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A production editor oversees the entire publication process of books, manuscripts, magazines, newspapers or online information from inception to final publication. He or she works with authors, typesetters, editors, suppliers, artists and the company’s marketing department to ensure a smooth transition from an initial idea to its delivery to readers. A person in this position must keep communication flowing between all necessary departments and keep an eye on the costs of the project.
Production editors work under deadline conditions to coordinate the timely completion of tasks during every step of the publishing endeavor. This means that he or she must be highly organized and have good communication skills to keep a project moving according to a predetermined schedule. He or she also needs some financial knowledge to stay within set budgets for each project and exceptional people skills to develop good working relationships with the various individuals involved in publishing.
These duties require a production editor to plan frequent meetings to make sure that all those working on a publication are performing cohesively and according to plan. He or she might meet individually with authors, the marketing department and suppliers of materials needed for the project. Joint sessions with representatives from every department could also be necessary. He or she is the liaison between typesetters, proofreaders and artists who will supply the drawings or photographs for the book or article. He or she is ultimately responsible for the accuracy of the final print, video or online product.
If the production editor works for an online publication, computer skills are also necessary. It helps if he or she has an in-depth understanding of marketing. This will allow him or her to take advantage of the huge audience available through the Internet.
Most companies seek a production editor who has a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications or the native language of the country where the company exists. Relevant experience that shows that the candidate can handle the duties of production editing could also be required at larger publishing houses. Those larger firms might want their top candidates to hold a master’s degree in the field. Many people in this position start out as writers at small publications and work their way up the corporate ladder.