As the name suggests, managing editors take on a managerial role, typically second-in-command, at a newspaper, magazine, website or television show, overseeing the entire process of creating a publication or show from start to finish. While men continue to hold a majority of the supervisory editing positions at newspapers and magazines, women have slowly gained ground in securing managing-editor positions. According to the Women's Media Center, as of 2011, women made up just over 30 percent of managing editors in television and 37 percent of newspaper editors.
Education and Skills
Most newspapers, magazines and television shows prefer to hire managing editors with a bachelor's degree in journalism, English or communication. Even more important, employers want editors with professional experience in the media industry, including internships or working for their college publications. Typically, a managing editor will start off as a staff writer or reporter and work her way up the ranks, gaining valuable experience in the process. Additionally, the managing editor should possess excellent written and oral communication skills and be well-organized and able to multi-task. A managing editor wanting to secure a position with a specialty publication, website or network, like a fashion magazine, sports website or entertainment network, must have experience and knowledge in that niche.
For publications and websites, the managing editor assigns stories to staff writers and freelancers, gives photographers assignments, and helps copy editors make editorial decisions. Keeping in mind the theme or tone for each issue, a managing editor develops story ideas and concepts and relays her ideas to the staff so they can bring that vision to life. Publication editors keep the staff on deadline and put together each issue, laying out the publication and adding in photos, graphics and advertisements. Television managing editors brainstorm story ideas, assign reporters and photographers to news stories, work with the reporters on their stories, and edit reporters' news scripts. The TV editor also creates work schedules, supervises desk employees, and assists the news director in running the news room.
The managing editor also wears several other hats, including fulfilling administrative duties such as human resources. The managing editor works with the editor-in-chief and executive editors to hire and fire staff members. In television, the editor assists the news director in bringing in employees. Most publications and networks hold weekly or bi-weekly staff meetings and the managing editor runs these meetings, giving out assignments, solving problems and brainstorming ideas. Other responsibilities include payroll and answering emails and phone calls. For television, the managing editor will keep an eye out for breaking news and assign breaking stories to reporters.
A managing editor works long hours, often working evenings and weekends especially near publication deadlines. The average salary for a print managing editor was just over $51,000 in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Male print managing editors tend to make more than females, with the average male editor earning $58,400 and female earning $51,400, according to Folio Magazine. The Radio Television Digital News Association puts the average television managing editor salary at $65,400 in 2012. For online editors, the average salary in 2010 was $59,340, according to the Society of Technical Communications.
- Women's Media Center: Status of Women in Media 2012
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Editors
- New University: Managing Editor Job Description
- Folio Magazine: Managing Editor/Senior Editor
- St. Louis University: Managing Editor Theology Digest
- Nexstar Broadcasting Group: WMDB Managing Editor
- Radio Television Digital News Association: 2012 TV and Radio News Staffing and Profitability Survey
- Society of Technical Communication: 2010 Salary Survey
Lindsey Thompson began her writing career in 2001. Her work has been published in the Cincinnati Art Museum's "Member Magazine" and "The Ohio Journalist." You'll also find her work on websites like Airbnb, Chron.com, and USAToday.com. Thompson holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.