News Editor (Female, Age 28) in Plainfield, IL

This is a REAL-LIFE job profile written by a Female aged 28 who works as a News Editor in Plainfield, IL. This professional kindly spent a bit of their time to complete our job profile survey so that prospective job seekers like you could read their insights. Please excuse any punctuation or grammatical errors in this profile.

At a Glance

Current Job

Basic data on your current job

Job TitleNews Editor
Salary$54,000
Other Compensation None Set
Hours/Week
Company Size(not answered)
LocationPlainfield, IL
Years Experience10 years

Career Ratings

Opinions on your CAREER overall (i.e. not just your current job)

Years in Career0
Education(not answered)
Income Rating0 / 10
Interest Rating0 / 10
Work-Life Rating0 / 10
Fulfilment Rating0 / 10

Table of Contents

Current job Q&A

Describe the type of organization you work for.
I work for a daily newspaper in a suburb of a large city. Our circulation is ranges from 30,000 to 55,000 daily

Describe your job role and responsibilities.
I edit articles, assign stories to reporters, design news pages, copy edit stories and oversee the copy desk.

Please list an additional benefits (beyond compensation) that you receive.
Three weeks vacation, four sick days per year, PPO health insurance and 401(k) with profit sharing.

Do you feel you are under/over or well/fairly compensated at your current position?
I receive more than the norm so that I make slightly more than the union employees I oversee.

Does your job entail you working with others on a daily basis? Is this something you like/dislike about your job? Please explain.
I oversee our team of copy editors and designers, check their work, schedule them, etc. I enjoy the editing and design aspect of the job more than the day to day management items. I also work with reporters to make their stories better and discuss how stories should be handled, which is satisfying when we see eye-to-eye. Similarly, I’ll work with photographers to give my opinion of which photos best suit the stories. That’s satisfying too, because when we work together, we end up with a better newspaper.

Do you work collaboratively with supervisors/managers?
Yes

Do you work collaboratively with your co-workers?
Yes

Describe your work location (e.g., office, home, theatre, in the field) and what you like/dislike about working in it.
As with any job that is a “craft,” the people on the creative side occasionally see editors as the enemy out to stop them from doing things the cool way. But then we do things that make what they do better, and they usually come to begrudgingly accept that we’re all here to do help each other. It’s rare to run into someone who is out to make the product worse or to sabotage co-workers.

Please rate each of the following aspects of your current job on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest/best):
Income: 2
Benefits: 4
Hours: 5
Co-Workers: 3
Supervisors: 1
Job Title: 5
Level of Responsibility: 1
The Actual Work: 1

A day in the life of…

Please describe a typical workday for you in your current job:

5am to 6am
6am to 7am
7am to 8amSleeping
8am to 9amSleeping
9am to 10amSleeping
10am to 11amSleeping
11am to 12pmI get up around 11:30 and get ready. I’m a night person.
12pm to 1pmI head into work around 1 p.m.
1pm to 2pmI arrive at work at 1:30 p.m., log into my computer, check e-mail and check voice mail. I head into a news meeting a few minutes later, meeting with other editors to discuss what should be in the paper the next day. We discuss while the day editor puts together a budget for what goes where. Whoever is working on the desk that day gets copies.
2pm to 3pmI sit at my computer and open news pages. I start to design them, finding out what stories and photos are available. If something is ready, I read it, write a headline, and save everything to the page it’s on. If something isn’t in yet, I leave space for it and plan to come back to it.
3pm to 4pmAs reporters turn in stories, I’ll jump into them to do a first read. (Traditionally, an editor does a first read, a copy editor does a second read.)
4pm to 5pmThroughout the day, I edit and layout out stories, but I also take phone calls from customers if needed, talk to reporters who have updates, tell photographers what I have and need, etc. There isn’t a set time to any of this. You might go an hour without anyone asking a question or your phone might ring off the hook for three hours, meaning you don’t get work done. Today, for instance, I spent 20 minutes listening to an angry customer who then felt better and was more likely to keep subscribing.
5pm to 6pmAs copy editor/designers finish pages, they print them up and give them to me, usually starting around 5:30 p.m. I examine the photos, stories, headlines, captions, design, etc., and mark up anything that is wrong or could be better. I open those page files on my computer, make my corrections and release the pages to our pre-press department.
6pm to 7pmI edit stories as they come in (the day editor is gone), write teasers on A1, put stories on pages, check pages the other copy editors have done, talk to reporters who need things.

If everything goes well, there is no breaking news. If something big happens (a fire, a tragedy), I send a reporter out and try to decide if I need a photographer. The reporter will call back to let me know what’s going on, and I’ll decide if it warrants a story and if so, where in the paper it will go.

7pm to 8pmI start getting nervous about deadline. We’ve still got a few hours, but I start opening pages that aren’t done to find out what we’re waiting on. Usually, we’re waiting on late lottery numbers, late weather information, obituary information from our classified department and any late-occurring news stories. If something else is missing, I call the reporter to find out why so I don’t end up with a big hole in the paper 10 minutes to deadline.

I’ll try to take a short dinner break around this time, but I usually end up with a microwaved meal at my computer.

8pm to 9pmI get information from the classified department. If the obituaries don’t fill the space allowed for them, I need to find stories to fill it. I look for extra local stories or I look on the wire for stories from The Associated Press that have local relevance.

I ask the night reporter to make final calls to local police and fire departments and to the coroner. Any late news will be added to the police blotter or made into a separate story, depending on how newsworthy I feel it is.

9pm to 10pmThis is the home stretch. We save Page A1 and the jump page for last, printing it out now for everyone on the desk to look at, not just me. I open each page and ask for corrections from each person. If I miss an A1 error, someone else is likely to catch it. I needs to be collaborative.

