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"Word Hard And Be Rewarded...
I am most surprised that myself and several others did not have a college degree for the job. I feel all the skills I needed for the job, I learned in high school." (Editor; 2013)
"Video Editing Programs: Know 'Em All...
One of the surprising things about video editing is how little effects and filters you actually have to use for the average video. Most of the things that make any visual media look cool are camera tricks performed in the filming stage." (Video Editing/Camera Operator; 2013)
"Understanding The Written Word Is Vital...
I have been surprised by how much politics are involved in the job. You are dealing with highly creative people on tight deadlines. There is quite a bit of interpersonal communication to get the job done. You have to be a good listener." (Editor; 2013)
"The Most Important Thing About Editing...
I was surprised by the amount of work I was able to get after graduation. Editing work is in high demand, which allows me to be more selective of my projects." (Editor; 2013)
"Tech-Savvy Employees Go Far...
Writing is one of the best subjects to major in if you're looking for job reliability. The skills are transferable to almost every industry; even engineering companies need technical writers and copy editors. This opens a lot of doors to different careers and specialties. I was not expecting to get into textbook publishing, as it seemed like extremely dry work. The reality is, it's much more interesting and challenging than other areas in the industry. Even though I'm an "editor," very little of what I do is text editing. I manage art programs, oversee digital products, do market research, design book covers and ads, and work with professors, students, and researchers to create textbooks that the next generation of doctors will use. The job is incredibly creative and fulfilling." (Development Editor; 2013)
"Starting A Freelance Book Editing Career...
I was surprised to find that it is possible to have a full schedule of editing projects done from home, working for major publishers. It was not necessary to live in New York City; the large publishing houses there were willing to send work to qualified editors elsewhere." (Book Editor; 2013)
I think it would surprise other people how much an editor actually does in the deciding the final result on a project, at least on smaller budget stuff. Most people don't really know what an editor does, or else think they're just doing what the director says." (Video Editor; 2013)
"Put Your Heart Into Your Job...
I was surprised with how applicable my profession is to most everything in life. It's very easy to apply my work to almost everything I do." (Editor; 2013)
"Prepare For The Dry Spells While You Make A Name For Yourself...
There are many different areas that editors and other Digital Media Specialists or Technicians can get work. Usually the larger editing jobs (like film or television) are what gets the most attention but even PSAS, commercials, infomercials, music videos.... they all require editors." (Digital Media Specialist; 2013)
"Look For Work In The New Media...
Most surprising to me about writing/editing and journalism is how much the field has changed in the fifteen years I've been doing it professionally. Things are far more oriented toward online writing now, as work in print media becomes rarer. Although I have had work published in print a great deal, new opportunities mainly are arising on blogs, new media, and e-book formats. The intermediary publisher has become less important, and writers have to take initiative in the new media to stay competitive." (Writer/Editor; 2013)
"Know Your Subject...
Many people are unaware of the smaller opportunities for creative writing in the marketing world. Even in large retail stores, flyers and sale signs are handled at times by a marketing writer, as well as larger ads." (Marketing Manager; 2013)
"Journalists As Online Jacks Of All Trades...
I was surprised how hard it is to "turn off" after a day in the newsroom. Journalism is a job you can't walk away from--you're always alert, looking for a new story or new information, every new person you meet is a potential source or interview. You start to process the world in a totally different way." (Editor; 2013)
"It's Not About How Much You Know, It's About How Fast You Can Learn...
I was surprised to learn that many, many reporters and editors are not very well informed about certain topics until they start covering them -- which means some journalists are learning huge swaths of information about, say, Syria, or the stock market, and reporting on it almost as fast as they learn. I don't mean breaking news, which obviously no one knows about before it happens, but rather the kind of basic background information like "where Syria is" and "how the stock market operates." Often the people reporting the news are only just marginally more informed than the people reading it -- and sometimes it's the other way around." (Journalist; 2013)
"Getting Your Foot In The Door In The Publishing Industry...
People think the publishing industry to be a lot more glamorous and exciting than it really is. Most of the work is actually extremely boring, tedious, and repetitive." (Editor; 2013)
"Follow Up That Journalism Degree...
I am surprised that to get started in editorial work I did not need a journalism degree." (Law Editor; 2013)
"Follow The Crowd Or Stick To Your Guns? You Decide...
