Newspaper or magazine editor

Newspaper and magazine editors manage the style and content of printed publications.

Annual Salary

£30,000 to £80,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours


Future employment

There will be 4% more Newspaper or magazine editor jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Depending on the publication you work for as an editor, your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • commissioning articles
  • choosing which articles to publish
  • deciding how they’ll be laid out for publishing
  • assessing work sent from freelance journalists, photographers and illustrators

You’ll work with sub-editors, designers, production staff and printers to make sure  publication deadlines are met.

On smaller titles you might help to write and sub-edit.

On larger titles you'll just have editor duties.

You may also look after other areas like budget control, hiring staff and working with advertising and production departments.


You'll usually start by doing a degree in English, journalism or media studies.

You can do a postgraduate qualification in publishing or journalism if your first degree is not related to the industry.

You're likely to need a degree or postgraduate qualification and a high level of specialist subject knowledge if you want to work for a specialist publication like a medical or scientific journal.

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above and 2 A levels for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

Other Routes

You’ll need a background in journalism and usually have relevant qualifications and work experience.

You’ll also need a good understanding of the newspaper and magazine industries.

You could build up your publishing experience by starting as a reporter or journalist.

You'll need to get some experience before applying for your first job in publishing. To build up your experience you can:

  • volunteer for student and community newspapers
  • keep an online blog
  • have an online presence on sites such as Twitter
  • submit articles and reviews to local papers or websites

This is also a good way to develop contacts, as many jobs are not advertised.

You could take a proofreading or editing course, like the ones offered by the National Council for the Training of Journalists, the Society for Editors and Proofreaders and The Publishing Training Centre.

Professional and industry bodies

You may find it useful to join organisations like the Society of Editors and Professional Publishers Association for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

£30,000 to £80,000

Starter salary: Around £30,000

Experienced salary: Around £50,000

As a freelance editor you’ll usually negotiate a set fee or daily rate.

These figures are a guide.


If you work for a daily or weekly publication you’ll usually work irregular hours, including evenings and weekends. 

If you work for a monthly publication or a specialist trade journal, you’ll usually work normal office hours, but with some overtime leading up to publication deadlines.

Your work will be mainly office-based. You may need to travel to meet clients and reporters.

With experience as a local newspaper editor you could move on to regional and then national publications.

You could become editor-in-chief of a group of newspapers, or magazine publishers.

The National Council for the Training of Journalists and the Professional Publishers Association have more information on journalism and becoming a newspaper or magazine editor.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You’ll need:

  • planning, organisational and staff management skills
  • a good command of English with strong writing and IT skills
  • creativity and good visual sense
  • financial skills
  • an eye for detail
  • an understanding of target audiences
  • negotiating and decision-making skills
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent written communication skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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