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#1
Old 08-16-2005, 07:04 PM
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Managing Editor VS Editor-In-Chief?

I've been trying to figure out the difference between these two titles for a while, but I just can't do it.

Dictionary.com was no real help, so can anyone let me on the secret of what the difference is?

Or are they really synonyms?
#2
Old 08-16-2005, 07:33 PM
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Titles like that are really sort of made up and the duties tend to vary from organization to organization.
#3
Old 08-16-2005, 07:37 PM
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I guess that settles that.
#4
Old 08-16-2005, 07:48 PM
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Like hell it does.

An 'Editor in Chief' sets the overall tone for the publication. He chooses direction, article focus, columnists, and so forth. He is, for all purposes senior staff in charge of producing the pub.

A 'Managing Editor' is in charge of making the EIC's wishes and policies come through. The EIC says 'Let's have Bill Marriott on the cover. Get someone to interview him. Make sure we have 2 sidebars about how Marriott is bringing joy to the industry'. The Managing Editor takes care of assigning the stories, getting freelancers, arranging photographers, etc. It's an important job and leaves the EIC free to set policy and wrestle with corporate.

NOTE: Above Marriott example is from real like. I can remember the quote like it was yesterday.

So the EIC sets policy. The ME executes it. Both are important positions (I've recently hired both slots, myself) but the EIC is MORE important.

More example: There will only be ONE EIC for each pub and s/he will report directly to the Publisher. However, there can be (in a large enough pub...a newspaper, for example) several ME and Assistant MEs running about.
#5
Old 08-16-2005, 07:55 PM
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Come on Jonathan that is really only how your organization does it. Other organization may divide the work up differently. Corporate job titles are made up and the higher the position is the greater the difference between organizations.
#6
Old 08-16-2005, 08:07 PM
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I have getting towards 15 years experience and have worked and freelanced and consulted at more than (counts quickly...) 25 different publishing houses ranging from tiny (2-3 folks producing some newsletter on an obscure topic) to monstrous major metropolitan newspapers. I think my experience lends some weight to being 'non-dismissive' on the meaning of various titles in the industry.

To further elaborate (some variation does apply):

Editor in Chief - Top Dog as defined above.

Managing Editor - Covers the day-to-day execution of getting the pub produced on time and one budget.

Senior Editor - Usually an experienced writer who's been around a while and can work independently.

Editor - Handles specific sections, columns and manages freelancers and such. Works with designers for layout purposes. Also handles some pen-and-paper commas and grammar editing.

Assistant Editor - Does a lot of commas and grammar stuff. Can be assigned smaller writter pieces.

Editorial Assistant - Gofer and copy kids.
#7
Old 08-17-2005, 02:19 AM
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Reminds me of the newspaperman who was captured by a group of cannibals.

He was bound hand and foot and placed in a pot of water to cook. Just before the fire was lit, the tribal chief walked up.

"What you do for work?" asked the chief.

The newspaperman hopefully replied, "I'm Managing Editor of the New York Times."

"Good, good," grunted the cannibal. "Tomorrow you will be editor-in-chief."

I'm sooooooo sorry.........
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#8
Old 08-17-2005, 03:09 AM
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I logged several years as an ME for several different publications. Jonathan Chance is essentially correct.

As an ME I did layout, copy, proofreading, and generally stood over the composing room with a whip to make sure the pubs got to the printer on time. (Miss a deadline and the printer charges more if you're doing it out of house, or you run into overtime if you're doing it in-house.) I did a dummy that told the ad people which pages they could put color ads on and which pages they couldn't put any ads on (i.e., the front page, but I got overruled on that one, by the publisher). Depending on the publication, I also wrote stories and trolled around for more stories but the essence of my job was keeping the copy moving. I also hired the production staff (although the editor could recommend/veto) and evaluated resumes and writing samples from editorial applicants/freelance riters. If somebody had to chew on a reporter (for, for instance, submitting a story that had only unnamed sources) then sometimes I did that, and sometimes I handed it back to the editor--but the thing about keeping the copy moving was a constant for all the publications.

It was a lot of fun and it caused me to grind my teeth. Not just at night--all the time.
#9
Old 08-17-2005, 03:10 AM
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Damn, every time I claim I'm an editor my post contains some stupid typo. writer that should have been. (There was a popup in my way.)
#10
Old 08-17-2005, 08:39 AM
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Just chiming in to say Jonathan Chance's division of labor between EIC and ME is exactly how I've encountered it to be.
#11
Old 08-17-2005, 07:06 PM
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Then I guess that settles that. Thanks guys.
#12
Old 08-17-2005, 07:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Chance
Editor in Chief - Top Dog as defined above.

Managing Editor - Covers the day-to-day execution of getting the pub produced on time and one budget.

Senior Editor - Usually an experienced writer who's been around a while and can work independently.

Editor - Handles specific sections, columns and manages freelancers and such. Works with designers for layout purposes. Also handles some pen-and-paper commas and grammar editing.

Assistant Editor - Does a lot of commas and grammar stuff. Can be assigned smaller writter pieces.

Editorial Assistant - Gofer and copy kids.
I deal with a lot of professional publications at work. I was wondering where the Publisher, and the Group Publisher fit into this scheme.

Actually, the Group Publisher is obviously in charge of producing several different publications. I should add that a lot of the trade mags are being bought up by large publishing corporations ilke Penton and Reed. So the Group publisher would be in charge of several of the corporation's allied publications, like Fishgutter's Monthly, Fishhead Reporter and Canadian Industrial Fishparts, say. Why, though does the GP need a publisher for the individual pub, if he's got the EIC and the ME, as well as a Sales Manager for each magazine?
#13
Old 08-17-2005, 08:19 PM
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Frequently they don't.

I'm currently Publisher of one pub and am in the process of fundraising to launch several more. Oi.

In a smaller shop the Publisher will be the top dog who runs the entire show. The Publisher will handle Admin, Accounting, etc as well as make the overall decisions on running the pub.

In a larger shop there may be a group publisher who handles a suite of publications, usually dealing with one theme. So a firm with several groups might have one group publisher who handles all say, hotel pubs. Another might handle all energy pubs. And so forth ad nauseum.

When a Group Publisher is in place there is often no 'Publisher' per se. Admin functions will be handled by the group staff. Sales and marketing decisions will be left to the Advertising Director and the Circulation Director depending on the particular concentrations.

Note, however, that in some firms the AD and CD will handle many pubs at once and have staffs of their own to handle the day-to-day stuff for individual pubs.
#14
Old 08-17-2005, 08:27 PM
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That makes sense. My own experince with teeny tiny publications was that it makes sense to combine these, since it's essentially the same thing for each magazine. For example, we had a driver who wanted every circulation route he could get his hands on. He also did circulation for two other local free pubs. When I left he was talking about making a business of it, taking over distribution for several magazines and hiring his own drivers. He was basically hitting the same places each time anyway, and he figured he could more leverage with the rack mafia with several publications.
#15
Old 08-17-2005, 08:38 PM
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Well, bear in mind that a Circulation Director is about far more than distribution. Technically that would be a Fulfillment Manager's job (nostalgically...my first position in the business...*sniff*).

The CD has two primary tasks.

1. If the pub is a paid pub or generates significant subscriptions revenue the CD has to make sure the new business and renewal dollars keep flowing in.

2. If the pub is primarily advertising-driven the CD has to make certain that the circulation numbers are high enough to generate ad sales AND that the people the advertisers want to see their ads are buying/being sent the magazine.
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