Prior to the advent and explosion of Internet domination, my career as an editor, writer, and proofreader was thoroughly fulfilling, quite lucrative, and highly respectable. Then, in about 2003, about halfway through my commercial career, suddenly everyone who had access to a computer began to think that he or she was a writer or editor, and the entire industry has collapsed. I would suggest this career choice now and in the near future, at least in major metropolitan areas, only for someone who has never known what it once meant to be a "real" writer, who has never learned the mechanics of style and syntax, and who does not find it "that big of a deal" that even major newspapers, broadcast news outlets, and the largest organizations in the world can no longer produce content without egregious errors. The jobs even for those who fit the new paradigm are not that numerous now--since the carelessness that has forced professionals like me to the margins has ruined the market for virtually everyone--but it has been my experience for more than five straight years now, especially since 2008, that only those who are not serious about the trade can possibly get the jobs. Your bosses will care almost not at all about the proper presentation of communications material, so you should care even less if you actually want to make a living at this. I apologize that I cannot be more positive about the prospects out there in this field, but, as further explanation: I went from making $80,000 in the last year in which I worked full-time, and never going longer than three weeks between freelance assignments, to making, now, $100 per month--$100 per month--and barely being able to get interviews. A surprise does not get much bigger than that--and all of this when the services of dedicated proofreaders and editors have never been more necessary, or the potential opportunities more numerous. I pray that whoever is reading this will find an outrage toward the current injustices in this profession and become a strong force in the fight to return communications standards to what they were even ten years ago. It is about so much more than just a matter of words. This is a matter of American and human excellence and pride, and an absolute indicator of the decline of all facets of our standard of life." (Freelance Editor, Writer, And Proofreader; 2013)
"Finding A Job...
IT IS A COMPETITIVE FIELD. PAY IS NOT AS HIGH AS I WOULD LIKE." (Editor; 2013)
"Education And Experience Make You More Knowledgeable About Subject Areas...
I am surprise at how flexible my degree has been and how my background in biological sciences has helped me understand, write and edit the documents that I have worked on. I took a lot of biological sciences as part of my degree, as well as had several jobs in labs, greenhouses and fields working on seed sorting, breeding, etc. and that made writing about scientific information seem natural to me." (Writer/Editor, Web Master; 2013)
The number of opportunities and places to find work, ranging from universities to Craigslist and beyond. The sheer number of people one meets in everyday life who have written something they would like you to look at has also been surprising." (Freelance Editor; 2013)
Most people are surprised I didn't want to teach. Most people are surprised about the opportunities available for minorities in the journalism field." (; 2013)
"A Great Editor Is A Great Writer...
Editors are often surprised at how often they are consulted for script-writing. They will often be required to write copy for voice-overs and title screens in order to complete a project or submit a video as a proof-of-concept." (Editor; 2013)
"I was surprised to find out that editors at newspapers almost always have to work nights. It makes sense because the newspaper prints late at night to be delivered in the morning, but it didn't really occur to me that I would be stuck on the night shift even after having a lot of experience." (Editor; 2013)
"The field is surprisingly social and a good deal depends upon your connections. I assumed that the job would be a bit more isolated." (Copy Editor; 2013)
"I was surprised to find that working freelance would be as difficult as it is. I think we were given the impression in college that once we had our degree, the offers would be endless, when that wasn't realistic. I am also surprised by how competitive the industry is, it took me five years to get on at the newspaper as a staff writer." (Freelance Writer / Copy Editor; 2013)
"I was surprised to discover how many mathematical factors were involved in editing a video. From aspect ratio to pixel count to frame rates and holds, there are a lot of different numerical values associated with each video you cut." (Video Editor; 2013)
Web Editor: "The best part of the job is that I get to tell stories. That was my favorite part of working in television, only now I get to tell stories during normal working hours (no weekends, overnights, and holidays). I like getting to know new people and learning new things. The worst part of the job is that I don't feel as tapped into what's going on in the world as I was working in television. At a TV station, we have applications where you're connected to the Associated Press and other wire services, so breaking news information crosses as it happens. Now, when I want to know what's going on in the world, I have to seek it out myself." (2011)
Book Publisher: "The best part of my career is the creation of a book. To do this, I have a vision, I work closely with the author, with artists (for cover and interior artwork), with the typesetter, and together we take those words on a page and make them into a book. It is quite satisfying to see that book with its beautiful cover for the first time. The worst part of my career is the plagiarists that I have run into. This has only occurred in the past 15 years; before that, people seemed to respect the work of others and not copy it (or at least I did not run into them). These people steal the creative work of others and claim it as their own. They are the thieves of the written word and are a scourge on all of us." (2011)
