herald. His responsibilities on the job are constantly changing.
Bundy oversees the paper’s use of photographs, its online and radio operations, and its video production. He even spends time on the corporate side of the business, often dealing with the paper’s budget and finances.
With so much on his plate, Bundy rarely has time to take pictures of his own anymore. Yet, photography remains something that has sparked his curiosity since he developed photos in his parents’ dark room in the basement of his childhood home.
“I was interested in photography at a very young age,” Bundy said in a phone interview. “I was shooting pictures when I was in grade school, and throughout high school.”
As a student at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, he worked as a freelance photographer for the Associated Press while majoring in English and world religion. His career at the Omaha World-Herald began in February 1990, three years before he had graduated from college.
Through the years, Bundy’s role as the director of photography has changed with the growing online presence of the World-Herald. These days, he is in charge of 12 visual journalists, who deal with both video and photographs for the World-Herald. Bundy takes pride in helping them as journalists in a variety of ways. He delegates both in-state and out-of-state assignments, gives constructive criticism and advice, and organizes meetings to keep everyone on the same page.
“There’s a lot of hours, but it is all so that I can put my staff in the best possible situations to make great photos for the paper,” Bundy said. “People have strengths and weaknesses and you need to play people’s strengths and put them in situations where they can succeed and there are opportunities to learn.”
He also constantly looks to challenge his journalists, sometimes going out of his way to do so.
“If you never challenge people professionally, they will never get better and be happy with their craft,” Bundy said. “I challenge them by making them go out of their comfort zone.”
Bundy does all he can to help his staff be the best they can be. He talks them through assignments and after they have finished the assignment he will touch base to see what happened and whether the assignment met the expectations that he wanted.
“When you are talking through with the person that was on the assignment, it’s not why didn’t you do this, it is what could we have done to make the situation better,” Bundy said.
Despite a job that often keeps him busy for 10 hours a day, he still finds time to compete with his three Labradors in the American Kennel Club hunt tests and field trials. His favorite thing to hunt with his Labradors is waterfowl, both ducks and geese.
“You sit in a blind with your friends and you visit, watch the sun come up and listen to the water run by, and let your brain relax,” Bundy said.
And for a man as busy as Bundy, that might be exactly what he needs after a hectic week in the newsroom.
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.”
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.
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.
By Caitlin Hassler University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Perfection, after all, is what she is after, whether it is in the proposals for new business, presentations for clients or the marketing materials created by her staff. Fastenau is always on the lookout for mistakes and slip-ups.
Fastenau is the principal of Anthology Marketing Group, the largest communications company in Hawaii. Anthology Marketing Group has a large client list, including Microsoft, Marriott and Bank of Hawaii.
Fastenau didn’t start her career in the advertising business, but began as a reporter. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1980, the Bertrand, Neb., native’s first job was as a reporter for the Lafayette (Indiana) Journal & Courier, a Gannett newspaper. She then moved into marketing positions, first at the Lafayette paper and then at the Marin Independent, another Gannett paper in Marin County, Calif.
In 1989, she moved to Hawaii, where she began her career at Anthology. In 1996, she received a master’s in business administration from the University of Hawaii. Then she launched the interactive division of Anthology and became a partner.
Editing has helped her achieve perfection in her industry.
“One of the reasons that people have told us many times why we actually get new business is because of our proposals,” she said. At first, she was perplexed by the comments, but then she looked at the proposals from the competing agencies.
“They just are edited horribly, and it doesn’t inspire confidence,” she said.
Fastenau hires good editors and writers. “There’s always going to be a need for someone who is awesome with grammar,” she said. But it’s more than just the grammar rules. It’s about the logic. And by logic, she means that the writing has to make sense to everyone.
Writers and editors also need to be conscious about using jargon.
Eliminating jargon helped Anthology land a big client, she said. Anthology was working with another agency to land the account, but when Fastenau saw the proposal, she was shocked.
“It was so filled with jargon that it didn’t make sense. And I understood the jargon,” she said.
She believes that if she had not edited out the tech jargon in the proposal, Anthology and the other firm would not have landed the national client.
Although Fastenau is always reaching for perfection, she has missed the mark. Once or twice.
There was a case where the client went with another agency. Fastenau called the client to ask why. The client replied that they needed a community college and Anthology gave them Harvard.
“That was an editing lesson for me — to know my audience,” she said.
The Internet has allowed for a vast growth in communications, including advertising to diverse audiences. But the Internet has also changed how reporters and advertisers need to view their audiences.
“If you’re writing for a newspaper today, it’s going to be on the Internet and your audience could be anybody,” she said.
The communications industry has to be conscious of multicultural audiences. For example, Fastenau worked on a campaign for a Japanese firm. The campaign featured a play on words that non-native English speakers did not understand.
“Language is so critical, but it has to be clear,” she said.
With the flashing lure of technology, people are no longer taking the time to pay attention to the intricate details of an ad. The old-style play on words has to be substituted for a more direct and clear approach, she said.
Fastenau also thinks that the Internet is creating a new field for editors.
“I think that the big thing that editing is a component of is something I call information design,” she said. Information design is the combination of content creation and content curation, she explained.
