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VOC Course Subject Prerequisites Year 12 Preferred University Course Subject Prerequisites

Editors read and correct written material for publication, draft and implement editorial policy, decide on the content of publications or news items and manage the production of publications and the staff involved, depending on the position they hold.

Editors have to work under pressure when meeting deadlines, especially those who work on daily newspapers.


    Editors may perform the following tasks:

  • make decisions about the content of publications with other senior editors in accordance with editorial policies and guidelines
  • review copy to ensure it is free from errors and conforms with style and format rules
  • manage the day-to-day running of a newspaper or magazine
  • assign staff and photographers to stories
  • write articles, editorials or reviews
  • edit copy, write headlines and plan the layout of news items
  • supervise journalists
  • undertake administrative tasks
  • work with authors to develop text to a publishable standard


  • highly literate, with a sound knowledge of English grammar
  • eye for detail
  • able to concentrate on written work for long periods
  • good general knowledge
  • good organisational skills
  • able to produce detailed and accurate work, often to tight deadlines
  • good management and leadership skills
  • aptitude for using computers

Interest Area

Artistic/Creative Clerical/Administrative Influencing/Personal Contact Literary


Associate Editor - directs the preparation of a section of a newspaper, magazine or other non-book publication, and may also hire casual staff and approve staff leave and expenses. Associate editors may also work as news editors, directing the gathering, selecting and editing of news for newspapers, news agencies, television or radio news reports, or public affairs programmes. They sometimes work in the field gathering information.

Book Editor - prepares book manuscripts for publication. They may work with authors to ensure manuscripts are suitable for publication. They may also liaise with and direct graphic designers and printers to take books through to final production. They are sometimes known as copy editors.

Chief Sub-editor - monitors the pages of a newspaper or magazine and sorts through the articles to decide on those that will be included.

Commissioning Editor - seeks out new books for publication and may manage their progress through the production process.

Proofreader - checks typeset proofs and/or computer printouts to detect errors in typesetting or keyboarding before the final printing of a publication.

Senior Sub-editor - writes headlines to fit the space allocated to a story or copy, decides on the layout of photographs and drawings, contributes to the design of the publication and generates new ideas. It is advantageous for senior sub-editors to have knowledge of computer design programmes.

Sub-editor - works for associate editors of magazines and newspapers to assess the suitability of reports and articles for publication, and edits them as necessary. They may arrange the production of photographs or illustrations and liaise with printers to achieve the desired effect.


VOC Course Subject Prerequisites Year 12 Preferred University Course Subject Prerequisites

To become an editor you usually have to complete a VOC qualification in professional writing and editing or arts (professional writing). As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You may be able to study through distance education.

Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have a degree in communications, journalism, professional writing, English, media studies or a related field and provide evidence of a wide range of reading and general interests. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your HSC/ACT Year 12 with English. Most institutions in Australia offer courses in these areas. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact Open Universities Australia or the institutions you are interested in for more information as requirements may change.

Additional Information

    The Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd) runs a professional accreditation scheme, details of which can be found on its website.

    People usually proceed to the position of newspaper editor through the various stages of journalism. Newspaper editors therefore have a great deal of on-the-job experience.

    If you have spent some time as an editorial assistant with a publishing company, it may be possible to progress to the position of book editor. After working in other sections of a publishing firm (as a secretary or sales representative, for example), you may be able to move into a trainee editorial position.

    Editors are expected to be familiar with computers, including word processing software for editing and publishing layout programmes for typesetting.


Editors work in-house for commercial publishers or in publication units within government departments and other organisations. They may also work for organisations that produce publications such as newspapers or magazines. Experienced book editors may work on a freelance or contract basis. Some may form independent publishing houses.

In recent years, the publishing industry has seen a number of mergers and rationalisation of print production. There are now far fewer newspapers and publishing houses to provide entry into the profession. Technological advances have also changed the industry.

Only a few openings occur in publishing houses each year and competition for them is high. It is sometimes possible to enter publishing from an affiliated field, such as desktop publishing, teaching or printing. Advancement is dependent on a keen business and marketing sense, as well as capacity for hard work.

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More Information - External Links

Job Outlook for Editor Institute of Professional Editors Canberra Society of Editors The Society of Editors (NSW) Inc.

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