We are reading Chapter 3, “How to Consult With Reporters,” in Clark and Fry’s “Coaching Writers.” I like their strategies for conferring with writers and have used many of those strategies with good results. They worked well for me as a newspaper editor and they work well for me now as a teacher.
But college journalists face a challenge that I and other teachers and professional editors don’t: the unique beast that is a student-run publication. At a professional magazine or newspaper, the chain of command, a manager’s authority and the roles workers fulfill are constant. The boss is always the boss. But on a student magazine or newspaper, the roles shift. If you are in a managerial role, you possess that authority over fellow students only in the world of the publication. You might be their boss on the publication, but you might be their classmate, teammate, best friend or even worst enemy outside of the publication. It is difficult to cement a proper relationship when your roles change like that.
This, then, is a two-part question: 1) What struggles have you faced that are peculiar to working on a student publication, and how have you dealt with them? 2) Are Clark and Fry’s strategies for conferring with writers realistic or applicable on a student publication? Which are the most likely to succeed? Which are least likely? Which ones would you like to try, or have your editor try?
J70 students, please post your response by 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 1, so we all have time to read and respond to each other’s comments before class Tuesday.
To anyone else who finds us, we’d enjoy hearing from you about your college publication experiences and any advice you might have.
I am confident we will all be tactful and respectful in our responses.