Newspaper Editor

    If you are wondering how to become a newspaper editor, below are tips and advice on training for and beginning careers within publishing and journalism, as well as job prospects in the UK.

    The Job Description
    Newspaper and journal editors, sometimes known collectively as print editors, manage the style and content of written publications such as newspapers, magazines and trade journals. They may oversee the overall editorial direction of a publication, or they may be responsible for an individual section.

    Editors will:

    commission articles
    decide which articles will be included
    decide how they will be laid out for publishing
    consider submissions for inclusion from freelance journalists, photographers and illustrators.
    Editors work closely with sub-editors, designers, production staff and printers to make sure that all aspects of a newspaper, magazine or journal are ready for the publication deadline.

    Editors of local newspapers may help to write and sub-edit the publication, while on larger titles the role may be purely editorial. Some editors have responsibility for other matters such as budgetary control, hiring staff and liaising with advertising and production departments.

    Person Specification
    The key personal attributes of good newspaper or journal editors include:

    a good command of English with strong writing and IT skills
    planning, organisational and staff management skills
    creativity and good visual sense
    financial skills and commercial flair
    some legal knowledge regarding the content of publications
    an eye for detail and the ability to implement change where necessary
    an understanding of target audiences
    negotiating and decision-making skills.

    How to become a newspaper editor
    While there are no standard entry requirements, most newspaper editors have wide experience in journalism. Editors of specialist titles have qualifications or previous experience in that particular field.
    For details of how to get into journalism or publishing, see the Editorial Assistant, Newspaper Journalist and Magazine Journalist job profiles.

    You can take degree courses in publishing, and multidisciplinary degree courses with publishing options. On top of the usual entry requirements, some courses may ask that you have passes in specific subjects, particularly English. Check with your chosen college or university for details.

    Information can also be found on the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and Periodicals Publishers Association (PPA) websites.

    Training and Development
    Short and distance learning courses in various aspects of publishing are provided by organisations such as the Publishers Association and the Publishing Training Centre.

    The Pay (a rough guide)
    Editors can earn between £30,000 and £80,000 a year.
    Experienced editors working for a national newspaper can earn over £80,000 a year.
    Pay scales vary depending on experience, position, and the type and location of employer. Freelance editors negotiate a set fee or daily rate.

    Job Prospects
    Competition for jobs is fierce in all areas of journalism, particularly on national newspapers. Employment may be available with contract publishers who work with a number of different clients, and some large companies, particularly in the retail or service sectors which produce regular publications of their own.

    Many editors work on a freelance basis, and overseas employment is possible.

    Experience is essential for promotion. A sub-editor may become the overall editor of a title, and local newspaper editors often move on to regional and then national publications. Successful editors may also progress to become editors-in-chief of a group of newspapers, or magazine publishers, although these positions are rare and depend on the size of the publisher. Commissioning editors may become editorial managers or directors, publishers, or move into specialist areas.

    Useful journalism or publishing resources:
    Publishers Association
    29B Montague Street
    WC1B 5BW
    Tel: 020 7691 9191

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