How to Become a Digital Editor

Illustration of digital editor working on laptop with desk phone, notebooks, loose, writing utensils and coffee.

Digital editors of print are responsible for taking content, such as articles and blog posts, and ensuring they are organized and optimized for publishing on a variety of platforms. Editors can work in multiple spheres, from multi-national corporations such as Apple or Amazon to local news stations. They serve as the last pair of eyes to review digital copy for accuracy and quality prior to being published.

What are Digital Editors and What Do They Do?

Digital editors perform a variety of functions. They can assign and coordinate pieces of content to writers and then polish and format the drafts. Once fully satisfied the materials meet brand requirements, editors publish them on various platforms, whether it’s social media, a company’s website or both.

Editors look in-depth at content to proofread and edit for clarity and quality, which ensures a consistent customer experience. Editing involves taking a deeper look at the writing, including grammar, style, and tone. If necessary, they may revise or rewrite portions of the document to fix any problems with transitions or diction. Often, the editing process is a collaborative one, and editors provide feedback to writers rather than doing the revisions themselves. Proofreading, which is typically done as a last step on a nearly finished piece, focuses on fixing minor text and formatting errors.

Editors work based off a style guide to ensure consistency across multiple writers. Style guides outline the standards for writing and formatting text within an organization and can vary between media types. Editors also rely on outside style guides, such as the Associated Press Stylebook (AP), which is used across multiple industries. The “Chicago Manual of Style” (Chicago), “MLA Handbook” and “Elements of Style” are also common resources for editors.

According to PayScale, digital editors earned a median annual salary of $48,070 per year, though that figure varies depending on experience and employer.

How to Become a Digital Editor?

Aspiring editors often work on student newspapers and other student-run publications while in college and may also freelance for a website. Internships are also a common way for students to gain experience, as well as learn to work on tight deadlines. It can take as little as one year of experience in a professional setting for a college graduate to become a digital editor, though they may begin their careers as a staff writer.

There are many educational paths that can lead to becoming a digital editor. Most editors have bachelor’s degrees in communications, journalism, English or a related subject, and each degree lends itself to a specific type of editing. A communications degree is recommended for those wishing to pursue a career in digital editing, while a journalism degree is often the first step on the career path for a news editor.

Online communications degree programs are an excellent option for those wanting to maximize the amount of time used to gain experience in the field; Alvernia University’s fully online program is designed with working adults in mind, so you can balance your education with your busy life. Graduates of our traditional program have been employed by a variety of media, including the Rachael Ray Show, CNN’s Washington Bureau, Fox News, C-SPAN, WIP Sports Radio, and QVC.