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Editor Job Description

Marian K
The term 'editor' is rather generic, and the job profile varies as per the employment sector. The story below enlists the general job description of an editor.
"To be a really good editor, you have to be a really good listener. You have to listen to what you're reading."
― Ellen Seligman, Senior Vice President, McClelland & Stewart

Editing is the process of correcting, reviewing, condensing, and then arranging written material, images, audio, or video with the objective of preparing it for a final presentation. The one who is in-charge of this major responsibility is called the editor. Depending on the field - print media, mass media, or social media, the responsibilities vary.
However, the essence of the job remains the same, and there are certain duties that are fairly common. Of course, it is not possible to directly inherit the mantle of an editor, especially for a large firm. For instance, in case of print media, you may begin as a copywriter/copy editor, and then goes on to be a sub-editor.
You may also be a features editor, and with some experience, may be the editor-in-chief. The paragraphs below enlist the job duties of an editor in different fields.

Print Media

  • It is one of primary components of print media. Newspaper editors are responsible for editing and correcting the material submitted by writers.
  • They help research on new events and organize the structure of the newspaper.
  • Every article has to checked and verified by the editor before the newspaper is printed.
  • He is responsible for checking facts, accuracy, content, language, article tone, etc.
  • He has to supervise the copy editors and report any glitches to the editor-in-chief or the managing editor.
  • Sometimes, he may also be required to write certain articles that require a certain kind of expertise and caliber.
  • He has to coordinate with the writers, designers, photographers, journalists, etc., negotiate tasks, resolve queries, and manage deadlines.
  • He has to summarize the raw manuscripts received and take care of the routine administrative tasks as well.
  • Newspaper editors earn between USD 35,000 to USD 55,000.
  • There are a plethora of magazine categories here - you have fashion, home décor, cookware, real estate, architecture, finance, and business magazines. There are monthly, weekly, and fortnightly magazines as well.
  • Editors at magazines are responsible for planning the contents of the magazine in liaison with the heads, to begin with.
• He has to distribute work and allot assignments to different people as per their forte and job designation. For example, if a fashion magazine requires an article about an important ramp show to be held, the editor must select the right in-house photographer and writer, and dispatch them to the event.
  • In fact, his presence may be required at the function as well. Then, he has to verify the details from the manuscript that the writer presents to him, ensure that the photographs look perfect and authentic, feature the design (in such assignments, he performs the role of a features editor), and then publish the same.
He has to keep abreast of the competitor's work and structure changes in the organization accordingly.
• He has to take care of conducting interviews of celebrities and other famous people for the magazine, purchase rights in case of sensitive material, and supervise the junior staff regarding the administrative work.
• Magazine editors are paid very well; as of 2015, their median salary is between USD 45,000 to USD 60,000 and more.
Publishing House
• A publishing house publishes books, novels, writings, newsletters, pamphlets, brochures, journals, etc.
• Editors at publishing companies edit, rectify, and revise the content submitted by fresh/established writers and publish them accordingly. They are from various categories.
• Freelance editors edit, verify, and review content contributed by freelance writers.
• They contribute their own material and update previously published content as well.
• They handle copyright, patents, and other legal issues as well.
• Book editors check the grammar, content, language, tone, and story of the book. They also conduct market research and study their target audience so as to garner maximum viewers.
• They have to be very careful not to take away the writer's authenticity and original concept while making analytical changes.
• Editors who edit technical books have to have an in-depth knowledge of the subject. They need to collaborate with the writer and verify the accuracy of facts.
• Developmental editors help writers/novelists with their concept, right from the initial draft.
• Enormous conglomerates have managers who work on acquisitions and mergers and help bring new business. In a publishing company, the acquisitions editor has a similar responsibility. He has to find new writers - this includes fresh talent, as well as experienced ones.
• He is the one who oversees the entire process - right from the initial copy to the final draft. He may even suggest plot changes, because he has to make the content interesting as per their readers.
• Substantive editors are similar - they assist writers, fiction or non-fiction, to improvise on their plot, literature elements, dialogs, scenes, etc.
• In general, editors also oversee the sentence correction, sentence structure, choice of words, use of language (abusive/vulgar), individual perspective, characterization, syntax, pace of the story, etc.
• Editors at publishing houses earn anywhere between USD 40,000 to USD 65,000.

