Editor in Chief Job Description

Editor in Chief Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of an editor-in-chief. Feel free to use our editor-in-chief job description template to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as an editor-in-chief.


Who is an Editor In Chief?

An Editor in Chief is also called by the following names: managing editor, editorial chief, publishing house director, publications manager, and executive editor. He or She oversees the production of publications; they are saddled with the responsibility of reviewing content such as articles, photographs, and developing strategies, and guidelines editor-in-chief is the highest-ranking member of an editorial team at a publication. They manage a team of writers, and editors and they have the final say on what will be published.

They are other synonyms or titles, such as lead editor and chief editor which is usually the highest position. The editor-in-chief sets the tone, and editorial direction and also sets policies for publication. He is also involved in strategic planning and budgeting in an organization. He or she also represents the publication at any social and business event. For instance, an editorial chief can attend a function that matter to his readers. An editor–in–chief also writes an occasional column or editorial piece expressing the company’s opinion about a pressing issue in society. An editorial chief working in a larger organization may delegate some responsibilities to editors of specific sections or departments.

An editor-in-chief normally works during business hours, from Monday to Friday. However, they can also work weekends if the demand or the workload is high.


Editor in Chief Job Description

Below are the editor-in-chief job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write an editor-in-chief job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

The followings are the duties and responsibilities of an editor-in-chief:

  • Determine Publishing guidelines: An Editor chief is the highest-ranking editor in a media group or a team of editors and decides the tone and scope of the publications. He or she instructs editorial staff, and writers to make sure that articles are written or topics comply with the house style of the organization and also decides the final publication of the day.
  • Create an Editorial Board: an editorial board is an outline of each issue. The editor-in-chief is responsible for reviewing content and is responsible for making sure content matches the publication scope.
  • Hires and guides the editorial team: the editorial chief is the leader of the editors and he instructs them. The team comprises senior editors, junior editors, and in-house and freelance writers. The editor-in-chief is responsible for hiring new writers and editors to the department and giving them publication guidelines.


In addition, the editor-in-chief can also fire any writer or editor that does not comply with the organization’s policies.

  • Write Editorials: Editorials are the opinion of a newspaper or magazine over a pressing issue prevalent in society. A news organization is supposed to be neutral in its report and an editorial is the only platform media organization are allowed to air out their views.

The editor-in-chief is responsible for writing editorials but sometimes senior or junior editors can write the editorial. The editorial chief can sometimes write the introductory part which will serve as the prologue of the issue then other editors can complete the piece. The fact is that whether an editor-in-chief writes the article or not, he has the final say on the publication.

  • Reviews Content: The editor-in-chief reviews the content of each issue and ensures it is free of grammatical and spelling errors. In a large organization, the editorial chief can delegate this responsibility to other editors and writers to manage and in the end, Do a final review to ensure that the content is up to publication standard. For smaller organizations, the editor-in-chief is more involved in the editing and writing process multiple times. He or she goes over and over again to review the content to make sure it is at his best. This is called copy
  • Manage the Budget: The editor-in-chief manages the budget allocated to publication and determines where the money will be channeled. This means they may decide to allocate resources to market efforts, increase pay rates, hire new staff or become more competitive.
  • Represent the Publication: The editorial chief’s job is not just about sitting at the desk and editing articles but sometimes they have to present a publication. They can present this publication at fundraising, social event gathering, seminars, and conferences. The public is a vital part of marketing and fundraising for publication.



  • A bachelor’s degree in journalism, English language, communication,or a related field
  • Previous proven knowledge as an editor
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Paying attention to details
  • Leadership skills
  • Good decision-making skills
  • Strong writing and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to have a good sound judgment
  • Technological skills


Essential Skills

There are essential skills and competencies that an editor-in-chief must possess and they are:

