What is a Deputy Editor?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2019
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A deputy editor is an editing professional who may work in print, Internet, or video media. He or she typically assists the main editor, also called the editor in chief, in preparing films, magazines, books, newspapers, or websites for publication. Deputy editors typically have extensive training in their field and are generally considered mid-level employees.

Film editors take raw footage for a movie or television show and cut it together, adding sound, visual effects, and music to create a cut of a film. While once painstakingly done by hand, film editing is now almost entirely done through extremely fast computers. A deputy editor, also called an assistant editor, may cut sections of film under the supervision of the film editor. In addition, they may assist an editor in any way necessary, such as liaising with post-production houses or helping maintain databases. Many deputy editors have attended film school or worked as editors on student and low-budget films.


Magazines and newspapers often use deputy editors to edit and maintain specific sections of a publication under the supervision of an editor in chief. Most print editors come from a journalism or writing background and have experience in the field they are editing. He or she may or may not be in charge of proofreading stories, features, and columns; some publications have copy editors that cover the duty of spelling and grammar checks. A deputy editor must be able to skillfully condense and finesse articles that need finishing touches, as well as get along well with the writers and journalists under his or her position.

In the Internet world, a deputy editor functions much the same way as a print editor. They are given specific areas to cover and receive the rough draft of all articles in their domain that are intended for publication. One major area of Internet editing is fact-checking, as Internet sources can be notoriously unreliable. Conscientious editors must ensure that journalistic standards are upheld by checking the background of facts or claims made in an article.

Jobs for a deputy editor in any field may be quite hard to come by, especially as print media has significantly dwindled in the early 21st century. Many companies prefer to promote assistants or writers with a knack for editing, rather than bring in outside professionals. One of the best ways to get into this field is to establish a reputation as an excellent writer who turns in finished, proofread, and finessed pieces as often as possible.


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Post 3

If you're interested in editing films or TV shows you might want to take the chance to listen to some of the commentary on DVD special editions, particularly if you can get some notes on the decisions made in the director's cut.

Often the director will go into all kinds of detail about why he or she made the stylistic decisions that they did in each case.

Post 2

@pleonasm - I've heard of proofreading editors who managed to get a break online with one of the new digital-based publishing houses and made a good career out of it. Some people just are very good at grammar and have an instinctive eye for that kind of thing.

It's a pretty competitive industry, though, so you wouldn't be able to get a job as chief editor anywhere reputable without some way of proving your worth on your resume.

Post 1

If you're looking for a job as an editor, please make sure that you really know your grammar as well as you think you do. I spend a lot of time on a writer's forum and it seems like every other day someone comes in hoping to be an editor and they think they can do the job because they know the difference between your and you're.

That's only the most basic of what you would need to know, even for technical editing. If you want to edit fiction, you also need to learn a huge amount about story structure and so forth. You can't just walk into an editing position. You need to work your way up, or at least study the field at school.

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