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Newspaper Editors: Job Duties & Career Information

Discover what type of work a newspaper editor performs. Learn about what education is necessary, in addition to salary and employment outlook, to determine if this is the right career form you.

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Career Definition for a Newspaper Editor

Newspaper editors have the daily responsibility of deciding which news stories are printed in the paper. Long before the paper is published, the editor assigns reporters to cover the news, checks for accuracy and fairness in the newspaper's articles and writes headlines. It is not unusual for a newspaper editor to have worked as a journalist or proofreader before becoming an editor.

Education Bachelor's degree in Communications, Journalism, English, or Creative Writing
Job Skills Excellent oral and written communication skills, strong interest in current events, ability to thrive under deadlines, experience with desktop publishing programs
Average Salary (2015)* $64,910 (all editors)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 5% decline (all editors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

Students interested in a career as a newspaper editor usually need, at minimum, an associate's degree. While a 2-year degree from a community college can be enough for entry into the newspaper editing field, some employers will only hire graduates with a bachelor's degree from a 4-year college or university. Required degrees may include those in areas of communications, journalism, English, or creative writing.

Skills Required

A newspaper editor should have excellent oral and written communications skills. It is expected that editors also have a strong interest in current events, the ability to work well under daily deadlines and experience with desktop publishing programs.

Career and Economic Outlook

While some newspapers are downsizing, the continued growth of news content on the Internet provides some demand for editors. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment of editors will decline 5% from 2014-2024. The BLS also states the average annual salary for editors as of May 2015 was about $64,910.

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Alternative Careers

Similar career options within this field include:

Technical Writer

Individuals who want to write on a more complex or scientific level might consider a career in technical writing. Technical writers pull together information from development and design professionals, conduct interviews, create written documentation about products and design the layout of work, such as instructions and user manuals. Employment is usually acquired by earning a bachelor's degree in English, journalism or a related field and possessing technical knowledge and experience. Candidates can be more competitive in the job market by obtaining optional professional certification. An employment increase of 10% is predicted for technical writers between 2014 and 2024, according to the BLS, and these writers earned an average wage of $73,350 in 2015.

Reporter

For those who want to work in the newspaper industry but desire more investigative writing duties, becoming a reporter may be a good option. Reporters, also known as journalists, use interview and analysis skills to collect information, determine what is valuable and compile it into written format for print or electronic viewing. To enter the field, a bachelor's degree in communications or journalism is usually necessary, although someone with an English degree could work as a reporter. Experience gained from an internship is also highly desired by employers. As seen in 2015 BLS statistics, reporters earned an average salary of $46,560. The BLS also expects a 9% decrease in the employment rate for reporters, correspondents and broadcast news analysts during the 2014-2024 decade, mainly because of the decline in print news media outlets.

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