Editor Ētita/Kaiwhakatika

Editors plan, commission, evaluate, select, edit and organise material for publication online or in books, magazines, and newspapers. They may also manage editorial staff.

Editors may do some or all of the following:

  • edit online and print content and check it against guidelines, including legal requirements, and rewrite if necessary
  • proofread online and print content.

Commissioning editors or editors for news organisations or magazines may also:

  • decide what material to cover, and ensure it meets the needs of the audience
  • plan content layout
  • assign work to staff
  • ensure deadlines are met
  • hire and train editorial or writing staff.

To specialise as an editor in an academic discipline, such as law or medicine, you need to be qualified in that area.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for editors includes:

  • research, writing, editing or proofreading
  • management
  • journalism
  • administration
  • communications and marketing work.

Personal Qualities

Editors need to be:

  • organised and responsible
  • adaptable
  • enquiring and diplomatic
  • quick and accurate, with an eye for detail
  • able to work well under pressure
  • excellent problem solvers
  • skilled communicators.


Editors need to have:

  • excellent writing and editing skills, with a thorough knowledge of spelling, grammar and vocabulary
  • a good understanding of the processes involved in publishing print and online content
  • an understanding of the audience and what people want to read
  • skill using digital technology
  • knowledge of media law, including copyright and defamation.



  • usually work regular business hours but may work long hours and weekends to meet deadlines
  • usually work in offices or newsrooms
  • work in conditions that may be stressful due to deadlines.

Subject Recommendations

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become an editor. However, English, media studies, te reo Māori, design and visual communications (graphics), languages, and digital technologies are useful.

Editors can earn around $47K-$60K per year.

Pay for editors varies depending on experience and the type of work they do.

  • Editorial assistants usually start on the minimum wage.
  • Editors with one to three years' experience usually earn between $47,000 and $60,000.
  • Senior editors, publishers, or editors who manage staff usually earn between $60,000 and $90,000.

Freelance editors usually get paid an hourly wage.

Sources: Publishers' Association of New Zealand and Whitireia New Zealand, 2018.

Editors can progress into more senior positions or managerial roles.

They may also specialise in one of the following roles:

Commissioning Editor
Commissioning editors do market research to uncover what content is in demand, and commission authors and illustrators to create that content.
Copy Editor
Copy editors check written content to correct errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, and style before the content is published.
Newspaper or Magazine Editor
Newspaper and magazine editors plan and direct production and editing of a publication such as a newspaper, magazine or journal.
Online Editor
Online editors plan website pages, organise multimedia content, write headings and captions, and ensure material follows guidelines for web writing.
Production Editor
Production editors oversee the entire publishing process to make sure that content meets quality standards and is published on time. They may also be responsible for managing staff.
Publishing Editor
Publishing editors evaluate manuscripts of books or scripts to determine suitability for publication or production. They edit material in preparation for publication or production, and supervise others helping with this process.

Years Of Training

1-3 years of training usually required.

To become an editor you usually need to have a relevant qualification such as a:

  • diploma in publishing or editing 
  • tertiary qualification in an area such as English, journalism, communications, graphic arts, public relations or marketing.

It can also be useful to have experience in a relevant area such as:

  • communications
  • writing
  • journalism
  • public relations
  • linguistics.

However, some people with less experience may become editors of their own specialist publications.