The main thing an editor does is decide what goes in the magazine they
work for. They can also delegate stories to writers, write stories themselves,
proofread other stories, lay out the page and perform a wide variety of other
Different magazines may have other staff members handle some of these
Mainly, it comes down to a love of writing.
"I like that I get to be immersed in writing, that I get to deal with words
all day long," says Nina Pearlman, executive editor of a New York-based music
"I like the chance to work with other writers on their own writing -- it's
like getting to be a teacher, except I don't have to stand in front of a classroom,
and can work one-on-one with the writers."
There are also different levels of editors at most magazines. While some
weekly publications may have different editors for the arts and news sections,
monthly magazines could have a different editor to handle the review sections
for movies or music. The main editor usually oversees all the content that
these individual editors are responsible for.
Every day can bring new surprises to a magazine editor. While there is
a set structure to the schedule of the publication, anything can happen when
you are responsible for what people are reading in your magazine. Anything
from angry phone calls to more pleasant thank-you letters are par for the
course. And because it's usually a job with semi-regular office hours, people
know where to find you...so you never know who may pop in!
People interested in becoming an editor should be outgoing, have enough
stamina to make it through the crazy days, be able to write, be very organized
and perhaps have sales experience. They must also be detail-oriented and able
to work with deadlines.