Editors plan, coordinate, review and edit content such as articles, blog posts, manuscripts, speeches, reports, business plans and proposals for all sorts of media, including books, newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs and emails, as well as movies, TV shows, commercials, podcasts and radio programmes. They work with writers to ensure copy is clear, concise, on-brand and legally compliant.
Duties and responsibilities
- Correct grammar, spelling and punctuation errors
- Rewrite text to make it easier for readers to understand
- Research and verify facts, dates and statistics cited in material for publication
- Edit content according to a publication’s style, editorial policy and publishing requirements
- Plan space for illustrations and photos
- Check for legal issues such as libel or breach of copyright
- Commission stories and features from in-house writers or freelancers
- Interview, hire and manage the editorial team
- Liaise with the design, production and marketing teams
- Attend relevant events, fairs and conferences
Skills and knowledge
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS
Long hours to meet production deadlines
Most editors work in an office environment, though working from home is increasingly becoming common.
They usually work regular business hours but may have to work long hours and on weekends to meet deadlines and when coordinating multiple projects.
Work schedules for self-employed editors are usually much more flexible, although you may often have to work irregular hours to correspond with international clients in different time zones.
The pressures of strict deadlines and multitasking can be challenging and often lead to severe stress and fatigue. Self-employed editors also have to deal with the added demands of finding work on an ongoing basis.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
Bachelor’s degree in English or related field
Most employers generally prefer candidates with a tertiary education in an area such as English, communications, journalism, marketing or public relations. If you would like to work in a specialist area, for example in fashion or law, employers will prefer you to hold a subject-related degree.
That said, it is possible to become an editor without formal education, but you will typically need to demonstrate some prior work experience which you can gain through volunteering or an internship.
You could also complete a specialist training course with a professional body.
Editors typically start their careers as editorial assistants or writers. With experience, they progress to senior editor, team manager and then editor-in-chief.
Some editors specialise in certain types of editing, such as developmental editing or proofreading, while others specialise in certain genres, such as academic editing or novel editing.
Many editors choose to become freelancers or set up their own print or digital publication.