What is a Desk Editor?

A desk editor might work for a book publisher or a publication like a magazine or newspaper. He or she is frequently a managing editor, which means he or she is in charge of a group of juniors. The main responsibility of this position is to manage the editing desk as a whole. A desk editor is typically in charge of ensuring that a publication meets quality standards and delegating assignments to those who report to him or her.

A newspaper’s desk editor, for example, may assign reporters to stories on a regular basis or during breaking news stories. A book publisher’s desk editors may delegate tasks to assistants. Regardless of whether this senior editor delegated or performed the work, he or she is ultimately responsible for ensuring that all issues published the publication are error-free. Desk editors must also ensure that everything adheres to house style, which refers to the specific design and appearance of each publication.

Most desk editors are used to working under duress. These editors must read everything that comes across the editing desk as well as communicate between different departments, in addition to managing staff and overseeing the quality standards of each issue. Desk editors, for example, may consult with marketing departments about book cover designs or advertising supplements in newspapers. A desk editor is always working to meet publishing deadlines and is in charge of making sure they are met.

A lot of work passes through the editing desk on its way to the managing editor for approval or development. If a piece of writing needs to be improved or developed further, the desk editor will decide whether to finish it or delegate it to an assistant. Desk editors must be able to communicate with authors effectively. They must be able to provide authors with information such as deadlines and writing style guidelines. While editorial assistants may make minor changes to the author’s work, the desk editor oversees the process to ensure that the publication’s standards are met.

A desk editor is usually enthralled the written word. His or her spelling, punctuation, and grammar must be impeccable. To work as an editor, you usually need a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, communications, or a related field. Some desk editors start out as writers and work their way up to tasks like fact-checking and proofreading. Eventually, becoming a supervising editor could lead to a management position in charge of the editing desk.