This is how RBI’s intranet reported the latest aspiring editors’ group meeting.

RBI’s Aspiring Editors’ Group met last week to hear from some of the company’s most experienced people exactly what it takes to step into the role of editor. Much more than just the next rung on the career ladder, taking the lead role comes with its own unique set of challenges,  writes Rachel Jones.
Editorial development director Karl Schneider, publishing director Trevor Parker and leadership development manager Hilary Harris joined the group to steer them through the demands of the job and share their own personal expectations when prospective editors step up to the plate.

“There are two words that describe the shift to editor and those are strategy and leadership,” said Karl. “It becomes less about your individual skills and more about your ability to get a team to deliver success and objectives.”

Listening to Karl talk it quickly becomes clear that the role of editor is a daunting task for the most experienced of journalists. When they take the reins of any publication it’s down to the editor to juggle the needs of their audience, their team and the commercial business; keep an eye on constraints and standards; develop their team whilst maintaining crystal clear communication at every turn. As Karl summarised for the group: “The buck stops with the editor!”

For Trevor Parker there are three core qualities that always stand aspiring editors in good stead when they come face to face in an interview: “Attitude and enthusiasm are key. It’s an incredibly rewarding job, but it’s tough and you must have a positive attitude to succeed. Second is a clear understanding of your proposition to customers, and third is the ability to manage people and develop teams.”

The group was the brainchild of Martin Couzins who held the first session two years ago when he identified a gap between what he thought he should be doing to climb the career ladder, and what the business was actually looking for. The Aspiring Editors Group was born and has since become a springboard for a number of RBI journalists into their current roles as editors, web editors, and community editors.

If you are one or two steps away from an editor’s role and are interested in joining the group, email Martin Couzins for details about the next session. The lunchtime meetings are held four times a year and not only offer guidance from senior staff but provide a useful forum to network with other aspiring editors in the business.