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Omaha Magazine

Legacy: Omaha Publications

Jul 21, 2023 01:54PM ● By Kara Schweiss
legacy omaha magazine

Photo by Bill Sitzmann.

Omaha Magazine is proud and grateful to be celebrating its 40th anniversary as Omaha’s premier source of local, people-driven journalism.

It’s about the community at large—the artists, the businesspeople, the philanthropists, the families, and everyone that calls Omaha home. Omaha Magazine publisher Todd Lemke truly believes in this representation, which is why he made the company motto, “It’s About All of Us.”

The magazine celebrates 40 years of production in 2023. Two years after graduating from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln with a degree in journalism, Lemke entered the local media sphere with the publication of a magazine called Omaha Today and hasn’t looked back since.

In 1987, Lemke purchased a monthly titled Our City, which listed local places to shop, eat, and be entertained—an ideal publication to acquaint visitors with Omaha that quickly became a staple in hotels throughout the metro.

There has been an Omaha Magazine in the area since 1890, but in 1989 the registration on the name lapsed, and Lemke seized the opportunity to grab the title while merging his two
publications under one banner.

“We are a paid/requested mailed publication that spans all ages and economic brackets,” Lemke explained. “What binds our reader is the connection with, and love for, Omaha.”

According to a recent audit, education level is another defining factor—regardless of age.

“We are a read, not a flip. We’re a rare combination of informative, entertaining material, and great photography. Because of that, we have a highly educated reader,” Lemke continued.

“79% of our readers attended college, with 97% fairly evenly spread between 25 and 74 years of age—between print and digital flip books, nearly 220,000 readers enjoy Omaha Magazine per issue.”

Along the way, the family-owned company has retained a family-friendly atmosphere. At least four employees have held the Lemke surname—brother Tyler, niece Sarah, nephew Alex, and Todd’s mother, Gwen. Many children of its staff members have held summer jobs or internships over the years, with some even becoming full-time employees.

Omaha firefighter Greg Eckstrom remembers his 2005 editorial internship fondly:

“I really enjoyed my internship there and everyone that worked at O Mag...I learned a lot,” Eckstrom recalled. “I accidentally fell into firefighting through journalism, so I still do a bit of writing on the side—I was a small-town newspaper editor and in trying to find the best ways to get news leads, I joined the local volunteer fire department and ended up switching fields entirely! I ran our union’s local magazine for a couple years. I still help out with our department’s fire history magazine a bit. And like every recovering journalist, I’m trying to get a book out of me and on paper!

“I still read Omaha Magazine,” he added. “You guys have consistently put out a fantastic publication for longer than most national magazines have even existed! Keep up the great work!”
Today, nearly 20 employees adhere to the company’s core values of community, respect, passion, integrity, creativity, and excellence—driven by the desire to tell the best stories Omaha has to offer.

The magazine has earned numerous accolades, including the 2017 ‘Magazine Photographer of the Year’ award, won by photographer Bill Sitzmann, and the coveted ‘Magazine of the Year’ award in 2018 from Tulsa’s regional Great Plains Journalism Awards under the direction of then-executive editor Doug Meigs. More recently, managing editor Julius Fredrick won Great Plains’ 2020 award for ‘Lifestyle Writing’ for his piece on Omaha’s Japanese sister city, “From Shizuoka with Love,” and creative director Matt Wieczorek, along with Sitzmann and Sarah Lemke, brought home the ‘Magazine Cover’ award for “A Fatal Cut: The Human Cost of Omaha’s Fentanyl Flood” in 2023.

“But Omaha Magazine isn’t complacent with its past successes, we’re always looking toward the future,” Lemke noted.

While print remains at the heart of Omaha Publications, the company continues to evolve with the times, offering a suite of both traditional and digital options for savvy advertisers, including: a robust and engaged web audience, sizable email lists, custom publications, and targeted programmatic campaigns. And earlier this year, Omaha Magazine began partnering with Radio Talking Book Service to provide audio versions of our stories. To listen, click on the link on the online table of contents page. 

“Recently, we launched Omaha Content Studio, which rolled out book publishing,” Lemke announced, marking yet another exciting pivot for Omaha Magazine. “My professional motto is: ‘Good, Better, Best; Never let it Rest.”

Omaha Magazine
5921 S. 118th Cir.
OMAHA, NE  68137

This article originally appeared in the August/September 2023 issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  
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