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Editorial Research Assistant Job Description, Career as a Editorial Research Assistant, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: Bachelor’s Degree

Average Salary: $32,000 Annually

Job Outlook: Good

Job Description

Editorial research assistants generally work to support the editorial staff at a publication. This can involve a wide array of different responsibilities, and the range of them depend on the specific role itself. This often tends to be more of an administrative role, and one that many may take on as they enter the editorial world. This may be the role that an individual may fill when they first come out of school, or how they enter into a given publication or start out in their career path. They may help with any number of responsibilities, but often focus primarily on administrative responsibilities.
An editorial research assistant may help by acting as a personal assistant to some of the more senior levels of the staff. They may be involved in whatever the manager deems as necessary work activities. Oftentimes the editorial research assistant acts as the liaison between outside parties including vendors, contractors, or printers. They may be the point of contact within the organization, fielding questions for the staff that they support. They may answer phones, type out emails, or handle any correspondences necessary for the staff that they support.
In some instances, the editorial research assistant may actually help with editing. They may work on a more limited basis to review documents and make any necessary corrections. Individuals within this role may also get involved with performing research to help with the tasks of their staff. This is usually done on a trial basis to see how the person in the role responds, and these types of activities may help to prepare them for the next step in their career. Additionally they may get the opportunity to actually be involved in smaller writing tasks if the need arises.
If they work to support a smaller staff, they may be more involved in the day to day operations. They may help with all of the tasks that come in, as well as handle all of the administrative responsibilities as well. They may be the point of contact for freelance writers, photographers, or any other third party vendors that the staff interacts with. Depending on the size of the staff and the nature of the organization, this may be a role that proves to be quite important to the daily operations.

Education and Training Requirements

It is usually required that an editorial research assistant has a bachelor’s degree. Though it is often desired that this degree be in journalism, this isn’t often an actual requirement. It can be of great help for an individual in this role to understand how a publication or publishing organization works, but much of the training will come about on the job. As this is a more entry level type of position, much of the necessary training will come on the job. Though there is often an assumption that the editorial research assistant has experience working with computer programs, some of this can come about in training. The individual in this role will learn much about how the organization works and take on more responsibilities as they gain experience.

Getting the Job

Having a bachelor’s degree and an interest in an editing career or working within a publishing company is a great way to get the job. There may be strong competition for this job, so demonstrating any type of background or ability may be of great help. This is a more entry level type of position so being able to demonstrate the ability to multitask or to work within a sometimes stressful environment may be of great help in obtaining this job. Any related experience or internships may be of great help as well.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

Though there can be a great deal of competition for this type of job, there may be great opportunities for those who demonstrate ability or interest. This is an entry level type of position which can lead to further career advancement and growth. It’s important for an individual to come into this environment and take on whatever responsibilities that may come their way. This may help to demonstrate their abilities, and open up additional and more involved responsibilities down the road. There are great job openings for the right people, and there is great opportunity for growth. It’s important to demonstrate ability in any area that comes up, as it can lead to editing and writing responsibilities at some point.

Working Conditions and Environment

This is the type of environment that may tend to get stressful at times. It’s important that an individual working as an editorial research assistant be able to demonstrate the ability to keep cool and calm, no matter how stressful things may get. If the staff is working towards a deadline, the environment may become extremely stressful. If there is a deadline associated, there may be long hours involved including nights and weekends. An editorial research assistant must be able to work hard and prove themselves in a stressful environment. There may be tasks coming at them from every direction, and a variety of personalities to deal with. All of this will help to prepare them for the next steps in their career.

Salary and Benefits

Though the average salary for an editorial research assistant is around $32,000, this may vary greatly. Those that stay in this role longer may expect to earn more. Those who work for a larger organization or a well known publication may earn more per year. Similarly, those just starting out in the role may expect to earn around $25,000 per year or less, especially at smaller companies. It all depends on the environment, the type of organization, and the geographic location because in big cities this average salary may be much higher. Though there may be some benefits associated, they may be limited to start with. Initially they may expect to receive paid health insurance, but may need to work towards paid vacation and other benefits as well.

Where to Go for More Information

Editorial Freelancers Association
71 West 23rd Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10010-4102
(212) 929-5400

American Copy Editors Society

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCommunication and the Arts