Editors read and correct written material for publication, draft and implement editorial policy, decide on the content of publications or news items and manage the production of publications and the staff involved, depending on the position they hold.
To become an editor you usually have to complete a VET qualification in professional writing and editing or arts (professional writing). As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have a degree in communications, journalism, professional writing, English, media studies or a related field and provide evidence of a wide range of reading and general interests. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education with English. Most institutions in Australia offer courses in these areas. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.
Editors may perform the following tasks:
Editors have to work under pressure when meeting deadlines, especially those who work on daily newspapers.
Editors work in-house for commercial publishers or in publication units within government departments and other organisations. They may also work for organisations that produce publications such as newspapers or magazines. Experienced book editors may work on a freelance or contract basis. Some may form independent publishing houses. In recent years, the publishing industry has seen a number of mergers and rationalisation of print production. There are now far fewer newspapers and publishing houses to provide entry into the profession. Technological advances have also changed the industry. Only a few openings occur in publishing houses each year and competition for them is high. It is sometimes possible to enter publishing from an affiliated field, such as desktop publishing, teaching or printing. Advancement is dependent on a keen business and marketing sense, as well as capacity for hard work.
An associate editor directs the preparation of a section of a newspaper, magazine or other non-book publication, and may also hire casual staff and approve staff leave and expenses. Associate editors may also work as news editors, directing the gathering, selecting and editing of news for newspapers, news agencies, television or radio news reports, or public affairs programmes. They sometimes work in the field gathering information.
A book editor prepares book manuscripts for publication. They may work with authors to ensure manuscripts are suitable for publication. They may also liaise with and direct graphic designers and printers to take books through to final production. They are sometimes known as copy editors.
A chief sub-editor monitors the pages of a newspaper or magazine and sorts through the articles to decide on those that will be included.
A commissioning editor seeks out new books for publication and may manage their progress through the production process.
A proofreader checks typeset proofs and/or computer printouts to detect errors in typesetting or keyboarding before the final printing of a publication.
A senior sub-editor writes headlines to fit the space allocated to a story or copy, decides on the layout of photographs and drawings, contributes to the design of the publication and generates new ideas. It is advantageous for senior sub-editors to have knowledge of computer design programmes.
A sub-editor works for associate editors of magazines and newspapers to assess the suitability of reports and articles for publication, and edits them as necessary. They may arrange the production of photographs or illustrations and liaise with printers to achieve the desired effect.