What Editors Do
Editors constantly work under pressure to meet deadlines.
Editors plan, review, and revise content for publication. An editor’s responsibilities vary with the employer and the type and level of editorial position.
Editors typically do the following:
- Read content and correct for errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar
- Rewrite copy to make it easier for people 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
- Plan the content of publications according to the publication's style and editorial policy
- Develop story and content ideas while being mindful of the audience
- 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. They also review and edit drafts of books and articles, 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 copy for errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling and check the copy 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 proofs, 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.
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, 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.
Assistant editors have responsibility 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.
Managing editors typically work for magazines, newspaper publishers, and television broadcasters, and are responsible for the daily operation of a news department.