Job Description of an Assistant Editor

Written by zakiya lathan
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Job Description of an Assistant Editor
An assistant editor has specific editorial duties depending on the hierarchy of the organisation. (pen image by Mikhail Olykainen from

This article is published because an editor approved it. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, editors rewrite and edit the work of others. They also evaluate and select content to be published. Many editors write original works as part of their editorial duties. An assistant editor has specific duties according to the hierarchy of the organisation in which they work.

General Duties

According to BLS, titles associated with various editorial duties may vary from organisation to organisation. With this in mind, in most organisations, "assistant" usually indicates that the position is subordinate to a higher-ranking editor. Assistant editors are expected to help the lead editors in editing, reviewing and writing content for publication. Assistant editors help to improve the organisation and flow of content.

Assistant editors also help to ensure that there are no grammatical, punctuation, spelling or syntax errors in content that is being made ready for publication. They verify dates and facts and make sure that the content is accurate.

Assistant editors often work directly with writers, advising them on their work. Many times, editors are responsible for supervising and hiring staff and freelance writers.


According to BLS, most major newspapers follow a standard editorial hierarchy. Assistant editors are responsible for specific sections of the publication. Examples of some assistant editor positions include: entertainment editor, news editor, sports editor and features editor. Assistant editors are supervised by the executive editor. The executive editor answers to the publisher.


According to The Occupational Information Network (O*NET), an online application for researching jobs and careers in the United States, editors are sometimes responsible for the production of the publication. Assistant editors may be responsible for the layout and artwork for a publication. They may work with the printer to ensure that various aspects of the publication, such as ink quality, paper quality and typesetting are acceptable. Assistant editors are also often responsible for planning and maintaining a budget and strict publication schedule.


According to BLS, a bachelor's degree or higher is usually needed in order to get a job as an editor. Many editors have advanced graduate degrees. Most editors have degrees in English, journalism or communications. Assistant editors who work in specific industries or subject areas may also have a degree in that field or focus. For instance, an assistant editor for a medical publication may have a degree in science or even be a doctor.


According to BLS, most editors start out as writers. Most employers expect assistant editors to have an excellent writing portfolio. In addition to a love for writing, assistant editors must have excellent time management and people skills.

Before being hired in the workplace, many assistant editors obtain training and experience through student publications and internships.


According to BLS, in May 2008, £32,493 was the median annual wage for salaried editors in the U.S. During that same period, the highest 10 per cent had paychecks over £62,068 and the lowest 10 per cent brought home less than £18,258.

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