A managing editor oversees the overall editorial process of completing a print publication such as a newspaper, magazine or book. Depending on the particular company or specific functions the position entails, the managing editor might also be known as the editor in chief, publishing manager, executive editor, copy editor, or publishing supervisor. Key responsibilities typically include supervising the editorial staff, copyediting the publication’s content, managing a budget, and helping writers develop their craft. While there may not be a specific one-two-three process to become a managing editor, you typically will need at least an undergraduate degree, experience in the field, and a solid skill set.
To become a managing editor, it usually is best to begin by taking college courses in journalism or communications. Managing editors typically are preferred to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the field, depending on their level of experience. This holds true even if they began in the career field at an entry-level position, such as a reporter for the school newspaper, radio station, or television station.
Layout design can be one of the technical aspects of a managing editor’s job. To become a managing editor, you most likely will need to be able to maintain a consistent style with the publication’s written content as well as with its physical layout. Managing editors typically must also have the necessary skills to determine what will catch a reader’s eye and keep a reader’s attention. The visual layout of a publication can be as important as what is written in it.
To become a managing editor, you may also need to volunteer or find an internship at a local newspaper, radio station, or television station. This can provide you with valuable real-world experience as well as create important networking opportunities within the career field. If at all possible, you might want to consider branching out to do editorial jobs for other organizations such as non-profits or other community activities that could look good on a resume.
Another factor to consider is the area of expertise editors want to fulfill, particularly if they are moving into a niche sector such as any form of technical writing. For instance, if you are hoping to oversee the editorial content of an in-house computer company’s publication, you might want to get training and experience in the computer sciences. You might also want to find out if the company will allow you to shadow its writers, editors, or proofreaders. Not only will this give you hands-on experience, but will also make your presence known in the industry.