How Do I Become an Assignment Editor?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2019
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The job of an assignment editor is to choose the topics his or her employer — generally a newspaper, magazine, television show or radio broadcast — will cover. This type of journalist then decides which writer will research and write each story. If you want to become an assignment editor, you will need a bachelor's degree in journalism or a related field, because you will need to have taken courses that include news editing and, perhaps, mass communications, depending on the medium for which you want to work. Most news outlets also require their assignment editors to have experience in their particular field, usually gained by first holding reporting and editing positions. In addition, it is advised that you be creative, work well with others, and have knowledge of proper grammar if you want to be a successful assignment editor.

Most media outlets require assignment editors to have a bachelor's degree in journalism or a related field. For example, communications and English are two majors that can help prepare you for a career assigning articles to writers, though some employers accept applicants with a degree in other fields, too. No matter your major, it is preferred that you have taken classes dealing with editing news stories, reporting and general grammar, because you will use all of these skills in this field. Courses that teach the basics of television, radio or newspaper production are also helpful so you are considered well-rounded in your medium before you become an assignment editor.


It is unlikely that you will get this type of job right out of college — though it's not impossible if you had good internships while in school — because many news outlets require that their assignment editors come to the job with related experience. One of the most common entry-level jobs that can prepare you to become an assignment editor is reporting, which should teach you how to spot newsworthy stories, research them and write them from the appropriate angle. In many cases, a few years in this field can lead to you becoming an editor, which often results in the opportunity to become an assignment editor, either at the same place of business or with a different news outlet.

Certain skills will allow you to become an assignment editor as long as you also have the appropriate training and experience. Among the most basic qualities are the abilities to write and edit, which require both attention to detail and extensive knowledge of grammar. You will also need to be current on the latest news, with enough creativity to come up with different angles for each story. In addition, you are expected to have the confidence and people skills to interact with and direct reporters daily. If you can show potential employers that you possess these skills, you should be able to become an assignment editor.



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