What is the Difference Between an Editor-in-Chief and a Managing Editor?

The difference between an editor-in-chief and a managing editor often depends on the specific publishing organization. However, there are traditional differences between the two jobs.

The Role of the Editor-in-Chief

An editor-in-chief is usually the highest ranking editor at a media organization. Even if they are referred to as executive editor, they will still be ultimately responsible for the company’s final products. Editor-in-chiefs set the content’s tone and editorial direction while also maintaining internal policies for all publications. They act as quality control managers by making sure that every issue consistently follows established measures. They have budgeting, strategic planning and PR duties. This means that they usually represent the company at business social events. Editor-in-chiefs very seldom write or edit columns and editorial pieces, even if the article expresses the company’s official viewpoint. Editor-in-chiefs typically earn an average salary of approximately $75,000 per year.

The Role of the Managing Editor

The managing editor is the front line supervisor who oversees the day-to-day operations of the company. They normally report to the editor-in-chief. The biggest portion of the managing editor’s job involves hiring, training and supervising assistant and associate editors. The managing editor’s job revolves around media and publishing administration, such as suggesting ideas, re-assigning articles, solving problems and keeping employees on schedule. The managing editor works with the department editors to rank the importance of articles and decide what goes on the front and the following pages. Because executive editors are so busy, managing editors are sometimes asked to represent the company at minor events, like community fundraisers and media outreach events.

Editor-in-Chief Job Description

An editor-in-chief at a magazine publisher must maintain the styles and editorial directions of very different magazine publications. This means that they must ensure a professional tone and resourceful format for magazines that are geared toward business executives, but they must also ensure an engaging and provocative tone for entertainment magazines. Regardless of the magazine, they will promote content quality and consistency. Depending on the magazine, they must identify critical issues and set the editorial agendas accordingly, which includes monitoring trends and consulting. Magazine editor-in-chiefs must leverage mobile and web-based metrics to drive relevant content that drives distribution and other key performance indicators.

Managing Editor Job Description

A managing editor at a magazine company will strive to generate unique story ideas that are assigned to the right writers. Once the articles are finished, they will have their assistants edit content and review the copywriting. They enforce the editor-in-chief’s establish content tone and editorial direction through holding employees accountable and managing the content flow. They are in charge of content calendaring and marketing efforts as well as social media programs and content. They may work with editorial assistants, freelance copywriters, merchandise vendors and industry experts. Managing editors should possess excellent organizational skills to manage diverse teams of writers and editors, but also technical skills to use various digital platforms, software programs and social media sites.

In the end, the difference between an editor-in-chief and a managing editor is that the first acts more as a leader and director while the second acts more as a supervisor and administrator.

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