We do the same thing with the jump page. Then the deskers jump into those pages to do things to help send them off to our press. I usually ask them to spellcheck again, after I do, just to make triple sure there are no errors on those very important pages.

10pm to 11pmI take off at 10 p.m., our press time, but one worker stays behind to get late lottery numbers (10:03 p.m.) on a late page and to send it. He or she waits a few minutes and calls our press department to make sure they received everything. When they say everything looks good, he or she goes home.
11pm to 12amDinner time.

How you got your job

How did you get your current job?
I’ve worked my way up through our chain from part-time teen clerk to copy editor, to news editor. This job came because I was already doing most of after the previous news editor left.

What was the application process?
I’ve had to submit resumes for some promotions here, but I’ve worked in this chain since I was a teenager, so the most recent job was something I was offered out of the blue. An outside candidate would need to submit a resume.

Did you have to interview for your current job? If yes, what did the interview process entail?
This job did not, because I had already worked here for a while, and the management knew what I could do.

An outside candidate would have had to come in for two or more interviews, with the managing editor and with the copy desk, to make sure personalities meshed. The person may also have been asked to take a copy editing test on paper here.

If you can remember, what questions were you asked during the interview?
I wasn’t interviewed, but when we interviewed previous night editors, we asked about discipline style, how they held up under deadline pressure, etc.

Do you feel your employer properly prepared you for your job? Explain.
Yes, I do feel I was prepared. I wasn’t promoted into this until I was displaying and using the skills I’d need.

Was there training for your current position? If yes, what did it entail?
There was no official training, no.

At one point, I attended a day-long seminar to strengthen my skills as a new manager, but the rest of the skills were ones I picked up along the way.

Do you feel your educational background prepared you for your job? Explain.
Thank god for my English major. I’m a grammar nitpicker, which saves our paper a lot of errors. I’m also very well read, so I understand how written things should be structured to be understood and enjoyed.

If applicable, do you feel your internship experience helped you prepare for your job?
I job shadowed in a completely different field, while working for a newspaper. So it’s not applicable.

If someone wanted to go about getting a job similar to yours, what would you recommend for him or her to do?
Get your foot in the door any way you can. It’s not going to be the way you want it. You’re not going to apply for a news editor position without journalism experience and get it.

Offer to write a free column, apply for an internship, do what you need to do. Newspapers need people, but they don’t know they need YOU until you’re already there. You can usually work your way up quickly if you’re competent, kind and ready to work.

What skills do you think a person should have if they want to pursue a position like yours?
Technical skills: You need to be very computer and Internet savvy. Video and audio skills are a plus. Newspapers are put together on computers, and communication has move to e-mail. Newspaper companies are becoming online media companies. If you’re not Net savvy, you’ll get left behind.

Organization: You’ll need to be able to balance work being done on multiple pages, coming in at different times, in a deadline environment.

Social skills: You’ll need to get along with your writers, editors and photographer and you’ll need to be able to mollify angry customers who call. Being nice to one customer on the phone can save several subscriptions.

Graphic design and photo skills: You should know the basics of design, what looks good on a page, and have the know how to get it done in Quark or InDesign. Gone are the days where an editor can sit back and not be involved in production. You should also be familiar with digital photo basics: how to check photo size, etc.

Grammar skills: You need to be a star at the English language and the ins and outs of writing that make other people quiver. You should hate misplace apostrophes and openly malign the fact that no one seems to know how to use quote marks any more. If you’re iffy on punctuation, this isn’t the one for you. You should be very well read so that you know what makes a story flow well.

‘Trivial’ skills: You need to catch errors reporters make. This includes knowing that a year is wrong in a story that mentions a World War II battle or knowing the show is called “Today,” not “The Today Show.” It seems trivial, but knowing these things with help save the stories. Being well read and familiar with pop culture is a must.

Do you feel that you need a certain level of education or training to be successful in your job?
I think you do need a degree in journalism, English or communications to have a good grasp on what we’re doing and where the field is going.

What advice would you give to someone who was about to start work in your position/ line of work?
Be organized and work to surround yourself with people who can help you. Build a dream team, because this is a job that requires many people to work together to get it done. And on deadline, tempers can flare.

Learn to forgive yourself for errors before you start. You need to take mistakes seriously, but you can’t become paralyzed by errors you’ve made or mistakes you might make.

Long-term career plans

Is your current employment part of your overall career plan? Why or why not?
I hadn’t guessed I’d be here, but I’m happy I am.

I’ve worked my way up to this job, at my third paper in my chain.

I like the product we put out, I like that I’m a step up on the food chain.

What are your current career goals?
I just want to put out the best newspaper I can – be it in print or online – where I am. I don’t dream of writing the great American novel or working at the New York Times. There’s something noble about being in the trenches.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your career?
Don’t believe the movies. Newspaper editors aren’t in their own offices with their own assistants. It’s an involved job and involves more than a lot of people would ever guess. Jacks of all trades are welcome.

Prior work history

Please list your most recent jobs prior to this current job:

TitleLengthSalaryDescription
Prior Job 1copy editortwo years50000I was copy editing and designing the daily newspaper for which I’m now a news editor.
Prior Job 2copy editorthree years23000I was a special sections editor at a smaller newspaper in our company. I was coordinating and editing copy for infrequent sections, advertising sections and an entertainment section.

Educational background

Please list your educational background:

High School GPA:4.3

GPASchoolDegree
College (Undergraduate)
or Technical/Vocational
4Aurora UniversityEnglish
Graduate or Professional
(Masters or Doctorate)

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