Assignment Editor: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for an assignment editor. Get the facts about education, required experience and possible earnings to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Children`s Book Illustration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Assignment Editor?

Assignment editors decide what news stories are covered, what images are used, and where journalists or reporters will report stories. They are expected to be up-to-date in current events and the latest trends in various industries and sectors. Assignment editors also prepare an editorial calendar to guide the entire news team in which stories to cover and which sources to pursue. As the last person to approve news stories for publication, assignment editors need to be detail-oriented and highly capable of doing accuracy checks on stories submitted by the reporters.

The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Training Required Experience as a reporter or journalist
Education Field of Study Communications, journalism, English
Key Responsibilities Assign news stories to reporters, stay updated on breaking news, organize journalists and cameramen
Job Growth (2014-2024) -5%* (all editors)
Average Salary (2015) $64,910* (all editors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do I Do as an Assignment Editor?

Assignment editors work in a newspaper office, or radio and TV station, where they develop, select and assign news stories to journalists and reporters. As an assignment editor, you monitor the activities in a newsroom, manage news crews, and make sure all areas of production are covered.

It's important that you maintain a calendar with all future stories and events for planned news coverage. Your responsibilities may also include staying up-to-date of national and local news stories, reading police reports and finding sources to validate stories. Since you work with a limited crew, you must be able to organize and dispatch journalists, news reporters and cameramen to cover as many stories as possible. In smaller establishments, you may also be responsible for editing film footage and radio recordings, in addition to writing and updating website postings and adding appropriate graphics.

What Education and Skills Will I Need?

A bachelor's degree in journalism or related field is often a good starting point for a career in journalism. However, before you become an editor, you need a substantial amount of experience as a journalist, copywriter or reporter. These careers prepare you to work under professional standards of practice. As an editor, you will have the last say on what material gets printed, distributed and posted online. Since you are the last person to review and approve material, you need to have strong grammar skills and pay exceptional attention to detail. Most newspapers offer an online and hardcopy version of the paper, so it's important for editors to have knowledge of HTML, CSS and Photoshop in order to edit and upload images and text onto a website.

In addition to working nights and weekends, you must be able to work on multiple projects under high pressure and strict deadlines. As a captain of the news crew, you need to have excellent communication, management and problem-solving skills in order to manage the workflow effectively.

How Much Can I Earn?

In 2015, most editors working in newspapers and periodicals earned a mean income of $64,060 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reported that editors in radio and television stations averaged $57,930 per year.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

To better prepare yourself for a career as an assignment editor, you may consider pursuing a career as a reporter, correspondent or broadcast news analyst. Reporters and correspondents gather information, interview sources and write news stories to inform the public about current events and significant issues. Broadcast news analysts, on the other hand, interpret news stories and events to further educate the public on the issues concerning them. You may also consider being a writer if you prefer creating written materials to presenting news on camera. All of these career options require a bachelor's degree and could better prepare you for a job as an assignment editor later in your career.

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