Magazine editorial assistant

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Tina Worth is the editorial co-ordinator on a magazine, which features news, interviews and reviews of films and DVDs. She is based in London.

Can you describe your role?

I provide support for the magazine staff, as well as freelancers who supply some of the copy, making sure that they have everything they need to do their jobs.

What does the work involve?

I deal with finance – making sure all the freelance writers get paid. This means keeping a record of what each person writes and how much they will be paid. It involves close contact with the accounts department as I have to sort out all the queries when the freelancers don't get paid on time or the right amount, for instance.

At the end of the month I review all purchase orders to find out the total amount we have spent on freelancers. I also look at costs for permanent staff, photography, stationery and expenses. This helps to ensure the magazine meets its budget targets.

It also involves general office manager's duties, like making sure the stationery cupboard is well stocked and that all our computer hardware is in good working order.

Do you have any contact with readers?

Yes, I'm the first point of contact for reader enquiries so I receive calls and e-mails most days. Some people want to comment on a story they have seen in the magazine. Others need help in tracing a particular film or finding information about a premiere. I usually ask our work experience trainees to do some research and find an answer to the reader's query.

What else do you do?

The magazine hosts numerous parties and events where we invite companies who might advertise in our publication, or the publicity agencies who provide us with material about events each month. I book venues and caterers and make sure that guests receive their tickets on time.

The biggest event is our annual awards ceremony. I work in a team with three other people to co-ordinate the event. A lot of film stars are invited and I help to organise flights, hotels and cars for them.

What qualities do you need to be a magazine editorial assistant?

You should be fairly confident, and an excellent communicator at all levels, as you will be dealing with all kinds of different people in the course of your working day. It's important to be easy going and adaptable – the job is very varied and you never know what you will be asked to do next.

What hours do you work?

Our standard hours are 9.30am to 6.00pm. however, if I am organising an event I could stay late to make sure that everything is done on time. Some of the publicity events are in the evenings. Even at events it's important to remain professional all the time and remember that I am still at work. if there are any problems with the venue or the catering, it will be my job to sort them out as quickly as possible, so I must stay alert.

What work ambitions do you have?

Eventually, I hope to move into event management or sport hospitality. I've gained a lot of relevant experienced and transferable skills in this job.

Tina's route

  • BTEC National Diploma in media.
  • Did lots of unpaid work experience while at college.
  • At the end of the course was offered a job.
  • Present job.

Tina's tips

  • Work experience is great way to see if a job will suit you. Start by contacting local papers or lifestyle magazines to see if they will give you a placement.
  • This is a demanding job and you must be prepared to work hard.

Related jobs

  • Accounts/finance clerk
  • Administrative assistant/officer/manager
  • Customer services assistant
  • Industry and commerce accountant
  • Personal assistant

Salary of a magazine editorial assistant

  • The starting salary is around £12,000, although it could be £15,000 to £18,000 on a national large-scale publication with experience.

Getting in

  • Most entrants are graduates.
  • Degrees in English, humanities or modern languages are particularly useful.
  • The most common route of entry for post A level students and graduates is a full-time vocational journalism training course at a college or university, recognised by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).

Modified: 16 June 2013

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