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Newspaper or magazine editor

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Newspaper and magazine editors manage the style and content of printed publications.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £30,000 to £80,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need a background in journalism and usually have relevant qualifications and work experience.

You’ll also need a good understanding of the newspaper and magazine industries.

You could build up your publishing experience by starting as a reporter or journalist.

The National Council for the Training of Journalists and the Professional Publishers Association have more information on journalism and becoming a newspaper or magazine editor.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • planning, organisational and staff management skills
  • a good command of English with strong writing and IT skills
  • creativity and good visual sense
  • financial skills
  • an eye for detail
  • an understanding of target audiences
  • negotiating and decision-making skills

3. What you'll do

Depending on the publication you work for as an editor, your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • commissioning articles
  • choosing which articles to publish
  • deciding how they’ll be laid out for publishing
  • assessing work sent from freelance journalists, photographers and illustrators
You’ll work with sub-editors, designers, production staff and printers to make sure  publication deadlines are met.

On smaller titles you might help to write and sub-edit.

On larger titles you'll just have editor duties.

You may also look after other areas like budget control, hiring staff and working with advertising and production departments.

4. Salary

Starter: Around £30,000

Experienced: Around £50,000

Highly Experienced: £80,000 or over (national newspaper editor)

As a freelance editor you’ll usually negotiate a set fee or daily rate.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

If you work for a daily or weekly publication you’ll usually work irregular hours, including evenings and weekends. 

If you work for a monthly publication or a specialist trade journal, you’ll usually work normal office hours, but with some overtime leading up to publication deadlines.

Your work will be mainly office-based. You may need to travel to meet clients and reporters.

6. Career path and progression

With experience as a local newspaper editor you could move on to regional and then national publications.

You could become editor-in-chief of a group of newspapers, or magazine publishers.

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Last updated: 11 September 2018