Editorial Research Assistants


Employment Prospects


Editorial research assistants work for newspapers, magazines, and book publishers. Many publishers are located in New York City, as well as in large cities across the country. Other employers of editorial research assistants include advertising agencies; colleges and universities; corporations; museums; nonprofit organizations; local, state, and federal governments; and radio and television news stations.

Starting Out

Editorial research assistant is an entry-level position that is highly sought after. Applicants should be as prepared as possible to gain an edge in the job market. Some of the ways that assistants get a foot in the door are through college internships and/or summer and part-time jobs at publishing companies. Applicants for editorial research positions are usually expected to take and pass tests that are designed to determine their language skills.

Good sources of information about job openings for editorial research assistants are school career services offices, classified ads in newspapers and trade journals, specialized publications such as Publishers Weekly (https://www.publishersweekly.com), and media-related career Web sites, such as mediabistro.com (https://www.mediabistro.com). Another way to proceed is to identify local publishers through the Yellow Pages. Many publishers have Web sites that list job openings.

Advancement Prospects

Editorial research assistants with several years or more of successful work experience may advance to become associate research editor, and then senior research editor. They may also advance to the position of research project editor. The project editor performs a wide variety of tasks, including copyediting, coordinating the work of in-house and freelance copy editors, and managing the schedule of a particular project. With many years of progressive advancement, they may become managing editor, then editor in chief. These positions involve more management and decision making than is usually found in the positions described previously. The editor in chief works with the publisher to ensure that a suitable editorial policy is being followed, while the managing editor is responsible for all aspects of the editorial department.

Editorial research assistants may also advance with the research department of companies, taking on greater responsibilities and earning higher wages. Some research assistants branch out into careers in writing.

In many cases, editorial research workers advance by moving from a position in one company to the same position with a larger or more prestigious company. Such moves may bring significant increases in both pay and status.

Tips for Entry

Read publications such as Editor & Publisher (http://www.editorandpublisher.com) and the news section of ACES (https://aceseditors.org) to learn more about the field.

Visit the following Web sites for job listings:

  • http://www.bookjobs.com/search-jobs
  • https://www.glassdoor.com/Job/editorial-researcher-jobs
  • https://www.mediabistro.com/jobs

Ask your school's career services office for help with getting an internship at a publishing company. You can also search for internships on this Web site: http://bookjobs.com/search-internships.

Attend publishing conferences to network, improve your skills through continuing education, and interview for jobs. A useful list of conferences is available at http://bookjobs.com/publishing-events.

Follow publishing companies and key professionals in the field on social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to stay up to date on industry developments and learn about job openings.