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Editors at work (picture editor "Die Welt", 2012)

An editor (from Latin redigere , `` to bring back '', `` to put in order ''; 2nd participle redactum; in Switzerland and in the academic editing system also an editor ) is an employee in the press , radio , television , Internet or other media who is part of the editorial team takes on editorial tasks. Often it is a journalist who edits texts or writes himself. In the radio, for example in the radio play department, his work is similar to that of a lecturer . Often the editor is responsible for a certain subject area, a department . In terms of labor law, an editor can be a permanently employed journalist, but freelance work is common in many publishing houses. Employment as an employee-like person is typical for public broadcasting . He must adhere to the journalistic and political guidelines of the medium, which were given by the publisher.

The head of department is responsible for the departments, such as the classic ones such as politics, culture, local as well as business and sport; several editors report to him. The editor-in-chief or program director is responsible for the entire editorial work . At many newspaper publishers, supra-regional subject areas are grouped together in a single editorial office . The news desk is a relatively new form of organization : In an open-plan office, there are editors who are responsible for different subject areas and who plan the relevant articles and pages. The desk editors mostly coordinate the deployment of reporters and local journalists . Editors often work cross-media , i. H. In addition to the print edition, they also produce for the online and mobile versions of the title.


The editor's task is to use the wealth of information that reaches the editorial office (articles by correspondents, journalists, volunteers and freelancers, reports from news agencies , press offices or from social media ) to find the information that is interesting and for readers, listeners or viewers to filter out significant contributions and prepare them for the next print edition , the next broadcast ( radio , television ) or continuously for the Internet . Above all, the target group of the publication must be in the foreground and it must be worked out which reports or news are of interest to them. He also acquires photos, infographics, caricatures and audiovisual material for his department. An editor also does his own research by telephone, in libraries, on the Internet or in locations that are currently going on, conducts meetings and interviews and then writes his own articles for his department. Basically, the three cornerstones of the message apply : new - important - interesting . Texts that have not been written by the author are edited (see editing , hence the term editor). In the print media, years ago the typesetter still set the pages of the newspaper with lead letters, today, thanks to computer technology, the design ( layout ) of the pages is often the responsibility of the editors, and they are also responsible for formulating the headings and captions, so-called Short texts, responsible. The editor also works in development teams as part of the concept development for new publications (print and online) or audio and television programs.

TV editorial office

In large television broadcasters there may also be other structures above the editorial level: program groups or program areas instead of the departments. The planning editor (planner) and the editor on duty (RvD) are the first in the editorial office in the morning. The planner evaluates the reporting situation, researches topics and sends the editors or reporters to the location of the event. The Duty Chief (CvD) is responsible for all news and programs of the day and is responsible for the content of the main edition. The editors receive a film team ( EB team ) from the scheduling department . You will discuss the editorial content with the cameraman and the possibilities of converting it into images. The television editor has a basic knowledge of camera work and that of mostly digital image editing. In contrast to the print media and radio, the television editor has to think in pictures. Every television report is a collaboration between the editor, the cameraman, EB technician and the editor . In some editorial offices it is common for the editor to speak the text (off-text) for his contribution.


The job description of an editor should not be confused with that of a technical editor .

In addition, in journalism he distinguishes himself from the tasks of a reporter , who procures information directly on site and takes care of his own contribution, while the editor keeps an eye on the topics and news as well as the entire media product.


Editing is the generic term for those journalistic activities that aim to create a content-related and formal unit from the material received. Editing stands for selecting, editing and presenting the material in the form appropriate to the medium. Editing is reduced to the essentials, texts are made understandable and tailored to the target group. The following improvements are aimed for:

  • content: correctness of the facts, meaning
  • formal: structure, spelling, grammar, punctuation
  • linguistic and stylistic: choice of words, comprehensibility

and in the online area additionally:

  • Create connections
  • Include links as an asset

Editing is more than checking spelling and grammar. Correct editing includes all activities of journalists, from planning to research and writing to fitting texts into the layout. The quality of a text depends crucially on a careful and professionally carried out correction process. He also determines the credibility. Ideally, editing should be a firmly established working technique in every online editorial office . It has become common practice in the online editorial offices to publish first in order to correct the texts afterwards. This approach is up-to- date and saves valuable time, but the credibility of the text is placed in the background. Many semi-professional or PR-oriented sources, such as clubs, associations and parties, would require a lot of editing skills, which, however, are often not available. A study of media content found that only 57.2% of respondents verified the accuracy of the content. To make matters worse, there is great uncertainty even when checking the spelling due to the new official regulations. Editing is also the technical term for revising the content and language of a text in the newspaper. This revision takes place in the editorial office.

Six aspects to consider when editing:

  1. Content: correctness of the facts, reasoning, logic
  2. Structure: form of representation , dramaturgy
  3. Style: appropriateness of tone, intelligibility of terms, sentence length
  4. Language: orthography, grammar
  5. Layout: cuts, paragraphs
  6. Duktus: writing style of the "house"

Paying attention to all six aspects at the same time is difficult. The corrector must be informed which aspects he should primarily consider. He should also know the target group and the intention of the text. In some cases it also makes sense to provide the corrector with additional material such as sources or text templates. For this reason, targeted communication is absolutely essential for any successful correction process. In order to ensure the timely appearance of the article, the reviewer must be set a time limit. It must be ensured that he is given enough time for a careful examination. If too many people are involved in the correction process, the work becomes inefficient.

To ensure that the correction process is as effective and time-saving as possible, suitable correctors should be selected depending on the problem or topic of the article . The supervisory authority varies from editor to editor, but the following four roles usually come into question:

  • Editors
  • Editors with a special function or position in the editorial office ( copywriter , head)
  • Editors with special skills (expertise, journalistic experience)
  • In the online area, editing is often given to the outside world (trend towards decentralization can be seen)

Situation in Germany

Editor is not a protected job title, but a job description. The editor is usually employed and takes on defined tasks within an editorial team, but usually has a certain degree of freedom to order or to produce texts or contributions. These are processed by him and responsible to the editorial team. As a rule, entry into the profession leads to freelance activities via an internship or a visit to a journalism school , which may lead to employment or a temporary or project contract.

If payment is made according to the collective agreement , the editor receives a fixed salary, the minimum rate is set in the collective wage agreement. However, it only applies if the employer and employee are bound by collective agreements. The general collective agreement regulates the duration of working hours, vacation entitlement, retirement benefits and other things.

The history of the press begins with the Fugger newspapers , cf. Main article press story . In Germany, the editors' law was enacted in 1933 , see also the history of the press under National Socialism .


See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Editor  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : (Contributors) Editors  - Collection of images, videos, and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Content Study 2006/2 , on contentmanager.de