“There are so many sources of content, there has got to be somebody, an editor, to archive it all.” This information designer would archive, organize and edit content on the Internet. For example, if the information designer was archiving content for a business, he or she would archive it in a manner that it matches company policy.
Regardless of changes in the editing field, perfection remains essential in the field of communications, she stressed. If there is a typo in an ad in Vogue or a mistake in The New York Times, the credibility of those publications drops, despite their prestige. The same can be said about the Internet.
“Any time you’re editing anything on the Internet, the minute there is a typo, your credibility diminishes,” she said. “In the agency business, they pay us to be perfect.”
By Emily Taylor
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Dirt Road Daughters Magazine was created because of Twitter.
On the social networking site, Thea Driesbach met a group of like-minded woman, who shared a passion for a Western lifestyle, and the idea of a publication was hatched. Its website describes the publication this way: “It’s a new fashion and lifestyle publication for today’s daring generation of country girls currently enabling a sisterhood of cowgirl spirit & dirt road souls.”
Driesbach, who lives in New Mexico, manages to balance her full-time job as a CEO of a non-profit organization, ranching and editing the magazine. It’s published online and has a quarterly print edition. Her passion for Western life has led to a successful magazine and new friendships across the country as well.
In an email interview, she answered questions about her life, career and hobbies.
Q. Where did you attend college and what was your major?
A. I attended the University of Idaho and have two bachelor’s of science (degrees), the first in 2001 in business with a major in accounting and the second in 2003 in communications with a major in journalism and mass communications.
Q. How did you become interested in journalism?
A. I have always loved magazines and have a bachelor’s degree in journalism so it seemed like a great idea to start a magazine as a side project with some like-minded women.
Q. What other jobs have you had?
A. I am currently the CEO of a nonprofit organization; prior to that I worked with the New Mexico State Fair.
Q. Who thought of the idea of creating this magazine and why?
A. A few cowgirls, I had only met on Twitter, and myself came up with the idea for DRDM. We wanted to create a publication that would foster a sisterhood of women like us – women living a rural/Western/agricultural life in a modern world.
Q. Could you give me a brief overview of your typical day in your job?
A. I work on DRDM on the evenings and weekends when I’m not at my “real” full-time job.
Q. How do you balance your other job along with this job?
A. It’s rough. I try to set aside dedicated time for DRDM work on weekday evenings and on the weekend. I try and make it a specific time so that it doesn’t eat too much into my personal life. I also don’t do DRDM work while at my full-time job. I may update Facebook or answer an email, but while I’m at my full-time job, my full focus needs to be there.
Q. What role does editing play in your job?
A. The editor team works together to read and edit the submissions our contributors provide. We find the best strategy is for several people to read each submission to catch any typos and ensure the voice of the piece fits well with the publication as a whole.
Q. What is the most difficult part of editing for you?
A. Editing an article in a way that makes it clear and concise, but doesn’t alter the voice of the writer in any way is the most difficult part of editing in my experience.
Q. What is the worst part of your job?
A. It is high stress meeting the deadlines.
Q. What is one of your perks of having your job?
A. I love having the opportunity to work (with) talented women from across the country that I otherwise probably wouldn’t get to know.
Q. What is something that makes you look forward to this job?
A. I love getting the feedback from our readers when we complete a new issue and they love it as much as we do.
Q. Do you have a life outside of the office?
A. I do! I spend a lot of time working on the ranch, riding my horses and enjoying my time outside of the office.
Q. What advice do you have for students who want to have a similar job?
A. For those interested in really working in the industry I would recommend not taking the road I have! There has been a steep learning curve in starting a publication with no industry background. It’s been a learning experience and a ton of fun, but we are all working on this as a side project and it’s not our full-time career.
Q. What is the most interesting thing that has happened to you because of your job?
A. I had the opportunity to attend the Dallas Market this spring along with another member of the editorial team. It was special to get a sneak peek at all the newest Western fashion before it ever hit the stores.
Q. What is the most enjoyable part of editing for you?
A. The most enjoyable part of editing would have to be having the opportunity to feel like I am meeting new friends through their articles and columns.
Q. How do you feel about the current trend of going away from print production and more Web-based when it comes to publications?
A.I love it! I feel like print publications will always be viable because reading a magazine is an experience. I love the feel of glossy pages and being able to pull out articles and photos and put them up to inspire me. At the same time, having the opportunity to deepen the relationship we have with our readers makes online engagement essential. We can share more, get feedback and truly focus on our mission to foster a sisterhood of cowgirl spirit and dirt road souls.
Q. Who is your idol and why?
A. I had an amazing mentor while working at the New Mexico State Fair. She had handled the marketing and sponsorship for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta for many, many years. She was so confident and sure of herself, and with good reason. She was a wealth of knowledge and I learned a lot from her!
A quick note about Dirt Road Daughters Magazine: DRDM is a magazine that is a side project developed and coordinated by a group of women with a common interest in the western/rural lifestyle and building a community around that sisterhood. None of the writers or editorial team are paid for their work. All revenue generated from advertising or subscription goes into printing and promotion of the publication.