Turning The Pages Of The Publishing Industry

Jaideep Patel brings us around the office at GTI Media Asia, publishers of gradmalaysia, for a first-hand look at the people whose job is to bring books and magazines to life.
Jaideep Patel
Publisher, gradmalaysia.com

No one really knows how long books and magazines have been around. However, one thing is for certain; plenty of work goes into each and every page. Here’s a quick snippet of the different jobs that can be found within the publishing industry as well as the description of each profession.


Writers in the publishing line spend a lot of their time researching on suitable topics for the publications they are assigned to, and sourcing the right content for their articles. Many writers also conduct interviews with people of interest before they can even type out the first line of their article. The job could entail travelling or other perks but this depends on the company the writer is attached to.

The day-to-day functions of a writer include:

  • researching on the topics designated by the editor or sub-editor
  • conducting interviews and/or surveys to gain a deeper understanding on the topics
  • writing articles according to guidelines or directions provided by the editor or sub-editor
  • assisting graphic designers in terms of layout design and choice of images used
  • liaising with members of other departments for ideas and feedback.

Editor or sub-editor

An editor or sub-editor is primarily in charge of ‘cleaning up’ the articles before they can be sent for print. They are the quality control officers of the entire operation; it is the duty of the editor or sub-editor to ensure that there are no grammatical or spelling errors in the articles. However, this role entails many other responsibilities, including the responsibilities of a writer. Editors usually start off as writers and move their way up to the editor position.

The day-to-day functions of an editor or sub-editor include:

  • preparing the overall direction of all publications
  • proofreading and finalising articles
  • conducting interviews and/or surveys to gain a deeper understanding on the topics
  • liaising with clients, suppliers and other external parties
  • assisting graphic designers and writers in their day-to-day work.

Graphic designer

Almost every publication includes the use of graphical elements, so graphic designers play a big part in the publishing industry. Some graphic designers eventually move up the ranks and attain art director status, where they play a bigger part in the planning of the visuals.

The day-to-day functions of a graphic designer include:

  • planning and designing layouts for articles using desktop publishing (dtp) and graphic design skills
  • consulting with members of other departments for ideas and feedback
  • sourcing and recommending suitable images and/or other graphic elements for articles
  • preparing electronic files for printing purposes
  • liaising with printers and suppliers.

Many have dismissed the publishing industry as one that is past its prime but the sun has not yet set on it! Magazines, books, and other publications (either physical or virtual) have an indispensable role to play in the lives of millions around the world, and nothing suggests that this will change anytime soon.