Editors

by Kate Williams

What Editors Do

Editors plan, review, and revise content for publication.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHRV97JDJbw

Work Environment

Most editors work in offices, whether onsite with their employer or from a remote location. The work can be stressful because editors often have tight deadlines.

How to Become an Editor

Computer proficiency and a bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, or English are typically required to become an editor.

Pay

The median annual wage for editors was $61,370 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of editors is projected to decline 7 percent from 2019 to 2029. Despite some job growth in online media, declines in traditional print magazines and newspapers will temper employment growth.

Editors plan, review, and revise content for publication.

Duties

Editors typically do the following:

  • Read content and correct spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors
  • Rewrite text to make it easier for readers to understand
  • Verify facts cited in material for publication
  • Evaluate submissions from writers to decide what to publish
  • Work with writers to help their ideas and stories succeed
  • Develop story and content ideas according to the publication’s style and editorial policy
  • Allocate space for the text, photos, and illustrations that make up a story or content
  • Approve final versions submitted by staff

Editors plan, coordinate, and revise material for publication in books, newspapers, or periodicals or on websites. Editors review story ideas and decide what material will appeal most to readers. During the review process, editors offer comments to improve the product and suggest titles and headlines. In smaller organizations, a single editor may do all the editorial duties or share them with only a few other people.

The following are examples of types of editors:

Assistant editors are responsible for a particular subject, such as local news, international news, feature stories, or sports. Most assistant editors work for newspaper publishers, television broadcasters, magazines, book publishers, or advertising and public relations firms.

Copy editors proofread text for errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling and check for readability, style, and agreement with editorial policy. They suggest revisions, such as changing words and rearranging sentences and paragraphs to improve clarity or accuracy. They also may carry out research, confirm sources, and verify facts, dates, and statistics. In addition, they may arrange page layouts of articles, photographs, and advertising.

Executive editors oversee assistant editors and generally have the final say about which stories are published and how those stories are covered. Executive editors typically hire writers, reporters, and other employees. They also plan budgets and negotiate contracts with freelance writers, who are sometimes called “stringers” in the news industry. Although many executive editors work for newspaper publishers, some work for television broadcasters, magazines, or advertising and public relations firms.

Managing editors typically work for magazines, newspaper publishers, and television broadcasters and are responsible for the daily operations of a news department.

Publication assistants who work for book-publishing houses may read and evaluate manuscripts, proofread uncorrected drafts, and answer questions about published material. Assistants on small newspapers or in smaller media markets may compile articles available from wire services or the Internet, answer phones, and proofread articles.

Editors held about 118,700 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of editors were as follows:

Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers 35%
Self-employed workers 14
Professional, scientific, and technical services 10
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations 9
Other information services 9

Most editors work in offices, whether onsite with their employer or from a remote location. They often use desktop or electronic publishing software, scanners, and other electronic communications equipment.

Jobs are somewhat concentrated in major media and entertainment markets—Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, DC—but improved communications and Internet capabilities are allowing editors to work from a greater variety of locations.

Overseeing and coordinating multiple writing projects simultaneously is common among editors and may lead to stress or fatigue.

Self-employed editors face the added pressures of finding work on an ongoing basis and continually adjusting to new work environments.

Work Schedules

Most editors work full time, and their schedules are generally determined by production deadlines and type of editorial position. Editors typically work in busy offices and have to deal with production deadline pressures and the stresses of ensuring that the information they publish is correct. As a result, editors often work many hours, especially at those times leading up to a publication deadline. These work hours can be even more frequent when an editor is working on digital material for the Internet or for a live broadcast.

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of editors.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2019

Reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts

Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts

Reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts inform the public about news and events.

Bachelor’s degree $46,270

Technical Writers

Technical writers prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily.

Bachelor’s degree $72,850

Writers and authors

Writers and Authors

Writers and authors develop written content for various types of media.

Bachelor’s degree $63,200

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers plan programs to generate interest in products or services.

Bachelor’s degree $135,900

Desktop Publishers

Desktop publishers use computer software to design page layouts for items that are printed or published online.

Associate’s degree $45,390

For more information about editors, visit

American Copy Editors Society

American Society of Magazine Editors

Association of Alternative Newsmedia

Radio Television Digital News Association

Related BLS articles

Career Outlook: Careers for people who are creative

O*NET

Editors


Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Editors,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/editors.htm (visited ).


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