Discover your career path

Magazine Editor

Prepare magazines for publication.

What does a Magazine Editor do?

A magazine editor plans, manages, and produces magazines for readers. If you’ve seen the 2006 film , then you’ve seen a magazine editor. In the movie, Meryl Streep plays the part of Miranda Priestly, the tyrannical editor of a New York fashion magazine who spends her days berating employees, barking orders, and binging on glamour.

It’s a mistake to use her as your model for a magazine editor, though—even if Streep’s character is loosely based on Anna Wintour, the real-life editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine. Unless you’re playing one in a movie, your job as a magazine editor isn’t cruelly controlling people; it’s creatively commanding pages.

You might do that for a consumer magazine like Cosmopolitan, a special interest magazine like Cat Fancy, or a trade magazine like Convenience Store News. Regardless, you typically spend your days doing a wide range of activities. Depending on what type of magazine editor you are—an associate editor, for instance, a senior editor, a managing editor, or an editor-in-chief—you might create editorial calendars, develop story ideas, or manage writers. You might also assign, write, or edit stories, or manage the production process by delegating tasks to editors and art-directors.

The more junior you are, the more likely it is that you spend your days doing tactical tasks like writing and proofreading. The more senior you are, on the other hand, the more likely it is that you do strategic tasks like editorial planning and management. Always, however, your goal isn’t creating an office that scares people; it’s creating a magazine that engages them!