Every editor must learn to fix stories, but fixing is not the same as coaching. Coaching is the human side of editing. It serves the reader by making the story and the writer better at the same time.

Here are some key differences between coaching and fixing:

  • The editor coaches the writer but fixes the story.
  • The editor coaches throughout the process but fixes on deadline.
  • Coaching develops the writer. Fixing gets the story published.
  • Coaching builds confidence. Fixing undercuts the writer.
  • Coaching builds on strengths. Fixing focuses on weaknesses.
  • Coaching unites writer and editor. Fixing divides them.
  • The coach shares control. The fixer takes control.

Taken from The Language of Coaching, a self-directed course by Poynter's Roy Peter Clark at Poynter NewsU.

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