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Become A Contributing Editor

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Working As A Contributing Editor

  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $62,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Contributing Editor Do

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 using standard reference sources
  • 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
  • Approve final versions submitted by staff

Editors plan, coordinate, and revise material for publication in books, newspapers, magazines, or 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 perform all of the editorial duties or share them with only a few other people.

The following are examples of types of editors:

Copy editors review 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 for writers, and verify facts, dates, and statistics. In addition, they may arrange page layouts of articles, photographs, and advertising.

Publication assistants who work for book-publishing houses may read and evaluate manuscripts submitted by freelance writers, 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.

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.

Executive editors oversee assistant editors and generally have the final say about what stories are published and how they 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.

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How To Become A Contributing Editor

A bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, or English, combined with previous writing and proofreading experience, is typically required to be an editor.

Education

Employers generally prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, or English. They also prefer candidates with mass- or cross-media experience.

Those with other backgrounds who can show strong writing skills also may find jobs as editors. Editors who deal with specific subject matter may need previous related work experience. For example, fashion editors may need expertise in fashion that they gain through formal training or work experience.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Many editors start off as editorial assistants, writers, or reporters.

Those who are particularly skilled at identifying good stories, recognizing writing talent, and interacting with writers may be interested in editing jobs. 

Other Experience

Editors also can gain experience by working on high school and college newspapers, and for magazines, radio and television stations, advertising and publishing companies, or nonprofit organizations. Magazines and newspapers also have internships for students. For example, the American Society of Magazine Editors offers a Magazine Internship Program to qualified full-time students in their junior or senior year of college. Interns may write stories, conduct research and interviews, and gain general publishing experience.

The ability to use computers is necessary for editors to stay in touch with writers and other editors and to work on the increasingly important digital media or online side of a publication. Familiarity with electronic publishing, graphics, Web design, and multimedia production is also important, because more content is being offered online.

Advancement

Some editors hold management positions and must make decisions related to running a business. For them, advancement generally means moving up to publications with larger circulation or greater prestige. Copy editors may move into original writing or substantive editing positions, or become freelancers.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Editors must be creative, curious, and knowledgeable in a broad range of topics. Some editors must regularly come up with interesting story ideas and attention-grabbing headlines.

Detail oriented. One of an editor’s main tasks is to make sure that material is error free and matches the style of a publication.

Good judgment. Editors must decide if certain stories are ethical or if there is enough evidence to report them.

Interpersonal skills. In working with writers, editors must have tact and the ability to guide and encourage them in their work.

Writing skills. Editors must ensure that all written content has correct grammar, punctuation, and syntax. Editors must be able to write clearly and logically.

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Contributing Editor Career Paths