Editorial Specialist: "The place where I work is truly wonderful. The tech industry attracts smart, educated and innovative people who are passionate about what they do. My job allows me to combine my love of technology with writing. The worst part is that sometimes the writing is boring and not very creative. I get to work on a wide variety of projects, which is fantastic because it makes it difficult to get bored. Sometimes it gets annoying when a lot of people have a stake in a piece of writing because it means the editing process can take a lot of time, and there can be a lot of back and forth. But getting other people's advice can be useful, so its a blessing in disguise." (2011)
Assignment Editor: "The best part of the career is that in many ways, the job changes based on the location. Each area you will work in has a different challenge in terms of the people, the logistics, the demographics, and the opportunities. Plus, each day is its own unique challenge. The flip side of that is that you will have to deal with lower pay, high stress, and, often times, a thankless position. When your job is done well, other people will look good. When you do your job poorly, the blame gets placed on your shoulders." (2011)
Medical Editor: "The best part is interacting with really smart, knowledgeable experts in the field of medicine. These doctors are inspiring and motivate me to be better at my job. I've also enjoyed the "big picture" parts of the job: planning out the year's feature topics at the editorial board meetings with the doctors and helping to develop marketing campaigns that appeal to our audience. The worst part is that editing all day every day can become tedious, particularly if I'm not interested in the topics. I try to mix up my duties through the week to avoid burning out." (2010)
Editorial Director: "One of the best parts of my job is coaching the writers on the team by reading what they write, discussing how to make it better, and figuring out ways to work smarter so no one has too much work to deliver in too little time. The other part of my job I like a lot is making things easier to understand and more interesting. A lot of companies write in a very complex way that makes it hard to know what they (or their products) really do. I like helping make my company sound different by writing in a simple, straightforward style. The worst part of my job is dealing with frequent changes in management -- I had 3 bosses last year! -- and with the politics that come along with the job. By "politics" I mean attending lots of meetings, looking out for the writers, advocating the value of what we provide--and knowing when to disagree." (2010)
Proofreading Group Leader: "The best part of my job is finding mistakes! Sometimes there is a very subtle typo where only one letter is wrong, which may change the whole meaning of a word. These letters have to be accurate because they deal with medicine. Also, I enjoy the camaraderie in the department. We all work very well as a team. The worst part of my job is failing to catch a mistake. Fortunately, though, we have a system of double-checks and fail-safes that almost always catches them before they can get out the door." (2010)
Law Editor: "Although I got editorial work without a journalism degree, my suggestion would be that a person considering such work should get a degree in journalism and then follow it up with a specialty, such as law, politics, fashion, environment, or science." (2013)
Freelance Editor, Writer, And Proofreader: "I may have summarized this well in the previous long statement, but a person considering my career today has two choices: Follow along with what everyone else is doing, caring little to nothing about standards or pride in one's work, which will enable you to get jobs and get by; or, learn as much as you can about the highest standards of those in this job description, and be staunch about adhering to them and expecting others to do the same, which could position you for much more secure employment in the future. I still choose to believe that the sloppiness may be a fad, despite how prevalent it now is, and that true editors sticking to their guns can compel others to "remember their spirit."" (2013)
Video Editor: "Make as many contacts as you possibly can in the industry and never, ever, ever burn a bridge." (2013)
Editor: "Try to gain experience while still in school do an internship etc." (2013)
Writer/Editor: "I highly recommend looking for work in an online setting when establishing your career as a writer, because that is where many of the new opportunities are arising as traditional print media become less popular." (2013)
Editor: "Get very familiar with social media and internet-specific content, know basic xhtml, as well as digital photography and videography. Nearly all print journalism these days includes online content, and if you want to move forward in the business you'll need to have skills that play to that audience." (2013)
Freelance Editor: "Familiarize yourself with the various style guides (Chicago Manual of Style, Associated Press, etc.). Also, familiarize yourself with both the British and American spelling of words. Read up on the genre or field you desire to work in or on." (2013)
Marketing Manager: "When starting out in marketing as a writer, focus on your product or point of the article. Study it long before beginning to be certain you represent it as well as possible." (2013)
Video Editing/Camera Operator: "If you would like to be a successful videographer or film editor, learn the ins and outs of BOTH adobe premier and Final Cut. The industry is split over these two programs and it's good to be familiar with both." (2013)
Editor: "If you want to succeed as a video editor you must have excellent creative writing skills. You will often be collaborating by e-mail and must be able to describe both concepts and solutions in written form." (2013)
Book Editor: "To freelance as an editor, it is helpful to work in local publishing companies for a few years. This will give you the chance to learn from supervisors and coworkers before trying to get work on your own." (2013)
Digital Media Specialist: "At first, no matter what, it is going to be difficult to find work unless you already have your name out there. Make sure you prepare ahead of time for this inevitable dry spell while you show the industry what amazing talent you have." (2013)
