An editor-in-chief is in charge of editorial content and department operations generally at media outlet. Editors-in-chief can work at such outlets as periodicals, newspapers, online publications, book publishers or television stations. Being the sole person in charge, her accountability includes matters related to written facts, language, grammar and punctuation. Video and audio images, drawings, pictures and photos also fall under her realm of liability. In some cases, the editor-in-chief, also called the executive editor, may have budgetary responsibilities for her department.
Before publication, the editor-in-chief reviews all content. She needs to verify the facts being presented and make sure the content and style are consistent and meet the standards of the publication. If discrepancies are found, she returns the work for revision. Good communication skills are important, so the executive editor can ensure the proper revisions are made and that her employee doesn't take the revision request personally.
An editor-in-chief often delegates some of her job responsibilities to junior editors or editorial assistants. This lightens her actual workload, but if inconsistencies or errors make it to the final copy, she is formally held accountable, not the employee assigned the task. She must make judgment calls every day and decide if delegating certain jobs is worth the chance of negative repercussions and time-consuming rewrites.
In addition to regularly editing content that has already been through a series of reviews, an editor-in-chief occasionally has to discipline or terminate an employee for plagiarism or ghostwriting. This, along with outright rejection of substandard work, is often considered the most negative aspect of being an editor-in-chief. Since plagiarism and ghostwriting are so seriously scrutinized, they can irreparably damage the reputation of a media company or publication.
For hard copy and online periodical publications, the editor-in-chief is sometimes expected to write an opinion piece, or editorial column. This type of writing usually, but not always, expresses a point of view that elicits discussion in the readership or community in general. Topics and viewpoints generally are considered the point of view of the publication, sometimes decided upon by an editorial board. An editorial board oftentimes is made up of members of the community. Readers are encouraged to respond to editorials through letters and e-mails.
As the leader of the organization, the editor-in-chief is depended upon for guidance. A person in this position is expected to set a good example for the rest of the group. She is depended upon to guide her staff with integrity and impart them with high journalistic standards.