How to Become an Executive Editor

Editing is an essential part of many different types of written publications and a variety of professionals are required to complete many types of editing tasks. Executive editors are highly trained and experienced professionals that oversee other editors and make executive decisions about written content.

What does an executive editor do?

Executive directors are often the top editor of publications such as newspapers, magazines, and books. They manage assistant editors and other professionals and typically have the final say over the content to be published. They make sure tasks are completed effectively and meet the necessary standards. They also hire and train staff and perform evaluations and appraisals. Executive editors develop and implement publication procedures and create and maintain a budget. Sometimes executive editors perform reporting, editing, and other duties when staff members are on vacation or sick.

What kind of training does an executive editor need?

Executive editors typically need at least a bachelor degree in English, journalism, communications, or other related field. Most employers prefer candidates with significant editorial experience. Many prospective executive editors complete internships or part-time jobs with high school and college newspapers, local magazines, and other small publications to gain practical experience. Many executive editors begin their careers as writers or reporters and advance to editing positions as they gain the necessary skills and experience. Some employers provide some on the job training to enable new executive editors to learn the necessary expectations and procedures. New editors often start out performing simple tasks and move on to more advanced duties as they gain experience. Executive editors often complete continuing education and additional training throughout their careers to keep their skills up to date and stay abreast with advancements in the field. They typically participate in editing workshops, seminars, and conferences.

What are the prospects for a career as an executive editor?

Employment of executive editors is expected to experience little or no change in growth from 2008 to 2018 (1).

Job prospects are expected to be favorable with keen competition. Executive editors with advanced training and extensive experience will have the best job opportunities. Some job openings will stem from the need to replace executive editors that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do executive editors make?

As of February 2010, the average annual salary for executive editors is $54,000; average annual executive editor salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).

A career as an executive editor is a great choice for people with a strong interest in overseeing a variety of editing tasks for many different types of publications. Executive editors must have a solid understanding of a variety of editing procedures. Patience, detail orientation, creativity, critical thinking, and excellent leadership skills are essential characteristics. Executive editors must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to motivate others. They must also be able to effectively work under stress and pressure.

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