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What Is a News Editor?

Most newspaper have an online edition that needs editing.
Television news reports are approved by a news editor.
A news editor can have a variety of duties at a newspaper, depending on the size of the organization.
Taking journalism classes is an important step in the process of becoming a news editor.
Online news sites are a more recent media opportunity for news editors.
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  • Written By: K. Testa
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 19 August 2014
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A news editor typically works for a print newspaper or magazine, a television channel, or an online media outlet. He or she is a professional who is normally responsible for assigning articles to other journalists and overseeing their publication. Depending on the size of the organization, he or she may have varying degrees of responsibility. An editor at a large metropolitan newspaper, for instance, might focus specifically on one area, such as local politics. On the other hand, a newspaper editor at a local publication with a smaller staff might play several roles, and have other duties in addition to editing. To be successful, he or she is usually expected to have an extensive professional background in journalism or communications.

Newspapers and other printed periodicals, like magazines, may be local, regional, national, or international in scope. They may report on small community news items, global news stories, and everything in between. A news editor may be one of a number of editors at the same publication. Some newspapers have a daily editor to oversee most items. Other types of editors might have a particular specialty, such as business or sports news, for example.

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A news editor’s general duties include choosing news items to be covered and assigning the articles to other writers. The editor usually requests the items by a certain deadline, and then he or she reviews them. Assuming that there are no major changes to be made to the articles, the editor then publishes them. A television or online news editor, like a newspaper or magazine editor, also reviews news items. The stories that they approve are broadcast on television news shows, or published on news and current events websites.

Typically, a news editor’s other daily responsibilities might include reading and revising specific articles, while checking facts and references during the review process. In addition to editing current articles, an editor also develops ideas for future stories. Some may also play a broader role, often overseeing other aspects of publication, like article layout and graphic design.

There is usually a certain amount of formal education and training required to secure a position as a news editor. Typically, they hold a college degree in journalism, communications, or language. Most editors have worked as journalists or professional writers in some capacity. Other professional skills that may be required could include knowledge of computer applications and other technology.

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Discuss this Article

kylee07drg
Post 4

I am a secretary for a news editor at a magazine, so I know all about her duties. She has to handle a lot more than people might think, so she spends many hours at the office.

She handles the obvious article assignments and content decisions, but she also has a big say in the overall look of the pages. She consults with the graphic designers on which ads will follow which articles, and she lets the page designers know how she wants the text and colors to look.

Even though she gets paid a high salary, I certainly don't envy her. I wouldn't want all that stress on a daily basis.

lighth0se33
Post 3

In my local newspaper, the letters to the editor are very popular with readers. I think it is interesting that people who write in tend to blame the editor for the tone of an article, rather than the writer.

Yes, the news editor does ultimately decide what goes into the paper. However, he leaves a lot of decisions up to the writers. My friend is a journalist, and her editor gives her lots of freedom in her writing.

The news editor usually has a good comeback for people who complain, though, and this gets published, as well. I like to see the editor stand up for himself in these situations.

StarJo
Post 2

@seag47 – I also worked at a newspaper for many years, but this company was very small. They only had one news editor, so he was in charge of everything in the newsroom.

After a writer had finished an article, she would give it to him for review. He would circle any errors in red ink and write suggestions off to the side. The writer would then make the corrections and resubmit it to him.

I would imagine that at bigger newspapers, writers might email proofs to the editor. However, at mine, they went ahead and formatted the text onto the page with the photos and ads and printed out the entire page for review. That way, the editor could spot any mistakes in the ads or photo captions, as well.

seag47
Post 1

At the newspaper where I work, we have both a news editor and an assistant news editor. There are plenty of stories to be covered each day, so the duties are a little much for one person to handle alone.

The assistant news editor will review articles before sending them to the head editor. This saves him a lot of time, because generally, any mistakes in the articles will have been corrected by the time the pieces reach the editor.

The editor gets to decide when an article is ready to print. He sometimes leaves the doling out of assignments to the assistant editor, though, unless he has a particular writer in mind for a piece.

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