School of Journalism and New Media

The University of Mississippi

Alumni Spotlight: Steve Bailey

Posted on: January 10th, 2011 by alysia

Steve Bailey started his journalism career at the long-gone Jackson Daily News while still in high school. He worked an overnight shift two times a week to compile statewide high school basketball agate for the sports section. At Ole Miss, he worked on the Daily Mississippian and lost the spring 1971 election for editor. During his college years, he worked two summers editing the news pages of the Greenwood Commonwealth and worked there for another eight months between Ole Miss, from which he graduated in December 1972, and graduate school at Ohio State, where he earned a masters degree in August 1974.

Steve decided early on that he enjoyed editing. He liked working with words, trying to figure out the most concise and clear ways to get information to the reader. He also enjoyed newspaper production — photo editing, page design, writing headlines, etc.

In September of 1974 he began work as an assistant city editor at the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper in Florida, and stayed there about 18 months before moving to the Clearwater (Fla.) Sun (another paper that no longer exists) where he was state editor. That lasted a couple of years — until he and his first wife, also a journalist, decided to spend up to a year traveling around the United States. They had made it to Seattle when car trouble stranded them and forced them to look for work. Steve ended up as weekend editor of the Elgin, Ill., Courier News, the last of the small dailies for which he would work.

After almost two years at the Courier News, Steve landed a short-lived job at the Chicago Sun-Times, where, among other things, he edited and wrote headlines for Roger Ebert’s movie reviews. He was very proud that his headlines often ended up quoted in movie ads rather than Roger’s own words. That job, however, lasted only about five months because Steve’s wife accepted a job with the Washington Post, prompting a move to the East Coast.

Steve found a job at the Baltimore News American (another now-dead paper — are you noticing a trend?) and stayed there four years, becoming executive news editor before moving to the much more stable Baltimore Sun as head of the features copy desk. He was at the Sun from 1984 to 1990, when he and his family, which by now included a daughter and a son, moved to Paris, where both kids started school and where Steve and his wife worked at the International Herald Tribune, an English-language newspaper that has not yet gone out of business. His wife didn’t like the ex-pat life, so after a mere 18 months, they returned to the United States, where they both landed at the New York Times.

Steve stayed at the Times 15 years, moving from the national news copy desk to the National Edition to the Travel section, where he was chief of the desk. He also did some travel writing. During the years at the Times, Steve divorced and remarried — this time someone from the advertising side of print media. His wife, Jane, is the former VP for corporate marketing information at Time Inc. By 2007, Steve and Jane had had enough of New York. Steve’s kids were either away at college or about to be, so Steve and Jane made a radical move to the rural Eastern Shore of Maryland, where they built a house and started new lives. Jane is now a certified financial advisor. Steve does freelance writing for a variety of publications (Beer Connoisseur magazine is a favorite because of the research involved) and teaches communications and journalism courses at Salisbury University.

They continue to enjoy travel, which Steve, discusses on his blog, www.touristfirst.blogspot.com. He maintains another web site, www.stevebailey.us, to promote his freelance work.