Top Jobs and Careers in Magazines and Publishing

The exciting world of publishing can be a glamorous field to work in for creative people. Editors, writers, photographers, advertising executives, and others all work together to help bring magazines to market, whether in-store or online. If you're interested in a magazine career, here are seven magazine jobs with information on their roles and function within the publishing industry. 

Art Director

Art directors are responsible for the overall look of a magazine. Vanity Fair has a different look than Entertainment Weekly. In large part, this is through the work of art directors who oversee how the words and pictures on every page of the magazine will coordinate to create a cohesive brand or signature style.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2018, art directors earned a median yearly pay of $92,780, and the job outlook, while unchanged, was expected to decrease in print publications. However, as the Internet is highly visual, art directors should have good job prospects for online publications.

Copy Editor

Copy editors make sure that all the stories in the magazine read well, flow logically, fit the section of the magazine, adhere to style guidelines, and are grammatically correct.

While copy editors combat dangling modifiers, errant commas, and other common grammatical mistakes, they are more than just proofreaders. Detail-oriented and skilled writers in their own right, they help to improve the quality and style of the writing by the magazine's reporters and correspondents.

The BLS reports that in 2017, proofreaders and copy markers made a median annual salary of $37,550. 

Fact Checker

Every story that appears in a magazine needs to be checked for accuracy. This is where a fact checker comes in.

All magazines rely on fact checkers to ensure that quotes and all factual information included in an article are true and accurate. Fact checking requires someone who enjoys precision, integrity, and detail—and enjoys research. 

Magazine Editor

Most major magazines have several editors, each in charge of a different aspect of the publication. An editor-in-chief or executive editor is responsible for the overall editorial brand of the magazine. It usually takes many years of experience as a writer and assistant editor before making the leap to magazine editor.

Senior editors are usually in charge of various features or sections of the magazine. Assistant editors concentrate on writing, as well as deal with assigning and editing stories. 

A good assignment editor needs to have a Rolodex full of strong writers they can contact at a moment's notice to fill magazine space with quality articles.

Salaries for editors vary depending on the specific type of editor position. In general, in 2018, editors earned a median income of $59,480, according to the BLS.

Photo Editor

Photo editors oversee all the photography that appears in a magazine. Most photo editors don't actually take the pictures. Their job is to hire other photographers to snap pictures, and then ensure that the right images appear on the pages.

If you have a great eye for design, a background in photography, and love working with professionals in the field, this may be a great job for you.


In order to be able to afford to produce well-written articles and beautiful photo spreads, magazines have to sell and produce advertisements that are featured in the magazine.

There are many different roles in advertising that contribute to the success of a major magazine. Most magazines have an in-house advertising department that handles all ad accounts and ad copy, and oversees the final run of advertisements. Within the advertising department, there are several jobs, including account manager, copywriter, and copy chief.

There also are great opportunities for graphic design professionals in magazine advertising departments since many ads are produced by the magazine and not by the advertising clients.

Advertising and marketing tends to be lucrative across all industries that need it. In general, advertising, promotions, and marketing managers earn $132,620 per year, according to the 2018 BLS data.


After the magazine is produced, work goes into ensuring that the magazine's intended audience knows it exists. A concerted effort is put into various marketing activities, such as public relations, special events, the production of promotional materials, and creating social media buzz. All of this is done to reinforce branding and sell copies of the magazine and the ad space within it.

Like the advertising department, there are various jobs in the marketing department that you can see listed on every magazine's masthead. This includes staff titles such as marketing director, marketing manager, social media manager, and marketing intern. Similar to advertising, marketing jobs can pay well.