Mass Media

Video Editor
• Video editors, in simple words, edit videos. They work with huge media companies and production houses for television shows on different channels as well movies.
• In fact, in the show business, the entire onus of the final draft of the film/television show is on the editors. You may have heard of the phrase, 'on the editing table'.
• Editors go through the entire movie, and this includes the uncut rushes, incomplete shots, and raw footage.
• They edit parts of the videos using high-quality equipment, improvise on picture quality, assemble the edited parts, and create the final rushes.
• There are script editors too, who work with changes in the script and screenplay.
• They may suggest shooting a part of the movie all-together for clarity.
• They synchronize different shots and put them together. The unedited versions are always saved for future use.
• The decide what shots should be used and what should be discarded, they tweak the recordings, create rough cuts, and ensure that the final product has a logical flow and a smooth precision.
• A minor mistake on the editor's part may result in a huge problem. For example, some shoots take place within the studio, while some are outdoor shots. If the scene is a mixture of both these recordings, the editor has to make sure the change is smooth and natural. This is like fitting the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle - the perfection needs to be maintained.
• Video editors are required at media houses too, for news channels (except for those videos that are live). While reporting daily news, they collect video snippets from their photo journalists, edit them, and broadcast the same at prime time.
• Editors in this line of work have a million responsibilities and the job is hectic and demanding. However, they are paid fairly well (depending on the employer); approximately USD 50,000 to more than USD 75,000.
Audio Editor
• As the word suggests, audio editors edit audio.
• Their line of work is not really independent, i.e., the editors who work on videos edit the audio as well, yet, sometimes, certain projects require primarily audio editing.
• These editors work on music videos and independent albums. They also work on radio stations and related arenas.
• Though radio stations primarily broadcast live information, sometimes, radio jockeys conduct prior interviews and incorporate the same within the show when it is live. These interviews and similar audio shots are changed, analyzed, and submitted by editor.
• He is also responsible for editing sounds in corporate training videos and conducting voiceovers.
• He edits and adjusts sounds and dialogs in advertisements, commercials, campaigns, television serials, etc.
• In films, when the video editor completes editing the shots, the audio editor takes care of the 'dubbing', i.e., he make sure that dialogs are synchronized with the lip movements and body language.
• Audio editors also select the right music for events, ensure smooth commentary, and collaborate with sound technicians for clear sound quality.
The salary of audio editors is almost similar to that of video editors; they earn between USD 60,000 to USD 80,000.
Graphics Editor
• These editors work on digital and animation projects.
• Animation has always been in vogue, and is now the latest trend in cinema.
• Graphics editors edit, change, clip, and analyze animated movies.
• They are required to be experts in the field of graphic design and technology; they take care of all the technical aspects, like lighting, grading, sound, etc.
• They are a combination of video and audio editors, and work only on graphic content though.
• They create and modify shots, adjust video and audio quality, conduct voiceovers, add graphic and audio effects, experiment with special styles, use graphic tools, etc.
• Graphic editors earn between USD 35,000 to USD 60,000.

Online Media

Web Content Editor
• It's the 21st century, and online is the way to go! While print journalism has taken a slight backseat, there has been a meteoric rise in online media.
• Similar to how print media editors work on books, journals, and magazines, online media editors work on the same elements, but on the world wide web.
• Website companies publish online content about a range of topics. Web content editors edit, rewrite, review, analyze, rectify, and publish this information.
• They make use of online tools for proofreading and avoiding plagiarism.
• They collaborate with multiple sources to verify authenticity of facts, and take care of the copyright issues.
• They beautify articles with special formatting, effects, images, and videos.
• They correct grammatical, verbal, and factual errors.
• They ensure that the set guidelines are followed.
• They conduct research and modify content while maintaining the article style in accordance with the writer.
• They need to knowledgeable about web languages and related software. They ensure proper page layout, article readability, and the tone and language.
Web editors earn between USD 40,000 to USD 60,000.
Multimedia editor
• Similar to graphic editors, multimedia editors work on editing multimedia, except that they work for online platforms.
• In fact, the terms - graphic and multimedia editors can be used interchangeably. Both work for online websites as well as production houses.
• They edit online videos, YouTube videos, graphic movies, design, etc.
• They collaborate with web designers, search engine optimizers, programmers, and sound engineers.
They discuss and create material with artists and writers, edit contributed videos, ensure voice quality, etc.
• They make technical suggestions, keep abreast of design software, and maintain expertise with the latest technological developments.
They create and demonstrate signatures (siggies) on chat forums and images with various extensions, like GIFs (graphics interchange format).
• They approve animated content prior to publishing.
• Multimedia editors earn a lot - between USD 50,000 to USD 70,000.
Associate Editor
• This term is actually used in almost all the above categories; in case of online media, associate editors function as social media managers.
Social networking sites, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are flooded with information - chats, images, and videos.
• Businesses use social media as a platform to promote their products. They advertise their products online and market them in the most efficient way possible - this content is written and edited by associate editors.
• Like most of the companies, the hierarchy starts with the copy editor, then the sub-editor, assistant editor, associate editor, managing editor, and finally, the editor-in-chief.
• An associate editor has to create patterns, note down reviews, supervise junior staff, report to the senior staff, etc.
• He has to act as the middle-man between the company and the public.
• He has to respond to bad comments, erase the negative image of the product/service, edit and publish positive articles, and ensure regular feedback to customers.
Associate editors may earn more than USD 60,000, depending on the company.
If you enjoy reading, writing, or for that matter, any kind of association with the media, you would most certainly enjoy the work of an editor. Of course, you will have pressures and deadlines and great responsibilities, but the work is certainly enjoyable and satisfying.