What Are the Duties of a Newspaper Editor?

Explore the career requirements to become a newspaper editor. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements and potential salary to see if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Digital Marketing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Newspaper Editor?

Newspaper editors review and modify the content provided by writers and other contributors. They will verify facts, ensure readability and understanding of the content for the reader and check for grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors. Newspaper editors are often tasked with developing content ideas that fit well with the publication and sorting through submissions to decide what should be published. They may work with writers to help them develop or research a story. Depending on their place of work, newspaper editors may also help manage space in the paper for photos, text and charts for stories. Typically these professionals give the final approval on a written piece prior to publication of the paper. The chart below outlines the education requirements, job outlook and earning potential for a career in this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Journalism, communications
Job Growth (2014-2024) 5% decline for all editors*
Mean Salary (2015) $64,060 for editors working for newspaper, periodical, book and directory publishers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Job Duties Will I Have as a Newspaper Editor?

Your job as a newspaper editor will generally involve reviewing and editing the work of newspaper writers. Depending upon your exact job title, you'll have various editorial duties. For example, if you're employed by a sizable newspaper, you might work as an assistant editor, assignment editor, copy editor, managing editor or executive editor.

Managing editors take charge of the day-to-day news operations, and you may also help with budget management in this position. Employment as an executive editor will have you choosing stories to be covered and published. Both of these positions require you to hire employees and freelance writers. As an assistant editor, you'll help the managing and executive editors with their duties. You might also oversee the activities of a team of news writers, as well as focus on writing about local stories, sports or international events.

If you're an assignment editor, you'll decide which reporters get to cover certain stories. Other duties might include selecting newsworthy stories. If you become a copy editor, your responsibilities will include checking the facts contained in articles and proofreading content to check for spelling and punctuation errors.

What Education Will I Need to Acquire?

As a student, you can prepare yourself to become a newspaper editor by working for your high school or college newspaper, which can help you learn about the publishing process. A bachelor's degree is the minimum educational requirement you'll need. Look for a major in such area as journalism or communications. Some programs allow you to specialize in newspaper journalism. You may take classes in newspaper editing, reporting and researching.

What Salary Could I Expect?

As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) in May 2015, the mean annual salary for newspaper, directory, periodical and book editors was approximately $64,060. Most editors in the newspaper industry earned a salary between $24,663 and $77,687, according to PayScale.com in October 2016. The company reported that while more experience does result in higher pay, the difference in pay is not large; for example, the difference between entry-level editors and those with 10 to 20 years' experience was just $9,000 among those surveyed.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A few related careers that require a bachelor's degree include announcers, technical writers and writers and authors. Announcers conduct commentary on events, inform the public about news and events and interview various kinds of guests. Technical writers create written content concerning technical and complex subject matter, the likes of which may be found in a how-to-guide or instructional manual. Writers' and authors' work is broader: they create written content of various kinds for things like magazines, blogs, books and more.

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