what does "editor-at-large" mean?
April 5, 2006 2:43 PM   Subscribe

So what does "editor-at-large" mean? Curiously I can't find anything at all on Google or any online dictionary.
posted by cillit bang to Writing & Language (9 answers total)
Seems like a lot of magazines use "editor-at-large" or "editor" as a glorified title for "writer." It's easier to give someone an inflated title than an inflated paycheck.
posted by markmillard at 2:56 PM on April 5, 2006

"At large" means you have no specific assignments, but rather work on whatever interests you.
posted by kindall at 3:00 PM on April 5, 2006

In my experience, an editor-at-large is generally someone who contributes content (usually of their own preference, not necessarily by assignment) and has some sort of general editorial input in terms of the direction/content of the publication, but doesn't take part in the nuts-and-bolts editing or managing on a regular basis.
posted by scody at 3:06 PM on April 5, 2006

The editor-at-large title is a glorified title for writer, but the EAL often is the one to come up with the ideas s/he works on, and is expected to bring more than just assignment writing to the table. At the same time, they are not considered part of the core editorial board and thus do not make critical decisions about the life or character of the publication. They are brought in to add flavor or some certain element which the core editors decide they want. They have more leeway than a writer, and less of a need to "pitch" stories uphill. They're expected to have story ideas.
posted by scarabic at 3:10 PM on April 5, 2006

From answers.com:

At large:

Not limited to any place, person, or topic; for example, a representative at large is elected by the voters of the state as a whole rather than voters of a particular district. Free from control or restraint, such as a criminal at large.
posted by team lowkey at 4:06 PM on April 5, 2006

Sounds to me like a euphemism for "self-appointed grammar nazi."
posted by theredpen at 4:18 PM on April 5, 2006

Sounds to me like a euphemism for "self-appointed grammar nazi."

No, because we "grammar Nazis" (ahem) have other titles -- such as copy editor or associate editor or plain ol' editor -- indicating that we work on the publication on a hands-on, day-to-day basis, which is precisely what the term "editor-at-large" doesn't indicate.
posted by scody at 4:56 PM on April 5, 2006

Speaking as the publisher of a wee magazine, our editors-at-large operate exactly as scody describes.
They irregularly contribute material of their choosing, and will sometimes influence the character and direction of the mag (to a lesser extent than executive editors).

But different magazines will intepret the role in very different ways.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 5:33 PM on April 5, 2006

"Oh God, we can't fire them, but we don't want them in the office. I know! Editor-at-large. Go forth, and write us drivel, old man! And here's a sack of doubloons"
posted by bonaldi at 9:29 PM on April 5, 2006

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