Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Marketing & Advertising

What you will do:

On a day-to-day basis 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


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • the ability to read English
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as

Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

You can get into this job through:

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

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

  • English
  • journalism
  • media studies

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

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

  • journalist
  • senior journalist

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.

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.

School Subjects

To become a Sub-Editor in the UK, specific GCSE subjects are not mandatory. However, certain subjects can be beneficial in developing the skills and knowledge required for this role, such as:

  1. English Language: A strong foundation in English Language is crucial for understanding grammar, syntax, and language conventions.
  2. English Literature: Studying literature can help develop analytical and critical thinking skills, which are valuable in editing and evaluating written content.
  3. Media Studies: This subject can provide insights into the media industry and different writing styles used in various publications.
  4. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Knowledge of ICT can be beneficial for working with digital editing tools and content management systems.
  5. Art and Design: While not directly related, this subject can enhance creativity and visual awareness, which are valuable in page layout and design for print media.
  6. Foreign Languages: Knowledge of foreign languages can be advantageous for publications with international content or when working in multilingual settings.

Working Hours and Environment:

Typical working hours are 37-39 hours a week but these may vary. You could have to be flexible and work evenings and weekends.

You could work in an office.

Career Path & Progression:

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.