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Senior Editor Job Description

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Senior editors oversee the content creation process, and manage junior editors. The senior editor and his or her editorial team proofread text and improve its clarity, spelling and punctuation. Senior editors are responsible for maintaining consistency, readability and accuracy. Successful editors expedite content development while ensuring the content’s quality. The most sought-after career opportunities for senior editors include positions with marketing or PR agencies, and high-profile publications.


Senior editors are experienced in improving text, and grow into leadership roles managing other editors. They develop strong skills for efficiently preparing content for publication and maintain productive working relationships with writers, designers and other editors. Efficiency and objectivity are paramount. A senior editor is ultimately responsible for helping content succeed in the content creation and publishing processes.


Most editor positions call for college degrees in journalism, communications, English or other relevant academic fields. In some cases, editors may also be required to hold degrees in the subjects covered by their publications topical focus. Senior editors are expected to have high levels of ability with grammar, spelling and style guidelines. In this digital age, editors are increasingly required to gain skills for publishing software and online media. Senior editors are generally required to earn promotions from junior positions and demonstrate mastery of subject matter relevant to their publications.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2010 median annual pay for editor jobs was $51,470. The highest-paid 10 percent of editors reportedly earned more than $96,800 in 2010. Working in web content creation can be paid by the project and some freelance editors earn less than the national minimum wage for their work. The BLS reports that their earning power and ongoing, overlapping deadlines often cause senior editors to endure stress, fatigue and other emotional burdens.


Editorial work continues to shift from print to web and digital publication. In spite of this change in terms of media, the BLS predicts 1 percent job growth for editors from 2010 to 2020. The growth of digital publishing is essentially replacing print publishing work for editors in direct proportion. Consequently, competition for desirable senior editor jobs is particularly strong. Intense competition and ongoing changes in publishing technologies make editors’ ability to adapt crucial to their ability to find work.

Editors salary

  • Top 10% Annual Salary: More than $126,800 ($60.96/hour)
  • Median Annual Salary: $63,400 ($30.48/hour)
  • Bottom 10% Annual Salary: Less than $33,620 ($16.16/hour)

Chuck Dye is a professional copywriter and award-winning journalist. His experience includes reporting and copy editing, earning awards from the Football Writers Association of America and Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. Dye holds a master's degree in communications and a bachelor's degree in journalism, both from the University of Oregon.

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