Contributing Editor
Editor Consultant Marketing Manager
Digital Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Editor Owner Marketing Director
Brand Director
10 Yearsyrs
Editor Project Manager Marketing Director
Director Of Digital Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Writer And Editor Executive Assistant Property Manager
Assistant Director, Communications
5 Yearsyrs
Writer And Editor Public Relations Specialist Public Relations Manager
Director, Corporate Communications
10 Yearsyrs
Writer And Editor Technical Writer Web Developer
Web Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Managing Editor Project Manager Marketing Director
Vice President Of Marketing & Communications
12 Yearsyrs
Managing Editor Communications Manager Public Relations Director
Media Relations Director
5 Yearsyrs
Managing Editor Marketing Manager Marketing Communications Manager
Content Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Writer Technical Writer Content Manager
Senior Content Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Writer Senior Writer Creative Director
Digital Director
9 Yearsyrs
Writer Social Media Specialist Digital Marketing Specialist
Online Marketing Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Contributing Writer Technical Writer Senior Technical Writer
Publications Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Contributing Writer Content Writer Content Manager
Content Director
7 Yearsyrs
Staff Writer Public Relations Specialist
Media Relations Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Contributing Writer Senior Editor Content Manager
Digital Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Staff Writer Social Media Manager
Manager Of Digital Media
5 Yearsyrs
Staff Writer Communications Manager Social Media Manager
Marketing Strategist
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Editor Production Manager Print Production Manager
Freelance Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Editor Communications Manager Social Media Manager
Digital Communications Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Contributing Editor?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Publishing Editor 4.7 years
Senior Editor 4.0 years
Executive Editor 3.5 years
Managing Editor 3.3 years
Staff Editor 2.9 years
Copy Editor 2.9 years
Deputy Editor 2.9 years
Editor/Copy Writer 2.9 years
Features Editor 2.6 years
Editor 2.6 years
Editor In Chief 2.6 years
Lead Editor 2.6 years
Associate Editor 2.5 years
Fashion Editor 2.2 years
Digital Editor 2.2 years
Online Editor 2.1 years
Assistant Editor 2.0 years
Top Careers Before Contributing Editor
Editor 13.6%
Internship 13.3%
Writer 5.1%
Reporter 4.7%
Volunteer 3.2%
Instructor 2.3%
Top Careers After Contributing Editor
Editor 16.4%
Writer 6.7%
Internship 6.6%
Consultant 4.1%
Columnist 3.5%
Reporter 2.9%
Owner 2.4%
Author 2.4%
Instructor 2.4%

Do you work as a Contributing Editor?

Contributing Editor Demographics

Gender

Female

48.2%

Male

42.5%

Unknown

9.3%
Ethnicity

White

61.6%

Hispanic or Latino

14.0%

Black or African American

12.0%

Asian

8.3%

Unknown

4.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

36.0%

French

20.8%

German

8.9%

Russian

4.2%

Italian

4.2%

Mandarin

3.8%

Portuguese

3.4%

Chinese

3.4%

Arabic

3.0%

Hindi

2.1%

Cantonese

1.7%

Greek

1.3%

Japanese

1.3%

Hebrew

1.3%

Urdu

1.3%

Korean

0.8%

Czech

0.8%

Slovak

0.8%

Swahili

0.4%

Turkish

0.4%
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Contributing Editor Education

Schools

New York University

18.6%

Columbia University

6.9%

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

5.4%

Northwestern University

5.0%

University of Florida

5.0%

University of Missouri - Columbia

5.0%

Georgia State University

4.4%

University of Georgia

4.4%

Boston University

4.4%

Michigan State University

3.8%

San Francisco State University

3.8%

University of California - Los Angeles

3.8%

Florida State University

3.8%

Miami University

3.8%

Emerson College

3.8%

University of Delaware

3.8%

American University

3.8%

Syracuse University

3.5%

University of California - Berkeley

3.5%

Temple University

3.5%
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Majors

English

18.3%

Journalism

14.4%

Communication

14.2%

Writing

9.4%

Political Science

4.8%

Business

4.4%

Fine Arts

4.0%

History

4.0%

Public Relations

3.6%

Psychology

3.5%

Marketing

3.5%

Photography

2.5%

Agricultural Public Services

2.1%

Area Studies

1.8%

Law

1.8%

Management

1.7%

Literature

1.6%

Sociology

1.6%

Graphic Design

1.5%

Education

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

55.8%

Masters

22.5%

Other

12.2%

Doctorate

4.6%

Certificate

2.7%

Associate

1.6%

Diploma

0.5%

License

0.0%
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Top Skills for A Contributing Editor

  1. Web Application
  2. News Stories
  3. Online Publication
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Contributed long form features; hotel and restaurant reviews; and travel industry news stories from global destinations.
  • Managed creation of in-house video content for online publication (offer feedback, quality control).
  • Produced reviews and original features for GamePro magazine and website.
  • Review and edit content of submitted articles for scientific accuracy, rigor, and completeness; style, and standard English.
  • Authored articles regarding the servicing of personal computers, electronics and related topics.

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