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How do I Become a Features Editor?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 09 May 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Working to become a features editor can be one of the easiest way to get into an editorial career at a publication. The features editor is responsible for managing larger pieces, but generally has more time to plan and execute than other pages. Therefore, it is often considered an entry-level position in most newspapers. If you want to become a features editor, getting experience in newspapers in high school or college is often essential, as is a good understanding in your native language, or at least the language of your chosen publication.

Being a features editor means having a good command of the language in which the publication is written. This not only includes understanding proper sentence construction and grammar, but also issues of flow and spelling. In addition to the mechanics, you should also know what makes for a compelling feature story, including being able to anticipate how readers may react to the story.

Though it may not be necessary to be actively involved with a high school newspaper, this should be a priority in college. Without practical experience in some form at a publication, the opportunities to become a features editor may be very limited. Many college newspapers will be happy to work with anyone interested in a journalism career. Some may even offer scholarships, full or partial, to those who are involved as a writer or editor for the newspaper.

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Finding a way to get practical experience as a manager is also a key to becoming a features editor. While this can be done in the context of a college newspaper, it may be more meaningful if it comes from some type of job. Being a features editor means being able to manage staff. It means keeping track of multiple projects and people at the same time, and holding those individuals accountable for the tasks they are supposed to complete.

Another way to get experience and become a features editor is to look at internships. These temporary positions help career seekers understand what may be required in the position, and also helps to build contacts with others in the industry, which could prove to be very valuable during a job search. Often, you must either be a junior or senior to take advantage of internships.

In addition to internships, you should also consider starting at a smaller publication, such as a weekly newspaper or small daily newspaper. These publications can sometimes provide you with valuable experience you will need in order to become a features editor at larger publications. It also gives you a chance to build a portfolio of clips you can take to those larger publications.

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