An Editor-in-Chief or Executive Editor is a managerial position in charge of supervising the daily tasks of publishing media, including newspapers, magazines, and other forms of written publications. They lead a team comprised of junior and senior Editors, Writers, and other professionals in charge of creating original content to be published.
Although writing or editing texts are not their main job, Editors-in-Chief might be involved in those processes, as they supervise and evaluate those who are in charge of doing so, always aiming at preserving or improving the publication’s image. They also represent the editorial team’s interests when attending business meetings or media events.
In many ways, an Editor-in-Chief can be considered as the equivalent of a company’s CEO, especially as their tasks involve a lot of decision-making. Not only these individuals have the authority to define and assign budgets, but they are also responsible for selecting which stories, articles, or columns will be published. Therefore, Editors-in-Chief may also be considered as the Architects of a magazine, newspaper, or any publication.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Editors-in-Chief are required to complete.
- Creating and enforcing parameters and policies regarding all publications and their contents, taking quality and originality as the most important aspects.
- Preparing and controlling budgets for the departments they oversee.
- Overseeing the planning and conception of both written and visual contents to be featured in print and online media outlets:
- Evaluating all options that can make the publication’s image more attractive and appealing;
- drafting the issue’s outline and curating mood boards;
- assigning tasks and projects so as to ensure all objectives meet the established deadlines and budgets;
- leading meetings and discussions to debate and determine what news and images to publish;
- reading and approving manuscripts in a timely manner;
- rejecting unappealing pieces or recommending ways to improve them; and
- approving layouts and designs.
- Ensuring all information is accurate before publishing it, whether it’s written or visual content, so as to prevent copyright infringements (e.g. plagiarism and ghostwritten content) and discard any misrepresentation or defamation:
- Cross-checking quotes and examining references.
- Contributing editorial pieces:
- Creating articles that represent the company’s point of view regarding specific matters; and
- knowing and taking in consideration readers’ opinions.
- Using new technology and developing innovative ways to attract readers:
- Implementing marketing campaigns and social metrics to ensure loyal readership; and
- keeping good relationships with other companies.
- Handling reader complaints and taking responsibility for issues that may have arisen after publication.
- Hiring, sometimes training, and supervising new Editors and other staff members:
- Delegating and assigning tasks to staff members;
- promoting diligent and successful employees;
- motivating employees;
- negotiating contracts with freelance Writers; and
- letting underperforming employees go.
- Liaising with Publishers, Authors, and other colleagues regarding issues with publications, including deadlines and content.
- Attending social functions and media events as the publication or firm’s representative.
- Overseeing the activities of junior and senior Editors.
- Creating editorial boards and outlines.
- Performing a final review of the content processed by other Editors in order to ensure the absence of grammatical and spelling errors.
- Ensuring all information published is properly verified and all sources are credited.
- Evaluating what changes or modifications are necessary to improve an article’s quality.
- Arranging the final layout of the story by finding the ideal balance among written content, pictures, and illustrations.
- Approving the final versions submitted and the publication of each piece.
- Deciding which articles, columns, or stories are to be published next.
The average salary for Editor-in-Chief related jobs is $28,555 per year or $15 per hour. This is the same as the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $20,000 while most experienced workers make up to $40,000. These results are based on 4 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Strong editorial judgment and languages skills:
- In-depth knowledge of news and current affairs at the regional, state, national, and international level;
- having proven news judgement and an excellent work ethic;
- being able to spot and correct grammar, spelling, and syntax errors in texts; and
- possessing great attention to detail and high levels of thoroughness in order to ensure that all texts follow the same writing style.
- Outstanding creativity, insight, and a positive, go-to attitude:
- Being creative, curious, and knowledgeable in a broad range of topics; and
- possessing high levels of creativity in order to come up with interesting stories.
- Impeccable interpersonal, communication, and leadership abilities:
- Communicating clearly, both verbally and in writing, in order to give clear instructions to the staff members;
- being able to request changes and reject texts in a respectful and polite manner; and
- possessing enough leadership skills to drive their team towards maximum productivity.
- Excellent computer and social media management skills:
- Being proficient in word-processing programs and editing tools; and
- being able to manage the basic social media platforms.
- Strong organizational and time management skills:
- Being capable of managing multiple projects and prioritizing tasks effectively;
- being able to work independently and as part of a team in a dynamic, fast-paced environment;
- being able to make quick and accurate decisions, especially when deadlines are approaching; and
- being versatile, flexible, and willing to work under pressure on tight deadlines.
- Motivated, independent, result-oriented, and professional:
- Being able to motivate the entire team, especially when deadlines are near and workers are exhausted.
Most Editors-in-Chief usually start off as Journalists or Writers who have slowly moved up the career ladder and earned enough experience to get promoted to an Assistant or Managing Editor position. Most employers prefer individuals with at least 6 years of experience in the field. Undertaking internships or being part of a writing club during college can also benefit applicants . Professionals with an outstanding performance in the workplace and a drive to constantly sharpen their writing, business, networking, and communication skills are also prone to receive recognition.
To enter the Editorial field, the minimal requirement is to have completed a university or college degree in Journalism or Communication. However, professionals with careers in any related field, such as Languages, Literature, Arts, Writing, Fashion, Photography, or Public Relations are also great candidates for the position, as these areas focus on perspectives that are closely related to the field applicants are about to start working in.
The working hours in this career are mostly during regular office hours. However, due to the amount of job it is normal for Editors-in-Chief to work extra hours, weekends, or even holidays. This is especially true whenever deadlines of big publications are coming up. Furthermore, it is common for Editors-in-Chief to travel across the country or the world as they have to represent the company in all social or business events.