How To Become A Magazine Editor
Career Video: Magazine Editor
Are you a talented writer, looking to advance your career? Do you naturally possess an excellent understanding of English and how to apply it to publications? Do you have a niche that you find interesting and enjoy sharing with others? Are you able to envision and create themes, layouts, and designs for publications to entice readers and gain an audience? If you have the natural talent and desire to write, edit, and polish literary content, then you may want to pursue a career as a magazine editor.
Why Become A Magazine Editor
Magazine editors oversee, delegate, plan, and review content for publication. Many editorial positions exist, such as senior, managing, marketing, graphics, and features, and each position will require different tasks. Some editors manage other writers and photographers, while some may design. Typically, editors will proofread and revise copy. Regardless of their positions and strengths, they can be involved in various aspects of creating publications.
From start to finish, editors are responsible for the content of a magazine. They are involved in every aspect of publishing, including planning, assigning stories and graphics/photographs, evaluating submissions, fact checking, coaching writers and other staff, making various corrections and revisions, and approving the final product.
The style and topic of magazine will also dictate the responsibilities and duties of an editor. Magazines can provide entertainment about fashion, movies, or music, or they can provide news and features about current events, athletes, or famous people. If you can think of a subject, an existing magazine most likely covers the topic.
Editors must encompass many journalistic talents and qualities to be effective at conveying information and reaching their intended audiences:
- Detail oriented
- Excellent communicator
- Knowledgeable of AP style
- Master of the English language
- Deadline oriented
Magazine Editor Work Environment
Most editorial positions exist in an office, most likely at the headquarters or a satellite office of the publication. Because editors oversee people and various aspects of publication, they need to be in the center of action and have access to people, tools, and materials. Some editors may work from home, especially with the use of specific software, the internet, and a phone.
Although magazines can be published anywhere, they are most likely to be concentrated in big cities and major metropolitan regions. Editors are less likely than photographers and staff writers to travel.
Magazine Editor Salary
The salary for editorial jobs varies, depending on level of editorial experience, popularity of the magazine, and location. Senior editors, or editors in chief, make anywhere from approximately $39,000 to $106,000, per year. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for an editor is $54,890.
Magazine Editor Career Outlook
The career outlook for a magazine editor is not good, especially regarding printed publications. In fact, this market is shrinking; however, as technologies increase, digital editing positions will open up and create an entirely new market. Candidates with digital skills and familiarity with technological tools will have an edge over their competition. Regardless of the media or format, people will continue to read, and magazine content will still be relevant and desired by consumers.
Magazine Editor Degree
Although natural talent outweighs educational experience, most magazine managers seek editors with at least a bachelor’s degree.
Step 1: Obtain a bachelor’s degree. There is no one degree for editing; however, obtaining a degree in journalism, communication, or English is preferred and will give an editorial candidate the skills needed for this job. If a candidate knows which type of magazine he or she wishes to work for, then it’s important to find applicable coursework or real-life experience in that industry.
Step 2: Gain working experience. Editors typically have to work a few years in the media industry to gain an editorial position. Those with strong writing, grammar, and communication skills may naturally rise to the top of this field. Editors usually begin their careers by first working as reporters and writers.
Editors can also gain knowledge through cross-media experience, working for newspapers, television broadcasting companies, and radio stations. Internships exist for aspiring magazine editors through the American Society of Magazine Editors. These experiences will help editors gain understanding and skills regarding the business and management aspects of editing.