Every editor must learn to fix stories, but fixing is not the same as coaching. Coaching is the human side of editing. In other words, the editor coaches the writer β€” but fixes the story.

Before an editor can successfully coach a reporter, you need to know who he or she is. A simple "getting to know you" interview with a reporter can reveal a lot of information that you can use to be a more effective coach. Consider asking a writer these questions:

  • What type of writer are you?
  • Are you a slow or fast writer? What part slows you down? When do you write quickly?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • How do you approach the writing process? Do you need to write the lead first or can you jump over it to just get words on the screen?
  • Are you a plunger or a planner?

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

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