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Industries & Professions /
Writing and Editing
Writing and editing is a form of communication that dates back to early times. In 4000 B.C., the Sumerians carved pictures onto clay tablets to tell stories. Writing was done to communicate with people who weren't nearby. The tools and media for communicating have evolved over the centuries, from Shakespeare's time in the late 1500s and early 1600s, when plays were a main source of entertainment and community, to the development of newspapers and magazines in the 1800s, and to the growth of radio, television, and computers since then.
Writers and editors work for publishing companies, schools and educational organizations, public relations and advertising agencies, film companies, broadcast groups, corporations, nonprofits, and many other types of businesses. They may work on staff or as independent consultants. Some juggle multiple jobs, such as educators who write and edit articles or books in their free time, or vice versa.
Those that work in publishing may work for publishers of magazines, newspapers, books, or journals. Jobs include reporters, journalists, writers, and editors. News reporters and editors cover a beat, meaning they specialize in an area or a topic, such as local government, crime, finance, politics, sports, entertainment, etc. Writers who work in advertising may have job titles such as copywriter or, with years of experience, creative director. Screenwriters, scriptwriters, and script editors come up with the stories and characters and create scripts for movies and television shows. Some may also write for radio broadcasting. Authors may specialize in writing for a certain age group, such as young adult, and/or in certain genres, such as history, science fiction, or mystery. Writers and editors also create textbooks for schools and colleges, or professional books for certain industries.
Published work may appear in traditional print or as e-books or audio books, or a combination of all three. Writers and editors may also write for online publications and blogs. These jobs require Web-savvy individuals who understand how to write for the Internet and social media. Literary writers and poets usually write for academic and university presses. Many writers and editor also self-publish their work through vanity publishing companies like iUniverse and Lulu.com.
In 2013, there were approximately 98,790 editors and 43,590 writers and authors employed in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The five largest publishers in the world are Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, MacMillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster. The major magazine publishers include Hearst, Time Warner, New Corporation, and Condé Nast Publications Inc. The market research organization First Research reported that as of 2013, there are about 6,000 magazine companies with a combined annual revenue of $40 billion, 5,000 newspaper companies with annual revenue of $35 billion, and 2,800 book publishing companies with combined annual revenue of $28 billion. More than 7,000 consumer magazines are published in the United States.