Factors influencing editorial work within the sectors of the South African editing industry
Melanie Ann Law
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South African editors currently work in a highly diversified industry that comprises a number of different sectors. As a result of this, the role of the editor remains contentious, with varied definitions and demarcations of editorial tasks and skills. This article sets out the argument that editorial work in South Africa is characterised by specific factors which determine the importance (or otherwise) of certain editorial tasks and skills in each sector. To demonstrate this, this article reports on the findings of an empirical investigation that surveyed South African editors from all sectors of the industry on the tasks and skills associated with their everyday work. Statistical tests are applied to the data collected from the questionnaire used in this study in order to identify the extent to which the various editing sectors differ in terms of the importance of editorial tasks and skills. The data are analysed utilising the factor-analysis and descriptive-analysis techniques. Following these analyses, three factors are identified as characterising the main differences in the importance of editorial tasks and skills within the sectors of the South African editing industry. These factors are the importance of the reader for the publication, the formality of the publishing environment and the type of text to be edited.