How Do I Become an Executive Editor?

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  • Written By: M. Kayo
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 01 December 2019
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If you want to become an executive editor, you need to have a passion for the written word, some specialized training, and years of experience in managing all aspects of a publication or editorial operation. The skills necessary to become an executive editor include the ability to manage creative staff people, an ongoing attention to detail, and a desire to take charge of a publication's overall success. Employers typically look for an editor who has an appropriate education and many years of experience. An executive editor should be able to establish the overall tone and vision for a publication. Years of experience will also provide the necessary authority to ensure certain editorial standards are upheld.

Typical educational requirements for those who want to become an executive editor include a bachelors degree in journalism, communication, English, or other relevant area. A significant amount of previous editorial experience will likely be required by employers. Some executive editors worked as interns or started out as reporters and moved up through the ranks to work as mid-level editors, eventually gaining the skills and experience necessary for this job. An executive editor may continue to pursue additional education, conferences, workshops, or seminars throughout his or her career to stay abreast of any advancements in the field.


One of the biggest requirements for those who want to become an executive editor is running the day-to-day operations of a publication or editorial operation. Editors must be trained to handle the management of many different types of people, including reporters, mid-level editors, and other editorial staff. An executive editor must have the skills to ensure the publication's content is consistent with the overall mission of the publisher. This requires a great deal of experience in coordinating tasks with assistant editors and effectively managing people who may be working under very tight deadlines. Years of experience as a reporter or editor allow an executive editor to relate to or work in a number of roles necessary in the daily activity of a publication or editorial operation.

Enforcing the standards of a publication or editorial operation is another requirement for those who want to become an executive editor. Often working with an editorial board, an executive director needs skills to set the standards for editorial submissions, performance appraisals, deadlines, budgeting, and planning. Developed through years of experience, excellent people skills may be used to maintain productive collaboration between an executive editor, managing editor, and assistant editors. An executive editor should also have an ability to see the big picture of an operation, manage a staff, oversee editorial content and ensure the editorial integrity of a publication.


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