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Magazine features editor: job description

Magazine features editor: job description

Magazine features editors are responsible for overseeing the content and quality of magazine publications and for ensuring that features are topical, interesting and informative.
They plan the features section of the magazine, supervise writers and set deadlines.

What do features editors do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Typical responsibilities of the job include:

  • selecting articles for issues and planning publication contents
  • generating ideas for articles and features
  • organising meetings with writers and designers to discuss and plan the features section of the magazine
  • commissioning features and stories from in-house writers or freelancers
  • supervising staff, including freelance writers, and setting deadlines
  • reading, writing and researching features and articles
  • rewriting, editing, proofreading and subbing copy to ensure it is ready to go to press
  • attending relevant events, fairs and conferences
  • ensuring that all feature articles comply with ethical codes of practice and legal guidelines.

Typical employers of features editors

  • Major commercial publishers (such as IPC Media or EMAP)
  • Smaller specialist publishers
  • Online and digital media publishers
  • Consumer magazines
  • ‘In-house’ magazines for corporate customers
  • Customer ‘loyalty’ publications
  • Newspaper supplements
  • Business to business magazines

Vacancies are advertised via the internet, within the recruiting publication, in national newspapers, Press Gazette, Campaign, Broadcast and their respective websites. Speculative applications are advisable because some jobs are not advertised. Using contacts within the industry can be a good way to find out about opportunities. Directories such as Willings Press Guide and Benn's Media may be useful for direct approaches to employers. A few employers operate graduate trainee schemes.

Qualifications and training required

Although you do not technically need a degree to become a features editor, entry into the profession without a degree is now unusual.

The role is not available to entry-level candidates, so previous experience and training is usually essential. Recent graduates typically enter in the role of editorial assistant. An English or Media Studies degree or a qualification accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) may be advantageous. The NCTJ offers a qualification in magazine journalism that covers many of the fundamental skills required for the position. Working on a student magazine can often provide a good introduction to magazine journalism. Specialist knowledge or a scientific or technical background may be required for some vacancies. Prior relevant experience is essential.

To find out how to get into a career in editorial via a school leaver route, visit the media section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.

Key skills for features editors

  • Good general and current affairs knowledge
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • IT skills
  • Creativity
  • Confidence
  • Organisational skills
  • Determination and resilience
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