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Become A Staff Writer/Editor

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Working As A Staff Writer/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

  • $53,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Staff Writer/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 Staff Writer/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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Staff Writer/Editor Career Paths

Staff Writer/Editor
Author Consultant Marketing Manager
Director Of Marketing & Development
9 Yearsyrs
Author Owner Marketing Director
Director Of Marketing And Public Relations
6 Yearsyrs
Author Manager Marketing Director
Director Of Digital Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Assistant Manager Communications Manager Communications Director
Director Of Public Affairs
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant Manager Owner Marketing Director
Vice President Of Marketing & Communications
12 Yearsyrs
Assistant Manager Property Manager Communications Director
Director, Corporate Communications
10 Yearsyrs
Consultant Marketing Manager Marketing Communications Manager
Manager Of Corporate Communications
7 Yearsyrs
Consultant Information Technology Consultant Web Developer
Web Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Executive Editor Senior Editor Communications Manager
Communications Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Executive Editor Senior Editor Content Manager
Senior Content Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Executive Editor Senior Editor Senior Technical Writer
Publications Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Communications Manager Principal Public Relations Director
Media Relations Director
5 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Marketing Manager Marketing Communications Manager
Content Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Owner Creative Director
Content Director
7 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Marketing Specialist Digital Marketing Specialist
Online Marketing Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Marketing Consultant Communications Consultant
Public Information Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Marketing Specialist Communications Consultant
Media Relations Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant Marketing Specialist Social Media Manager
Manager Of Digital Media
5 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant Event Manager Social Media Manager
Digital Communications Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Public Relations Specialist Technical Writer Content Manager
Digital Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Staff Writer/Editor?

Staff Writer/Editor Demographics

Gender

Male

45.6%

Female

44.9%

Unknown

9.5%
Ethnicity

White

63.2%

Hispanic or Latino

14.3%

Black or African American

11.5%

Asian

7.3%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

45.5%

French

18.8%

Italian

5.8%

German

5.8%

Korean

3.9%

Mandarin

2.6%

Russian

2.6%

Hindi

1.9%

Chinese

1.9%

Hebrew

1.9%

Arabic

1.9%

Dutch

1.3%

Nepali

1.3%

Khmer

0.6%

Bosnian

0.6%

Catalan

0.6%

Armenian

0.6%

Croatian

0.6%

Greek

0.6%

Carrier

0.6%
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Staff Writer/Editor Education

Schools

New York University

7.6%

University of Southern California

7.2%

Columbia University

6.3%

Temple University

5.8%

Pennsylvania State University

5.8%

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

5.8%

Michigan State University

5.4%

Northwestern University

4.9%

Emerson College

4.9%

American University

4.9%

Syracuse University

4.5%

Fordham University

4.5%

University of Missouri - Columbia

4.5%

Ohio University -

4.0%

University of California - Irvine

4.0%

San Francisco State University

4.0%

Virginia Commonwealth University

4.0%

University of Florida

4.0%

Florida State University

4.0%

Ithaca College

3.6%
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Majors

Journalism

26.6%

English

18.2%

Communication

16.1%

Writing

7.1%

Political Science

4.6%

Agricultural Public Services

3.7%

Public Relations

2.5%

History

2.4%

Journalism And Mass Communications

2.3%

Photography

2.2%

Business

2.1%

Psychology

1.9%

Fine Arts

1.8%

Liberal Arts

1.6%

Marketing

1.4%

Sociology

1.2%

Audiovisual Communications Technologies

1.1%

Management

1.0%

Theatre

1.0%

Economics

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

67.2%

Masters

16.8%

Other

9.9%

Associate

2.7%

Certificate

1.5%

Doctorate

1.5%

Diploma

0.3%

License

0.1%
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Top Skills for A Staff Writer/Editor

  1. Student Newspaper
  2. Feature
  3. News Stories
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Determined story content, design and packaging of student newspaper as well as story assignment and deadlines for completion.
  • Featured writer for Yeshiva University satire/humor paper, authoring several articles a month.
  • Expanded and polished writing and professional skills by covering a variety of news stories, including community and in-depth articles.
  • Maintained university's online event calendar.
  • Edited photos I shot utilizing Canon photos in Adobe Photoshop.

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Top Staff Writer/Editor Employers

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Staff Writer/Editor Videos

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