By Molly Meister
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Sarah Hoffman, 25, is determined to go beyond the lens and hopes to produce more than just pretty pictures.
For Hoffman, being a photojournalist is about more than just taking pictures. It's about giving back to the community and creating reactions.
“Being able to impact people through photography is very rewarding,” said Hoffman in a phone interview when asked what she loves about photojournalism.
Hoffman discovered a passion for visual communications at a young age and later found that photojournalism was the perfect way to combine all of her skills and interests. For Hoffman, it is all about staying interested and staying on her toes. She says that being a photojournalist provides her with the variety that she needs to never get bored. Now a full-time staff photographer for the Omaha World-Herald, Hoffman has the chance do to what she loves everyday.
“Everyday at the World-Herald is full of surprises and every assignment is always different. There is no typical day for me,” said Hoffman.
Hoffman works on one to three different assignments a day, some being longer and more interesting than others. In the past year, Hoffman has spent more time producing video rather than photos, which she says can be more challenging. Hoffman says that working on longer more in-depth projects is more rewarding and interesting and is what she is passionate about. Some of the projects assigned to her can last multiple days, while some take less than an hour.
“The longer the project, the more interested and involved I get, which is what I like most about my job,” she said.
While at the University of Missouri, Hoffman developed the skills to become a successful photographer. With photography and journalism skills, Hoffman is able to self edit all of her content, which has become extremely important now that the World-Herald does not have staff editors.
Before landing a job at the World-Herald, Hoffman held several other internships and posts.
Upon graduating from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in political science in 2013, Hoffman worked as the executive producer on the My Life, My Town multimedia project where she managed a group of graduate students who documented the lives of rural teens in Missouri between 2012 and 2013. She later interned in Dallas as a photographer for The Dallas Morning News in 2014. Hoffman also worked at the Jefferson City News Tribune, The Maneater, a student newspaper, and The Columbia Missourian.
Hoffman has won awards for her work. She placed third in the Hearst Journalism Awards National Championship for multimedia in the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 competition. In the College Photographer of the Year contest, she was awarded bronze in Large Group Multimedia and an Award of Excellence in Solo Journalist Multimedia Story or Essay.
Although Hoffman has had ample opportunities and has been successful thus far in her career as a photojournalist, she has not gone without challenges. Problem solving on the spot has become an important part of Hoffman’s everyday work.
“The most challenging part about being a photojournalist is dealing with the pressure to take interesting and high-quality photos. Sometimes the lighting is bad and the story just isn’t that interesting, which makes my job hard,” said Hoffman.
However, above all else, the most important part about being a photojournalist in her eyes is providing a visual learning experience for readers. Hoffman believes that everyone learns differently and that it is empowering to help people learn through her work at the World-Herald.
“As a person that gets to see what is happening first hand out in the world, it is important to be an eyewitness to history,” said Hoffman.
Hoffman has found joy in her photography career and continues to share her work not only through the World-Herald but through her self maintained blog and website where she keeps viewers and fans updated with her latest assignments and projects.
A note about the content: This site showcases the final projects of University of Nebraska-Lincoln editing students. Each semester, students pick a journalist or communications professional to profile. This is their work.
This is me. I run this site.