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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, computers, and mobile devices 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 editors also self-publish their work through vanity publishing companies like iUniverse and

In 2018, there were approximately 95,750 editors and 45,210 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. Major magazine publishers include Hearst, Condé Nast Publications Inc., Meredith, and American Media Inc. The market research organization IBISWorld reported that as of 2019, there are about 4,991 magazine and periodical publishing businesses with combined annual revenue of $26 billion, 6,910 newspaper companies with annual revenue of $25 billion, and 2,466 book publishing companies with combined annual revenue of $29 billion. Thousands of consumer magazines are published in the United States.