Editors read and correct written material for publication, draft and implement editorial policy, decide on the content of publications or news items and manage the production of publications and the staff involved, depending on the position they hold.

Duties & Tasks

Editors may perform the following tasks:

  • make decisions about the content of publications with other senior editors in accordance with editorial policies and guidelines
  • review copy to ensure it is free from errors and conforms with style and format rules
  • manage the day-to-day running of a newspaper or magazine
  • assign staff and photographers to stories
  • write articles, editorials or reviews
  • edit copy, write headlines and plan the layout of news items
  • supervise journalists
  • undertake administrative tasks
  • work with authors to develop text to a publishable standard.


Associate Editor

An associate editor directs the preparation of a section of a newspaper, magazine or other non-book publication, and may also hire casual staff and approve staff leave and expenses. Associate editors may also work as news editors, directing the gathering, selecting and editing of news for newspapers, news agencies, television or radio news reports, or public affairs programmes. They sometimes work in the field gathering information.

Book Editor

A book editor prepares book manuscripts for publication. They may work with authors to ensure manuscripts are suitable for publication. They may also liaise with and direct graphic designers and printers to take books through to final production. They are sometimes known as copy editors.

Chief Sub-editor

A chief sub-editor monitors the pages of a newspaper or magazine and sorts through the articles to decide on those that will be included.

Commissioning Editor

A commissioning editor seeks out new books for publication and may manage their progress through the production process.


A proofreader checks typeset proofs and/or computer printouts to detect errors in typesetting or keyboarding before the final printing of a publication.

Senior Sub-editor

A senior sub-editor writes headlines to fit the space allocated to a story or copy, decides on the layout of photographs and drawings, contributes to the design of the publication and generates new ideas. It is advantageous for senior sub-editors to have knowledge of computer design programmes.


A sub-editor works for associate editors of magazines and newspapers to assess the suitability of reports and articles for publication, and edits them as necessary. They may arrange the production of photographs or illustrations and liaise with printers to achieve the desired effect.

Working Conditions

Editors have to work under pressure when meeting deadlines, especially those who work on daily newspapers.

Personal Requirements

  • highly literate, with a sound knowledge of English grammar
  • eye for detail
  • able to concentrate on written work for long periods
  • good general knowledge
  • good organisational skills
  • able to produce detailed and accurate work, often to tight deadlines
  • good management and leadership skills
  • aptitude for using computers.
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