Editors should aim to be coaches, not fixers

Coaching Writers So You Can Edit Less

Sacha DeVroomen Bellman – 2:30-3:20 p.m.

While some editors may be used to completely rewriting stories, Sacha DeVroomen Bellman says editors should work more towards being coaches and mentors so that they can encourage reporters to improve and also save themselves time during the editing process that they could use to write stories themselves. DeVroomen Bellman, adviser at The Miami Student of University of Miami, said that instead of being a fixer who simply gets the story to print while undercutting the writer and taking control, editors should coach writers, sharing control, asking questions and listening, building the writer’s confidence and focusing on a writer’s strengths.

She suggested that editors try to talk to reporters after a big interview and after the first draft to see how things are going. By talking to reporters after interviews and asking them to talk about the interview without looking at their notes, an editor can help the reporter determine the main topic of the story.

This is a skill that I think The Pendulum could definitely apply. These techniques will help make sure that copy editors and section editors aren’t having too heavy a hand, enough that the paper alienates reporters, while also making their jobs much easier.

– Mary Kate Brogan

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