What is the difference between a copy editor’s job and a senior editor (or editor-in-chief)?

There are many various levels of editing within publications like newspapers or magazines. Two of these possible positions are a copyeditor (or copy editor) and the editor-in-chief.


This position is usually an entrance level job and you will need to work your way through editing things such as editing academic texts, manuscripts, journal articles, movie reviews and maybe even novels. Copyeditors edit any selected authors manuscript for copy mistakes and errors such as grammar, sentence slip-ups, and unnecessary repetitions that is given to them. Any good copyeditor will know the ins and outs of the entire English language. Oftentimes, however, a copyeditor should need to do more than your basic editing corrections. Learning style of the specific publications, jargon, and audience of the publication, etc. is another task of a copyeditor. The copyeditor’s job entails all of this in addition to checking and editing for clarity and content. Because the amount of editing for this job is tedious, this process is reviewed several times by the copyeditor before any manuscript is sent to the printer. Unlike a senior editor, there are often many different copyeditors since one cannot possibly catch all errors in a manuscript.


An editor-in-chief’s (or senior editors) job is to oversee all editorial content of a publication. They are usually in charge of an entire company’s editorial staff. This position has multiple job responsibilities under their hat. The duties of the editor-in-chief might include: verifying facts any edits a copyeditor makes, and sometimes they are responsible for any visual media associated with their specified outlet (periodicals, newspapers, book publishers, etc.). The editor-in-chief looks at the content and style and makes sure that it meets publication standards. The reputation of any publication is largely on their shoulders. Many copyeditors may want to aspire to reach this position in a publishing company.

For more information:

Image Source: http://pacejmiller.com/2011/08/22/irritating-authorial-hiccups/

By Courtney Sholars, student at Texas Christian University, Class of 2013


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