Last updated December 31, 2014

Behind every great writer is a fabulous editor. Magazines, newspapers, and websites, just to name a few publications, all employ editors to guide and encourage writers. Editors work in all kinds of settings, from busy newsrooms to corporate offices, to ensure that organizations get their messages to the public.

The titles and duties of editors vary a great deal, depending on where they work and exactly what they do. For example, developmental editors work with authors on novels and other long pieces to make sure the text is clear and meets the publisher's expectations. At newspapers, assignment editors match reporters to stories while executive editors make decisions about what news to cover and how to approach it.

Editors review writers' work and make suggestions or changes to make the text stronger.

“People who do well at editing … have a nuts-and-bolts appreciation of how prose should fit together to provide the greatest possible clarity.”Katherine, Editor and Publisher

Are You Ready To...?

  • Track writers' progress and make sure they meet deadlines
  • Write original content and come up with headlines
  • Make decisions about what content to publish and how to approach it
  • Hire writers, plan budgets, and negotiate contacts
  • Work under a deadline, possibly in a chaotic environment

It Helps To Be...

Creative, self-motivated, and organized, with a love of the written word and a broad range of interests. You should be able to express ideas clearly and to communicate with others in a sensitive and encouraging way. If you’ve ever read a magazine article and thought of a better way to organize it, you could be a natural.

Make High School Count

  • Make the most of your English classes. Pay attention to how the books and articles you read are constructed.
  • Take classes in journalism, creative writing, and speech.
  • Work on your writing and editing skills on the staff of the school newspaper or yearbook.
  • Build computer skills. Learn to use desktop publishing software, to handle graphics, and to write code in HTML.

Did You Know?

Most jobs with major book publishers and magazines are in big cities like New York and Los Angeles, while jobs with newspapers and trade magazines are more widespread.