Editor Job Description
Editors plan and revise content that’s published in magazines, books, newspapers, websites, and other publications.
Editors are normally among the most experienced members of a publishing organization. Because of their experience, they are able to suggest stories and headlines that they know will resonate with their publication’s audience. Since the quality of content is what often determines the success of a publication, editors play a crucial role in the success of the company they work for.
In most organizations, editors regularly meet with the writers to develop content ideas. Though many people have input into the content development process, the editor is the one who ultimately decides which ideas should be pursued.
As part of the editorial process, editors have to check their writers’ stories for accuracy. They also look for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors, and suggest ways that each piece could be improved. Editors want their writers to write successful pieces, and it often takes a lot of work to make that happen.
There are many different types of editors, each with their own unique sets of responsibilities. Here are a few of the most common:
Assistant editors are responsible for a single subject. For example, your local newspaper probably has an assistant editor who is responsible for putting together each section of the paper. They report to the executive editor, who is responsible for the paper as a whole.
Executive editors are ultimately responsible for an entire publication, and have the final say as to which stories get included and which stories gets dropped. They are normally also responsible for hiring writers, assistant editors, reporters, and other employees.
Copy editors review copy for spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes. They also suggest ways that a writer could improve their writing for clarity. Some copy editors are responsible fact checking, and sometimes even arrange page layouts.
Work Environment and Schedule
Most editors work for newspapers, magazines, websites, and book publishers. If you want to work in this occupation, don’t limit your job search to just those areas, though. Many other types of organizations hire editors to work in-house and oversee internal content creation.
Though editors work in just about every city in America, most of the jobs in this field are located in major media cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Boston.
Being an editor can be very stressful. Deadlines can bring a lot of pressure, and with today’s 24 hours news cycle, editors may be called to work at any moment to help with a story. In the case of breaking news, editors work under a lot of pressure to fact check and correct a story so it can be published as quickly as possible.
Some editors have to meet deadlines every day (like those who work for newspapers), and others (like those who work for websites) have to meet them even more frequently than that. On the internet, there is normally a huge amount of pressure to break stories before the competition, so these editors live under a sometimes constant state of stress.
Most editors work in an office environment, but it’s becoming increasingly common for them to work remotely and communicate with a team of writers or reporters over the internet.
The majority of editors work full time, and long hours are often required. Working in this occupation can easily lead to fatigue and burnout.
How to Become an Editor
Most employers prefer to hire candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, or journalism, but editors come from many other academic backgrounds as well. Any academic subject that involves a lot of writing (like history or philosophy) can prepare you for a job in this field.
In many cases, editors need to have a specialized knowledge of the field they’re working in. For example, the editor of a computer magazine needs to be familiar with the tech world, while an editor at a fashion magazine needs to be an expert on fashion.
This is not an entry-level occupation, and most employers require significant work experience before they will consider you for an editor position. Many editors start their careers as writers or reporters, and slowly work their way up to an editor position as their careers progress.
If you’re still in school, working for your school’s newspaper is a great way to get relevant experience.
Interning as a writer or reporter is another way to get experience. These internships are commonly offered by newspapers and magazines. If you have the opportunity to get an internship, you should strongly consider doing so. To learn more about the internships available to you, stop by your college’s career center.
There are currently 127,200 editors in the United States, with 3,700 new editor job openings created each year.
Editor jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Editor salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most editors make between $38,600 – $72,300 per year, or $18.58 – $34.78 per hour.