The Roll of the Editor

The newspaper has been around serving as the main conduit for delivery of information for generations. While it has been declining in recent years, it still remains a prominent staple of news deliverance. When in the newspaper or any news-providing business, one must be familiar with the many roles that are available and what functions said roles are responsible to fulfill.

There are the journalists/reporters who are responsible for writing article proposals and, if approved, obtain information through researching, interviews with the right people, and, if opinion, their own mouths. They then write the official report. There are company lawyers who read stories that may be sensitive to certain people or are controversial. They decide if such a story is safe to run or not. There are photographers who take the pictures with their artistic eye of people, places, or things to illustrate the article. There is the online staff that “produces the web content, flash animations, and edits Web-only features (Bloggers sometimes write about stories appearing in that day’s journal).” Due to the increasing interest in technology over traditional methods, they have become a major factor in the sharing of news and have since become a necessity for every newspaper. There are market data group who “collects information from stock exchanges to produce stock tables and, as a result, create the 4 p.m. ‘synthetic close’ so the Journal has one, authoritative, ‘closing price’ for each stock and a similar policy for after-hours quotations and answer research questions from reporters.” (Quora)

As stated by, newspaper editors in general “have the daily responsibility of deciding which news stories are printed in the paper. Long before the paper is published, the editor assigns reporters to cover the news, checks for accuracy and fairness in the newspaper’s articles and writes headlines. It is not unusual for a newspaper editor to have worked as a journalist or proofreader before becoming an editor.”

The role of an editor covers many aspects in the newspaper office. Due to the high number of responsibilities, their field is split into subgroups. In fact, there are around five subgroups. While each subfield is similar with similar responsibilities, there are notable difference between them. The differences of each type of editor’s responsivities depends on which subgroup they are in.

The first would be the Bureau chief / editor who has perhaps the highest job in the newspaper totem pole. Their role can be summed up as the “Boss,” (hence why they can be called ‘chief’ as well as ‘editor’). They hire and evaluate reporter, assign beats, have authority on which story proposals get written, and edits a reporter’s story proposal as well as other duties. They are very important in the hierarchy totem pole of the full newspaper’s staff.

The next one would be the section editor who is in charge of the feature pages. They receive story proposals and green-light them as well; unless, of course, the article isn’t right to make it to the print. They also edit the finished pieces of their sections in the newspaper. All in all, they handle the feature sections of the paper.

After that is the copy editor who edits for clarity, double-checks numbers and names to ensure everything is correct. They can also fill in facts that were not known at the time the article has been written. They serve as the figure head of editors as they proofread the reporters’ articles, which seem to be the primary act of editing.

The news editor “edits the stories that are going inside a section rather than on the front. They also “maintain the ‘sked’ of which stories are slated to go on which page and in which editions,” (Quora). These articles tend to be missed or ignored due to not being front page but the effort that goes into ensuring their perfection is no less than any of the others.

The last subgroup is managing editor/editor in chief/deputy managing editor. claims that “from the cub reporter’s perspective, they seemed to get directly involved in probably three or four stories a day, focusing on the front page.” These editors have to doubly make sure their work is right as they have the stories that are most read and mistakes are more likely to be noticed.

Note that a common responsibility is to decide what stories make it into the papers and which do not. The editors determine this by deciding if the story has enough detail and is in-depth enough to warrant a spot. Whether or not the news is “hard” or “soft” also helps where the story goes.

The serious news such as politics, economics, crime, war, and so on are considered hard news and, naturally, more likely to get past the editor’s red-light. Soft news, which can be referred to as infotainment, is usually just the reporter’s curiosity fueling a certain story and is therefore more likely to get cut, unless there would be a public interest in the topic alongside the reporter; that would increase its chances to get published in the newspaper. How it looks next to other articles can influence this to. Is it too similar or too different than the other stories? Is it in-depth or vague when compared to the article next to it? So many things must be considered before an article can be put in the paper.

However, editing is not solely for newspapers. Anyone who writes anything in hopes of getting the piece published must see an editor first. states that “An editor is someone who is a critical reader, and a lover of words. They will prepare a client’s manuscript for publication by polishing, refining and enhancing it. An editor is seen as a gatekeeper between the writer and audience, and they have to take a dual sided point of view in order to keep both parties happy.”

An editor is one of the most important roles a newspaper worker or any career involving writing can have. They ensure that the articles are safe and sound to publish and can be taken for truth. They make sure everything is correct and can be taken for fact. They have a job and they must do it well.




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