Newspaper Editors


Education and Training Requirements

High School

English is the most important school subject for any future editor. You must have a strong grasp of the English language, including vocabulary, grammar, and punctuation, and you must be able to write well in various styles. Study journalism and take communications-related courses. Work as a writer or editor for your school paper or yearbook. Computer classes that teach word processing software and how to navigate the Internet will be invaluable in your future research. You absolutely must learn to type. If you cannot type accurately and rapidly, you will be at an extreme disadvantage.

Other subjects are important, too. Editors have knowledge in a wide range of topics, and the more you know about history, geography, math, the sciences, the arts, and culture, the better a writer and editor you will be.

Postsecondary Training

Look for a school with strong journalism and communications programs. Many programs require you to complete two years of liberal arts studies before concentrating on journalism studies. Journalism courses include reporting, writing, and editing; press law and ethics; journalism history; and photojournalism. Advanced classes include feature writing, investigative reporting, and graphics. Some schools offer internships for credit.

When hiring, newspapers look closely at a candidate's extracurricular activities, putting special emphasis on internships, school newspaper and freelance writing and editing, and part-time newspaper work (stringing). Typing, computer skills, and knowledge of printing are helpful.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There are no certification or licensing requirements for newspaper editors.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

News editors are among the most experienced workers on a newspaper. They should be skilled at assessing story angles and ideas, fine-tuning others’ writing, and creating headlines that will grab readers’ attention. News editors need a solid background in planning content for publication in a variety of media, including print, blogs, and Web sites. Editors should have experience overseeing others in a fast-paced environment. They must be patient as reporters flesh out details of stories and have a proven track record in meeting deadlines. Oftentimes they act as mentors, motivating and encouraging their reporters.

To be a successful newspaper editor, you must have a love of learning, reading, and writing. You should enjoy the process of discovering information and presenting it to a wide audience in a complete, precise, and understandable way. You must be detail oriented and care about the finer points of accuracy, not only in writing, but in reporting and presentation. You must be able to work well with coworkers, both giving and taking direction, and you must be able to work alone. Editors can spend long hours sitting at a desk in front of a computer screen.