Applying Scanlan’s ‘The Coaching Way’ to media design instruction

Editor, adviser can assume coaching role

By Melanie Wilderman

I first heard of Chip Scanlan’s “The Coaching Way,” in 2004 when I was preparing to teach my first college-level class, Introduction to Media Writing, as a very green master’s graduate and new adjunct instructor for my alma mater. I was 23 years old and, like many new instructors, terrified my students would think I was a fraud. “The Coaching Way” saved me that first semester. It guided me as a teacher as much as it helped guide my students.

SAMPLE 1
SAMPLES: In examples of students’ final designs for the basic business card assignment, note that they make decisions concerning color, font and placement of simple shapes to create the business cards. In doing so, they are primarily practicing the concepts of dominance, balance, hierarchy and space in their work.

For those who may not be familiar, Scanlan, a seasoned journalist and former writing instructor for The Poynter Institute, detailed his approach as an editor in a 2003 Poynter article. He said he approached coaching journalists first with the question, “How can I help?” Then he listened to the answer. Sounds simple, right? Even Scanlan admitted this, but it’s an important first step, and what follows is a more intense progression of open-ended questions throughout the writing process and a back-and-forth between editor and journalist (or, in educational settings, between teacher and student) that requires participation from both parties. He calls this style “The Coaching Way.” Continue reading “Applying Scanlan’s ‘The Coaching Way’ to media design instruction”

Navigating disasters and tragedy as a journalist  

‘Empathy to the forefront’

By Christine Bartruff
University of South Carolina Honors College

A chemical smell. A haze in the air. Broken windows. Abandoned jugs of milk. Through the eyes of a reporter, this was the scene in Minneapolis following protests against police brutality sparked by the killing of George Floyd. 

Erin Ailworth, Midwest correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, spoke to students via Google Hangouts while she was on the ground in Minneapolis. Ailworth is well-versed in covering heavy subject matter. She’s been The Wall Street Journal’s go-to disaster reporter since 2017, reporting on hurricanes, wildfires and, most recently, protests. 

READ AILWORTH’S STORIES
IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

When interviewing people, especially those who are traumatized by the events she’s covering, Ailworth exercises empathy. Approach people gently, she said, without shoving a camera or notebook or recording device in their face. Start with introducing yourself, and then ask if they would be willing to talk with you. Continue reading “Navigating disasters and tragedy as a journalist  “

Hight reminds student journalists to take care of themselves

Sound advice from the Mega Workshop

By Bradley Wilson, CMR Managing Editor

When it came to the opening of the College Media Mega Workshop in Minneapolis, Joe Hight asked the 350 or so students what they all have in common.

Quickly, the students stated the obvious.

  • We tell stories
  • We all individually tell stories
  • We have deadlines
  • We’re nosey. We’re curious as well.
  • We’re skeptical.
  • We follow a set of ethical standards
  • We’re passionate. When you lose that passion that’s when u go into cynicism.
  • We’re here for the truth. People wonder what the truth is these days.
  • We’re tough. Only heard three or four of you say yeah.
  • We ask the tough questions.

Then Hight turned the talk into what he really wanted students to start thinking about.

He asked, “I’ve always learned how journalists are resilient. Is that a myth?”

Continue reading “Hight reminds student journalists to take care of themselves”

2017 more like ‘1984’ than 1984

Survey details collision in classrooms between literature and reality

By Bradley Wilson
CMR Managing Editor

Lynn Neary with National Public Radio said George Orwell’s 1949 novel, 1984, again topped the Amazon bestseller list and had become, in her words, something of a political barometer.

Neary reported, “A spokesman for Signet Classics, which currently publishes 1984, said sales have increased almost 10,000 percent since the inauguration and moved noticeably upwards on Sunday. That’s when Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway appeared on Meet The Press. When host Chuck Todd challenged the Trump administration’s assertions about the size of the Inauguration Day crowd, Conway responded with a phrase that caught everyone’s attention.”

“Alternative facts,” Conway said.

Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President, tells Chuck Todd that the Press Secretary used ‘alternative facts’ in his first statement to the Press Corps.

Washington Post reporter Karen Tumulty on CNN’s Reliable Sources said the phrase reminded her of phrases from Orwell’s classic: doublethink, ignorance is strength, war is peace, freedom is slavery. Continue reading “2017 more like ‘1984’ than 1984”