Executive Editor

Manage both the creative and business sides of a publication.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$29,000 – $97,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Executive Editors do?

Most editorial departments are structured like trees (really grammatically correct ones), with Editors on every branch. At the very top is the Editor-in-Chief, who in the modern corporate world is often called the Executive Editor. Perched on the tree’s highest branch, the Executive Editor is in charge of both business and content.

On the branches below the Executive Editor, meanwhile, are Associate Editors, senior Editors, and Managing Editors. And the lowest branches are home to Assistant Editors and Editorial Assistants.

On the content side of your job as an Executive Editor, you write articles — editorials and Editors’ letters, in particular — and help edit the publication for grammar, punctuation, spelling, and style, as well as ethics breaches like plagiarism. Mostly, though, you serve as the publication’s strategic compass, setting its mission, vision, and voice, then ensuring that Editors and Writers adhere to and uphold all three.

On the business side, you’re in charge of people, processes, and resources. That means you manage production — encompassing editorial, design, and even advertising sales — and hire, supervise, develop, and discipline the editorial staff. You also manage editorial budgets, including budgets for Freelance Writers, art, and printing. In addition, you represent the publication to the public, which might involve answering reader mail and addressing reader complaints, speaking at events, or serving as a media Spokesperson.

If your publication were a baby — and to you, it is — you’d be its parent. You have a staff of Editors to help you care for it, but the responsibility of raising it is ultimately all yours!

Should I be an Executive Editor?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • How to become an Executive Editor

    Most Executive Editors have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:bff9ce&chl=no+college+%282%25%29|certificate+%287%25%29|associate%27s+%287%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2875%25%29|master%27s+%283%25%29|doctorate+%286%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,2,75
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