Assistant editors support lead editors in all manner of editorial tasks. They form a bridge between the publication's top-level editors and the writers who produce the content. Assistant editor duties include verifying that facts are correct, advising and giving feedback to writers, managing the pool of creative contributors (such as photographers, writers and designers), and commissioning freelance writers to work on feature pieces for the publication. Assistant editors can be found in a variety of publications, including magazines, newspapers, websites, and blogs. Depending on the size and complexity of the organization they work for, the number of assistant editors will vary. For larger newspapers there may be multiple assistant editors, each covering a different subject. Smaller publications may have just the one or none at all, with the editor in chief doing all the editorial work instead. Very often, assistant editors work as middle management in the publishing industry, ensuring that production schedules are running smoothly, and reporting any relevant information back to editors. Some may manage the budget of a publication and ensure that technical details such as the printing quality and typesetting are of a high standard. As quality controllers, they are meticulous in all areas.
Assistant editors are responsible for ensuring that work produced by the writers is of the right quality for publication. They do this by ensuring that the 'copy' (writing) is free of errors in spelling, grammar, syntax and punctuation. They're also charged with making sure that the style and content of the writing is true to the 'voice' of the publication. This they do by knowing the magazine intricately and giving feedback to writers, designers and people involved in making the publication to ensure their contributions are relevant.
Assistant editors may also be expected to write for the publication, in what sometimes referred to as 'an editorial', so the ability to write is essential. Good people skills are also necessary, as assistant editors are often in charge of groups of writers so they often have to be tactful in how they give feedback back to writers and other contributors.