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What does an Associate Publisher do?

By Cassie L. Damewood
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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An associate publisher typically handles the administrative functions of a newspaper, magazine, Web site or book publisher. She may also assist the publisher in the production and copy editing of one publication or several. Her job may be with a large publishing house that regularly turns out many types of publications. She may also work for a small, independent publisher of a single local or community publication.

Success in this position normally requires good organizational and communication skills. Since an associate publisher is typically expected to interact with several departments on a daily basis, first-rate time management skills are generally required. She is also typically expected to regularly communicate with editors and writers as well as media contacts and distributors.

Managerial expertise is typically required for this position. An associate publisher is regularly consulted on human resource management issues and frequently required to direct the activities of printing and logistics employees. Her input is often required on strategies and issues related to her company’s publications.

In a significant number of companies, an associate publisher is regularly relied upon to keep tabs on rival publications or publishing houses. This generally requires her to exercise discretion and diplomacy. The publisher often asks her to scrutinize new publications or research industry trends and styles. These reviews help the company remain competitive.

She is also frequently required to monitor the circulation of her company’s publications. Her job often includes management of advertising sales as well. If circulation numbers need to be increased or advertising sales need a boost, she may be assigned to investigate the reasons and develop solutions. This assignment may involve community interaction to get a feel for the needs and wants of the readership and advertisers.

The in-house responsibilities of this position commonly extend to the production cycle of the company’s publications. She is typically expected to have a thorough understanding of the press and distribution operations. This knowledge enables her to independently identify and resolve related problems without the input of the publisher.

An aspiring associate publisher generally needs to be highly literate in a wide range of computer software applications. Since publishing involves both text and graphics, knowledge of both these types of programs is a typical requirement for the position. The ability to quickly grasp new concepts and incorporate them into daily work procedures is commonly required of an associate publisher.

An associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in journalism, media relations, creative writing or public relations is normally required to qualify for this position. Experience in editing or publishing is strongly preferred. A solid background in management or administrative support is desirable for associate publisher job applicants as well.

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Discussion Comments
By Melonlity — On Feb 14, 2015

@Terrificli -- That may be true, but I don't know if things are that way at all newspapers. The term associate publisher is pretty broad and ill defined to the point that it can mean different things in different places. The associate publisher may also be involved with the strategic planning, leaving a managing editor to deal with the day to day grind of things (for example).

By Terrificli — On Feb 13, 2015

Quite often, the associate publisher is the one who is in charge of running the day-to-day operations of a newspaper while the publisher is in charge of more of the long term planning and strategic vision for the organization.

That being the case, the editorial staff generally sees the associate publisher more often than the actual publisher. The publisher may be in charge, but the association publisher is the one who cracks the whip and gets things done.

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