What exactly does an "Editor" do?

I am curious now. What exactly does an editor do? What are the expectations of him/her? What are expected to know? IE. Software, resources, background on the subject etc.

Any Editors out there can you give a day in the life account?




Depends what industry you’re in, and then whether you work for a local or foreign firm.

Let’s see. If it is one of the papers, you are proof reading and/or rewriting articles and writing headlines.

If it is the GIO, you are rewriting all the articles but do not have any right to plan any of the periodicals (like an editor at a normal magazine would) nor are you given any credit for writing the articles, even though in the end you’ve written every article.

I’m so glad I am out of the editing business.

Yes, a teensy-weensy masthead mention is cold comfort indeed.

Whoa!!! Pretty Swift!!! Great insight into the profession! Thanks for your contribution.


Ski :wink:

Yes, and at one of the local newspapers, you’re not really editing at all. You do, however, sit in front of a computer screen for 10 hours a day making pages, for 50,000 NT$ a month.

It was so tempting! :loco:

Don’ forget the drinking. It’s important.

And the Ed Asner sneers, the rolled up shirt sleeves and the unreasonable deadlines.

These are a few of my favourite things…

There are many different types of editors. (Sorry, the original document seems to have disappeared. But this can be read for now through Google’s cache.) The job definitions also differ by which field of publishing you’re talking about.

In Taiwan, most people seem to think that one “editor” not only can but should do all of the jobs listed in the document above, plus writing, plus translating (which has nothing at all to do with editing) – all for very little money, of course. :s

In a securities house the editor is de facto deputy head of research, but paid 1/1000 the salary. It’s great.

Ski, I can tell you that wonder’s comment of

[quote]Yes, and at one of the local newspapers, you’re not really editing at all. You do, however, sit in front of a computer screen for 10 hours a day making pages, for 50,000 NT$ a month.
It was so tempting! [/quote]
is utter bullshit. Nothing wonder said is correct. Editing is done, the hours are not that long, and the money is either more or less, depending on certain factors.
Oh, and wonder may have been tempted in his mind, but I am very sure he was never offered a position as an editor at a local newspaper (the Post and the News pay less that 50k and the TT has not offered a position to someone who refused their offer outright).
Look online for info on editing. I think you will find that there is a bit more to it than running a check of the spelling.
Also remember that some editing is done under a tight deadline, which can either be interesting if you are made of the right stuff, or terrible if not.

An editor rants and raves at freelance writers and photographers.

An editor chomps on a cigar, drinks too much coffee, rolls up his shirtsleeves, worships at the altar of the serial comma, and sleeps on a couch in his office.

An editor is the asshole who worries about all the little things no one else cares about. An editor sweats the big stuff–and the small stuff.

An editor is a word herder, the last line of defense, the arbiter of (the Chicago Manual of) style.

An editor’s patron saint? J. Jonah Jameson.

…and a walking thesaurus.

And editors are really smart and have huge


Wrong Mr. Wolf. :wink:

Be very careful when you use the word nothing. Now, if you would have used a more diplomatic term, such as “most of” or “almost all” of what wonder said was incorrect, then I would have been happily put in my place.

There’s really no need to get hostile on this subject.

However, sicne you have called me on the subject, allow me to explain. When I arrived in Taipei I answered an ad for one of the local newspapers. In the end, they did not offer me the job, but did tell me during the interview that the monthly salary was 50,000 NT$ for a minimum of 8 hours work each day. That usually ends up to be 9 or 10 hours on some days, depending on the size of the issue, amount of staff, and the variety of tasks the supervising editor assigns.

During the last few months, I have also made numerous inquiries into corportate editing and a few publishing houses, not that it has anything to do with newspaper “editing”. When you work as an editor for a newspaper, you normally do other tasks that are loosely related to editing, such a making pages. Most of these tasks will keep you chained to a desk and yes, staring at a computer monitor. :astonished:

I was merely making a point by exagerrating the duties of so called native English speaking editors. The point is, it’s simply not worth it in most cases here in Taiwan compared to the relative freedom and higher pay per day versus hours worked at most bushibans. You could easily get the same monthly pay at a bushiban for working half the time, or even less.

I think, Mr. Wolf, if you look at the responses to most of the inquiries to editing jobs, most people agree with my view. You really have to love the industry here to work at a newspaper, and more power to those who do.

So there, I managed to say that whole thing without becoming hostile toward you. :stuck_out_tongue:

But I can sit in front of a computer for 10 or 12 hours, and end up less tired than after teaching for 5 or 6 hours.

The China Post was offering exactly 50,000 a month the last time I heard.

The true answer, evidently, to the OP’s question: they spend most of the day perusing forumosa.


It’s a totally different topic. This fellow wants to learn about editing, not pal with a bunch of editors. I think the board is big enough for two threads about editing. :wink: