Our media editing class is reading “Coaching Writers” by Roy Peter Clark (@RoyPeterClark) of the Poynter Institute and Don Fry (@donaldkfry), a long-time writing coach. We are reflecting on what it means to “coach” a writer and on the differences between editors who “coach” and editors who “fix.” The students in the class are posting their responses to the following questions, but we invite anyone to join our conversation.
- Thinking of editing as “coaching” is probably a new idea to many of us. We’re usually trained, through English and journalism classes, to think of editing as “fixing” and “cleaning up.” Sometimes journalists new to the idea of coaching greet it with skepticism. Is “coaching” a novel concept to you? And if so, what do you think of it? Is it realistic? Worthwhile? Could you apply it to your experiences in class, with campus media, or in an internship? What questions do you have about how coaching might work?
- Think about your experience with editors (or with teachers who have graded your journalistic writing). Were they primarily “coaches” or “fixers”? Give examples of the kind of feedback you received from them, and what you learned from that feedback. Which kind of editor did you prefer? If you have done some editing, which kind of editor are you? Which kind do you want to be? If you share unhappy tales of an editor or teacher, please don’t include their names. Feel free, however, to name the editors you praise.
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