Journalist: "Emphasize your versatility -- more than ever, news organizations are looking for people who can cover a whole lot of different topics in a whole lot of different ways. Technology is evolving at light-speed, which means that *how much you know* is less important than *how quickly you can learn new things*. Being a fast learner is also important when you have to familiarize yourself with complex situations and explain them in a cogent way to readers." (2013)
Editor: "Read a lot of books, plays, short stories, etc. Film and TV editors work primarily with writers. A love and understanding of written word is extremely important. You need an ear for dialogue." (2013)
Editor: "If you want to get your foot in the door in the publishing industry, try starting out at a trade, technical, or otherwise niche publication that you have some background in. The more boring and narrow the focus is, the easier it is to get a job. Once you have some experience under your belt, then you'll have a better chance of being hired by a large, well-known, (inter)national publishing house." (2013)
Editor: "If you want to be successful, try to throw your heart into everything you do. People can tell the difference between someone working for money and working for passion." (2013)
Development Editor: "If you want to be successful in the modern publishing industry, be knowledgeable about the latest technology and media trends. Nothing is more cringe-inducing than watching a company develop a million-dollar Flash product for tablet devices, only to realize that Flash doesn't run on iPads." (2013)
Editor: "Learn as much about computers as you can. Always stay up to date on the latest technology." (2013)
Writer/Editor, Web Master: "If you want to be successful at writing, I suggest that in addition to that degree in Communications, English or Journalism, that you consider a minor or coursework in something else that you enjoy. In my case, I studied biological sciences, which gave me a leg up in writing on scientific topics comfortably. If you already have your degree, then I would go pick up a few courses or even work in something you enjoy, so that you are able to take your writing skills into a more specific area." (2013)
Editor: "If you're interested in being an editor, working on your grammar and punctuation is vital. It also helps to read a lot." (2013)
"If you want to be successful in journalism, you should do a internship before you graduate. It will give you the opportunity to make contacts in the field." (2013)
Web Editor: "I would advise anyone in a communications field to minor, if not major, in another field, such as business, marketing, or online applications. Television stations and newspapers continue to cut jobs. If I didn't have a background in writing for the web, I probably would not have my current job." (2011)
Book Publisher: "Tip 1: Because of the recent changes in the book publishing world, I would prepare myself differently today. I would still have a strong background in liberal arts, but I would also become very tech-savvy. Everything we do now is on a computer; as more books become e-books, you must be prepared for this new development. Tip 2: I would be prepared financially to struggle for the first few years I work in writing and publishing. Entry level jobs are difficult to find and pay poorly. However, you will not be a good editor or book publisher unless you "pay your dues" -- in other words, learn everything you can about the industry while you work within it at all levels. Tip 3: Not all writing/editing/publishing is glamorous, but it will probably produce income for you. Don't be afraid to do the "bread and butter" writing, usually non-fiction. That way, you are writing and making contacts within the field." (2011)
Editorial Specialist: "Get help from friends and other folks in your network. Who you know can be more important than what you know. Also, learn computer science skills. This is a vastly growing industry with a lot of job potential and people with coding skills are always needed." (2011)
Assignment Editor: "You have to humble yourself. There are times when you work in a job with this much responsibility that extreme frustration will set in. The key is to establish immediate relationships with your reporters and especially the photographers. They are the ones who will save your bacon the majority of the time. In addition, immerse yourself in the news. If you want to be in this business, you have to love for what you do. Without it, you will be absolutely miserable." (2011)
Medical Editor: "If you have your heart set on medical editing and have an English background, force yourself to take statistics in college and, if possible, some medical writing courses. I had neither and had to learn it all on the job. In any editing career, the usual first step is editorial assistant. Make yourself invaluable to your superiors through hard work, but also express that you want to grow. Seek opportunities for mentorship and take full advantage to learn the ropes and prove that you can do the job." (2010)
Editorial Director: "Here's some advice for anyone wanting to be a professional writer based on what has helped my career: 1. Try as many different kinds of writing as possible--advertising, fiction, etc.--until you learn what you do best and what you need to improve. 2. Be willing to receive criticism about your work and lots of suggestions on how to make it better. The result may not be as original, but it could be better than what you produced alone. 3. Read anything and everything to develop a sense of what real people sound like. Knowing how people speak will help make your writing more natural and compelling. 4. Keep writing, every day. You don't have to write a lot, but getting in the habit of writing daily will make you a better writer in the long run. I once wrote a novel in 3 months by working 7 days per week and only turning out about 2-3 pages per day. And I sold that novel, too!" (2010)
Proofreading Group Leader: "The first prerequisite to being a good proofreader is to really enjoy reading. You don't have to necessarily know sentence structure or how to edit, but you do need to know when language sounds right or wrong. If you could intern at a publishing company or start out freelancing, that would probably be the best way to enter the business. Many companies need proofreaders today, including advertising agencies or any company that prints brochures or literature." (2010)