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Features editing: graduate area of work

Magazine features editors are responsible for overseeing the content and quality of magazine publications and for ensuring that features are topical, interesting and informative.

Magazine features editors are employed by major commercial publishing companies (such as TI Media, Future plc, Ascential and others), smaller specialist publishers, online/digital media publishers and publishers that produce ‘in-house' magazines for corporate customers and customer ‘loyalty' publications.

Typical responsibilities of the work include:

  • generating ideas for articles
  • organising and running team meetings
  • selecting articles for particular issues and planning publication contents
  • supervising staff including freelance writers
  • reading, writing and researching articles
  • attending relevant events, fairs and conferences
  • writing, rewriting, editing and proofreading text
  • meeting and liaising with staff including artists and photographers
  • commissioning stories from in-house writers or freelancers.

What's required

Although it is possible to enter the profession without a degree, most new recruits are graduates or postgraduates below the age of 30. A degree in English or media studies, or a postgraduate qualification accredited by the NCTJ, may be advantageous. Specialist knowledge or a scientific or technical background may be required for some vacancies.

It is essential to gain prior relevant experience via freelance work, publishing articles for magazines, student newspapers, free/local papers, writing competitions, voluntary work etc. Features editors need to possess a good sense of humour, should have good general or current affairs knowledge and excellent oral and written communication, interpersonal, IT and creative skills. Employers look for candidates who are confident, organised, determined and resilient.

Where to find out more

Vacancies are advertised via the Internet, in the publication that is recruiting, in national newspapers, Media Week, Press Gazette, Campaign and Broadcast. Many jobs receive little advertising, so networking, job shadowing and speculative applications are advisable. Directories such as Willings Press Guide and Benn's Media Directory may be useful for direct approaches to employers. Some employers operate graduate trainee schemes - early applications for such positions are advisable.