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Industry Spotlight

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Industry Spotlight: Working as a Sub Editor

subeditorThe media industry in the UK is extremely competitive and so it is crucial that you make your CV stand out from the crowd.

Philip Morris works as a Sub Editor and has a varied background in the media. He talks to Jobulo about the role of a Sub Editor and he shares his thoughts on what makes a CV extra special.

Tell Us About Your Career Background?

I’m currently working as a Sub Editor at a multi media publishers across two of their flagship technology titles. Because they are part of the tech industry, the magazines are exciting and fast-moving. Previously I worked abroad for a regional newspaper in Western Australia as a Sports Reporter.

How Did You Get Into the Media Industry – Is It All About the Degree?

A degree is almost a given these days, but NCTJ qualifications are just as important. I chose a Multimedia Journalism course which offered me the opportunity to take my NCTJ exams. Beyond that, it’s all about making yourself stand out from the hordes of other people hunting for the same dream jobs as you. My advice would be to make the most of work placements, build up a really strong portfolio and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. In my case, that was working abroad. I’m convinced that made a difference. A good job isn’t going to come to you – you’ve got to get out there and get it.

Tell Us About a Day as a Sub Editor

First and foremost, a Subs’ job is to ensure there are no mistakes in the mag. You’re in control of the editorial content of the magazine, and ensuring high standards throughout is of paramount importance. Subsequently there’s plenty of re-writing to do, as well as being creative with titles, standfirsts, captions and intros. A Sub also plays a big part in the production part of the magazine, overseeing when work comes in/chasing stuff that’s late!

What’s the Best Part of the Job?

Being so hands on with the magazine; it’s a great professional thrill when you get a fresh copy of the magazine back from the printer. It makes the long hours worth it when you’ve got something to show off and be proud of.

What’s the Hardest Part of the Job?

Not everything you read is going to be brilliant, and telling people their work isn’t up to scratch isn’t the easiest thing to do. Common sense and good communication skills help though. A Sub needs to maintain high standards in everything they do – all the time. Make a mistake and it gets into the magazine and it’s your head on the block. It’s not the most glamorous position to have, but it’s an essential one none the less.

If Someone Wants to Become a Sub Editor, What Do You Think the Most Important Quality Is?

An almost annoying attention to detail. It’s like a sixth sense. It’s not a position many people aspire to hold, but I think it’s a great way to become a better writer. In such a tough job marketplace, why not broaden your skills and find another way to the top of the trade. Many magazine Sub Editors will go on to successfully fill higher editorial positions. It’s a great trade to learn and have on your CV. There will always be a need for a good Sub Editor.

What Do You Think Makes a CV Stand Out?

As I mentioned earlier, I think working abroad has given my CV something different that not many people will have and I think that’s crucial. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Employers want experience; people who can fit in straight away. You need to show them that you can. Send some clippings in with your application (a good selection: news, features, reviews or reports etc…), fire off a few ideas and chase employers up. You’re more likely to get somewhere by being a pest.