Most occupations in the publishing industry fall into 1 of 4 categories: Writing and editing; production; advertising sales and marketing; and general administration. However, variations in the number and type of workers employed occur by type of publication. For example, most book publishing companies employ few writers because most of their content is acquired from freelance writers and photographersp. In contrast, newspapers employ a number of writers and reporters, who supply the content for the paper. Also, newspapers generally perform their own printing, whereas most books and magazines are printed by companies in the printing industry. Differences also exist depending on the size of the company and the variety of media in which the company publishes.
Writing and editing occupations. Everything that is published in this industry must first be written. Writers and authors and reporters and correspondents write the articles, stories, and other text that end up in publications. Writers are assigned stories to write by editors. At newspapers and news magazines, reporters usually specialize in certain categories, or “beats,” such as education, crime, sports, or world news. Writers and reporters gather information on their topic by performing Internet and library research and by interviewing people either in person or by telephone. They must then organize their material and write it down in a coherent manner that will interest and entertain readers. Copywriters, who write advertising copy, also are common in this industry.
Editors are essential to a publication. They review, rewrite, and edit the work of writers. They may also do original writing, such as producing editorials for newspapers or columns for magazines. In book publishing, they oversee the acquisition and selection of material, often working directly with the authors to achieve the final product. Most publishing companies employ several types of editors. The executive editor generally has the final say about what will be published and how it will be covered and presented. The managing editor is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the editorial department and makes sure that material produced conforms to guidelines and that deadlines are met. Associate and assistant editors give assignments to writers and reporters, oversee projects, and do much of the editing of text. Copy editors review manuscripts or reporters’ copy for accuracy, content, grammar, and style.
Other occupations that work closely with the editorial department are art and design workers and photographers, whose work often complements the written material. They illustrate children’s books, photograph news events, and design book jackets and magazine covers, and lay out every page of publications. The art director determines the overall look of the publication, overseeing placement of text, artwork and photographs, and any advertising on the page, and selecting type sizes and styles, or fonts.
Production occupations. Industrial production managers, with the help of production and planning clerks, oversee the production of the publication. They set up production schedules and see that deadlines are met. They also try to keep printing costs under control while maintaining quality. The production manager also determines how much it will cost to produce, for example, a 300-page textbook or an advertising insert in a magazine. In newspaper publishing, the production manager also oversees and controls the entire production operation.
Other production occupations found mainly in newspaper printing plants are prepress technicians and printing machine operators. Prepress technicians scan images and do page layout and camera work. They then process the film and make plates from it. Printing machine operators set up and run the printing presses and work with the inks. Driver/sales workers deliver the newspapers to newsstands and residential customers.
Sales, promotion, and marketing occupations. Magazines, newspapers, and directories, in particular, employ many advertising sales agents, who generate most of the revenue for these publications. Using demographic data produced by the market research department, they make presentations to potential clients promoting the use of their publication for advertising purposes. Increasingly, advertising agents sell integrated packages that include advertisements to be placed online or with a broadcast subsidiary, along with additional promotional tie-ins. This job can require substantial travel for some, while others may sell advertising over the telephone. Classified advertising sales are handled by telemarketers or customer service representatives, depending on who is making the call. Advertising and promotions managers, called circulation directors at some magazines and newspapers, study trends and devise promotion campaigns to generate new readers. They also work with the driver/sales workers to ensure that the publications are delivered on time.
Because books do not have advertising, book publishers generate sales through the use of publicity campaigns and a sales force. Public relations specialists promote books by setting up media interviews with authors and book signings, and by placing advertisements in relevant publications. Sales representatives go to places such as libraries, schools, and bookstores to promote the sale of their books.
General administration occupations. The publishing industry, as with most industries, has a variety of general managers, accountants, and administrative support staff who help to run the company. There are also computer specialists to keep the computer systems running and to implement new technologies. Others work as Internet site developers, who work with the design, editorial, and production departments in order to implement content changes and redesigns of Web sites operated by the publication. But the industry also has other occupations that are unique or important to its operations. For example, publishers are the chief executives of the company. Publishers are in charge of the business side of the organization and are responsible for implementing company policies. Subsidiary rights and permissions personnel are business operations specialists, who negotiate the copyrights for material and also license to others the right to reproduce or reprint copyrighted material. Stock clerks and order fillers and customer service representatives keep track of books in publisher’s warehouses and respond to customer inquiries. Lastly, as publications, particularly books, are published in more than one format, workers are needed to develop the new formats. Audio books, for example, require sound engineering technicians to transfer the books to tape.