Job Search

Executive Editor vs. Managing Editor: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Executive editors and managing editors are both responsible for the overall content and quality of a publication. Though their duties may overlap, these positions have different levels of authority and responsibility. In this article, we discuss the similarities and differences between executive editors and managing editors, and we provide tips for those interested in pursuing a career in editing.

What is an Executive Editor?

An Executive Editor is responsible for the overall vision and direction of a publication. They work with the editorial staff to come up with ideas for stories and content, and they assign stories to writers and editors. They also work with the business side of the publication to ensure that the content is aligned with the publication’s goals and objectives. Executive Editors typically have a team of editors who report to them, and they may also have direct reports. In some cases, the Executive Editor may also be responsible for writing or editing content.

What is a Managing Editor?

Managing Editors are responsible for the day-to-day operations of a publication. They oversee the editorial staff and make sure that deadlines are met and that the publication’s quality standards are maintained. Managing Editors also work with the business side of the publication to ensure that the editorial content meets the needs of advertisers and readers. In some cases, the Managing Editor may also be responsible for generating ideas for editorial content and assigning stories to writers. Managing Editors typically have a background in journalism and extensive experience working in the publishing industry.

Executive Editor vs. Managing Editor

Here are the main differences between an executive editor and a managing editor.

Job Duties

Managing editors typically have a more varied job description than executive editors. The daily tasks an executive editor might perform can include editing and proofreading manuscripts, managing the editorial calendar and overseeing the hiring and training of copy editors. Executive editors usually manage the entire editing process for a publication, so they may oversee design decisions as well.

The duties of a managing editor often depend on the needs of their publication or media company. For example, if a newspaper is experiencing low reader turnout, the managing editor may research why readers are leaving and make recommendations to improve reader engagement. They also may conduct market research to help their organization stay competitive in their industry.

Job Requirements

The job requirements for an executive editor and managing editor are similar in that both positions require a bachelor’s degree, preferably in English, journalism or another related field. However, an executive editor typically needs more experience than a managing editor. An executive editor might have worked as a managing editor at another publication before being promoted, or they might have several years of experience working as a journalist. Many executive editors also have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) or another relevant field.

Work Environment

Executive editors and managing editors work in different environments. Executive editors typically work in an office setting, often for a publishing company or media outlet. They may travel to attend meetings with authors, agents or other executives. Managing editors usually work in an office environment as well, but they also spend time working on the production floor of a publication. This means that they’re more likely to be around staff members who are actively creating content for their publications.


The main difference between an executive editor and a managing editor is that an executive editor is responsible for the overall vision and direction of the publication, while a managing editor focuses on the day-to-day operations. Both roles require excellent leadership, communication, and organizational skills.

An executive editor needs to be able to see the big picture and make decisions that will shape the publication as a whole. They need to be able to develop a vision for the publication and then articulate that vision to the staff. They also need to be able to delegate tasks and manage deadlines.

A managing editor needs to be extremely organized and detail-oriented. They need to be able to juggle multiple tasks at once and keep track of all the moving parts. They also need to be able to communicate effectively with the staff and ensure that everyone is on track.


The average salary for an executive editor is $80,773 per year, while the average salary for a managing editor is $77,449 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the size of the company, the location of the job and the level of experience the editor has.


Retail Sales Associate vs. Cashier: What Are the Differences?

Back to Job Search

Charge Nurse vs. Staff Nurse: What Are the Differences?