Think Like an Editor blog by Steve Davis and Emilie Davis, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University

Keep asking questions – it’s a strength

By · Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

It occurred to me yesterday as I was talking to a class of reporters how easy it is to take for granted what we, as editors do: Ask questions.

The reporters, who are in an advanced writing class, are collaborating with one of my editing classes on a video storytelling project.

They wanted to know how they should go about working with editors. My answer: Start by communicating.

They wanted to know what to expect from the editors. My answer: Expect them to communicate, too.

It is all about having a conversation and asking questions, as we have said before. Asking questions is a strength, not a weakness.

The reporters asked good questions. They mentioned the vision for the story and the approach. Who decides? They all do. Through a shared language, the reporters and the editors should end up with a shared vision at the start. They should stay in touch to ensure the story does not stray from that vision. But — and this is important — if the story does change for valid reasons, no one should be surprised. Again, communication.

Keep asking questions in whatever you are doing. Ask them with confidence. Everyone benefits.

Emilie Davis


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