  • Proofreading: Proofreading skills involve identifying grammatical errors and spelling errors. It also involves ensuring that the style and the tone of the writing are perfect. An editor-in-chief must be proficient in the English language to be able to correct all these errors before publication. He can also take advantage of technology by using apps such as copy space or Grammarly to proofread an article.
  • Copy-editing: this involves reading an article all over again to ensure that the information is accurate, consistent, and free from repetition. Copy-editing is very complicated and most times it is difficult for someone to edit an article he wrote. The best way is for a junior editor to write an article and then the editorial chief will edit the article.
  • Paying strong attention to detail: an editor-in-chief must be very focused and consistent with his job. He or she must be able to identify small and large details to make an article accurate. He or she must comply with the appropriate tone for their publication.
  • Organization and time-management skills: an editor-in-chief needs excellent organization and time-management skills to ensure that they can prioritize tasks, set deadlines, and complete projects at the appropriate time. This will help them to increase efficiency and productivity in an organization.
  • Interpersonal Skills: this involves the ability to communicate perfectly and professionally to build a strong bond among the team of employees. An editor-in-chief has authority over the team and he serves as a representative of the team at social events and gatherings. So he needs to have strong listening skills, empathy, and the ability to build positive professional relationships.
  • Excellent editorial judgment: an editor-in-chief must know how to verify articles for references and accuracy. Especially in articles about historical events, he or she must ensure the information is accurate. The need to identify if the content is appropriate for publishing and determine the right time to publish such content.
  • Communication Skills: this skill is a core skill that an editor-in-chief must possess to pass the right message across. He must have verbal and written communication skills. He needs strong communication skills to provide feedback to writers, journalists, and editors in a positive manner that encourages the development and the success of the organization.
  • Leadership Skills: Leadership is the ability to have the foresight and direct others in a manner that results in the success of the entire group, the editor-in-chief has the highest-ranking position. The editorial chief must encourage and motivate other members of the editorial team to bring about tremendous success in the organization. He or she must also settle conflicts among staff if an issue springs up.
  • Creative Vision: it is highly requisite for editors-in-chief to be creative so that they can brainstorm and come up with excellent content. This content will fix complicated problems. For instance, if the organization has limited readers, they can brainstorm and come up with ideas on how they can reach a wide range of readers even globally.
  • Editorial Skills: The editorial chief needs to have a strong command of the English language. He must have an analytical mindset to be able to provide solutions to challenges society is facing by writing editorials. They must also be neutral in their publications to bring about development in society. The media is considered the hope of the common man, the editor-in-chief must be someone compassionate to the plight of people in the society and he or she should be able to write excellent articles that give a correct picture of the society.


How to Become an Editor-in-Chief

These are the following steps an individual must follow to become editorial chief and they are:

  • Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

An editorial chief is a high-ranking position and the minimum qualification is a bachelor’s degree in English Language, Communication, Journalism, or a similar field. Certain employers may accept candidates that have degrees in different fields; if the organization’s publication correlates with that field. For instance, they can accept someone that studies psychology in the field to write psychological articles. An editor-in-chief can also acquire experience during his bachelor’s degree program. He can work in the school’s newspaper or magazine publication to gain relevant experience.

Some employers may also love a candidate with a master’s degree because an editorial chief position is a high-ranking position. You can enroll for a master’s degree in communication or journalism to master the art of editing. Some schools also offer certificates in copywriting, you may want to consider such.

  • Gain Working Experience

You need to gain relevant working experience before becoming an editor-in-chief because the job requires a sophisticated fellow in the field of editing. Most employers prefer candidates who at least have five years of working experience working in publishing as an editor. Certain publications especially magazines which are released periodically prefer candidates who have worked in that field. For example, health magazines may prefer someone that is a nutritionist or dietician.

You should gain relevant work experience as early as possible so that you can be promoted to the position of editor-in-chief. As an entry-level employee, you may start as a freelancer, copywriter, or editorial assistant in a local newspaper. As you continue, you may start working full-time as a junior editor for a newspaper or magazine.

  • Earn Professional Certifications

Acquiring professional certifications will enable you to impress your future employers. Editors can earn professional certifications in copywriting to gain advanced knowledge of their position, harness new skills, and prove and enhance the present skills they have to further build their careers. These are the following certifications in copy editing that you can acquire and they are:

  • Writer’s Digest Copy-editing Certification

This is a 10-week course that covers all the rudiments of grammar, and punctuation as well as guidelines in drafting composition. It teaches you advanced copy-editing skills and how to write using the right style of writing. Students who complete all the tests, assignments, and exams for the course receive documentation for Writer’s Digest after the course.

  • Poynter ACES Certificate in Editing

The American Copy Editors Society (ACES) and Poynter Institute’s News University came together and brought about this certification. This is a six-month course and a self-empowerment program that covers standards, essential skills, and the best practices for editing.

  • Advanced Editing Certificate Program

This program is a two-part course that comprises seven self-paced courses that help experienced editors to refine their skills.

  • Earn promotions to become an editor-in-chief

The position of editorial chief is a high-ranking managerial position that requires a combination of formal education and real-world experience. Many editors-in-chief start careers as, journalists, junior editors, or editorial assistants. The job requires someone to start at the bottom level and get to the top. To be an editor-in-chief you must start somewhere that is from the position of a junior editor, associate editor, senior editor, and deputy editor. Once you attain the position of editor-in-chief you become the highest-ranking professional within the editorial team.


Where can an Editor–in–Chief Work?

An editor-in-chief primarily works in the media sector of society. An editor-in-chief may work for a newspaper, magazine, book publisher, or academic journal. They can also be in charge of the digital and print publication of a company. As the world is going global, they can also work as remote editor-in-chiefs.


Editor-in-Chief Salary Scale

  • In the United States, the average salary of an editor-in-chief is estimated at $71,024 per year. The salaries of an editor-in-chief vary based on the level of experience and education. The salary also varies based on the geographical location of the editor.
  • In Nigeria, an editor-in-chief earns 400,000NGN.


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