Magazine staffs are usually broken down into two divisions: editorial and advertising.
Editorial Assistant: Editorial staff are usually subdivided departmentally, depending on the focus and structure of the magazine. Again, the duties of the entry-level editorial assistant are largely administrative and/or clerical–but in addition to these, the assistant may also review manuscripts, give opinions on story proposals, line edit copy, generate story ideas, post items on the website, and even write for the magazine itself. Production cycles are much shorter in magazine publishing than they are in book publishing, since most magazines publish monthly or even weekly. Thus, the world of magazines can at times seem much more frenzied than the world of books, which moves at a slower and more deliberate pace.
Advertising Assistant: Advertising assistants at magazines help their bosses sell advertising space–and have done that, work very hard to maintain good relationships with advertisers so they’ll continue to buy space. In addition to basic clerical duties, an assistant will work on presentations; write reports on circulation, demographic distributions, and reader purchasing patterns; coordinate promotional functions and activities (breakfasts, parties, etc); and perform a variety of other duties designed to woo buyers and to keep them happy once they’ve been wooed.