Examining the Changing Role of Professional Editors in the Workplace




Sadler, Christy L.

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In this study, I explore how the professional experiences of nontechnical editors, a group often underrepresented in existing scholarship, are being shaped by current workplace environments and identify which of their skills are particularly valued by superiors and colleagues to determine how editors can best position themselves to succeed in the modern workplace. The findings of my online survey of 51 nontechnical editors, primarily self-employed or working in nonprofit environments, demonstrate that currently employed editors and those preparing to enter the field must align their work with the priorities of their workplace and profession, proactively adapt to changes in these priorities and professional expectations, and maintain a strategic, big-picture orientation if they are to be successful in their jobs. I argue that editors need to be more aggressive in bringing their contributions to the attention of those in charge so that their work will not go unnoticed, denying them opportunities for advancement or other professional rewards. They must also continually ensure that they get the training they need to not only learn how to skillfully use relevant new technologies (e.g., word-processing software, online content management systems, design programs) but also understand how to best utilize them in their work. To prepare editors for success under these conditions, undergraduate and graduate education programs should help students learn business-related skills like strategic thinking and effective collaboration, as well as textual-editing skills. Additionally, I recommend that current professional editors work with editing students to build professional resources and communities that will help new and current editors develop the skills they will need to be successful at a multifaceted job in a dynamic environment.



Editors, Workplace value, Professional development, Technology, Professional communication