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Media

Sub-editor

Sub-editors check written content before it's published in newspapers, magazines and on websites.

Annual Salary

£22,000 to £45,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 39 variable

You could work: evenings / weekends; flexibly

3.5%
Future employment

There will be 3.5% more Sub-editor jobs in 2026.

Day to day tasks

You will:

  • make sure articles are accurate, read well and do not break libel or copyright laws
  • edit articles to make them clearer or shorter
  • make sure articles follow house style
  • write headlines, captions and short paragraphs which lead into articles, and 'panels'
  • which break up the text
  • make sure articles are in the right place on each page
  • use page layout and image editing software
  • send completed pages to the printers
  • work closely with reporters, editors, designers, production staff and printers

Working environment

You could work in an office.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • specialist courses offered by professional bodies
University

You’ll usually need a degree in a relevant subject like:

  • English
  • journalism
  • media studies

You can find relevant courses accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists.

You can do a postgraduate journalism course if your first degree is not in a related subject.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course
For more information
College

The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) has advice on bursaries and funding to encourage greater diversity in journalism.

Apprenticeship

You can work towards this role by starting with a higher apprenticeship like:

  • journalist
  • senior journalist

For more information
Work

You may be able to work your way into this job by starting as a reporter with a regional newspaper or magazine. This can help you to build up your experience of proofreading and text editing.

It will also allow you to develop a portfolio of work that you can use to showcase your skills to potential employers.

Volunteering and work experience

You'll need to get some experience before applying for your first job in newspaper or magazine journalism and moving on to sub editing.

You could:

  • volunteer for student or local community newspapers
  • start a blog
  • build your social media and professional networking presence
  • submit articles and reviews to regional newsgroups or smaller magazine companies
  • volunteer to help a charity write their print, or online publications

Other routes

You'll find it helpful to take a sub-editing course if you've already got some experience in journalism, PR or media communications.

Courses are offered by organisations like:

More information

Career tips

You'll also need to be able to use desktop publishing software for many sub-editing jobs.

Professional and industry bodies

You may find it useful to join organisations like the Society of Editors and Professional Publishers Association, for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a sub-editor from:The Publishers Association; National Council for the Training of Journalists

You can find out more about media and publishing careers from:Discover Creative Careers

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With experience, you may be able to progress to production editor or chief sub-editor.

You could also use your journalism experience to move into PR or work as a press or communications officer.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • the ability to read English
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent written communication skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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