Convener:  Margaret Walter, Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram


Lisa Marie Pane, Associated Press, Providence

David Kessler, Essential Coaching

Paul Janensch, Quinnipiac University, journalism professor


There’s telling (do this) and mentoring (here’s how I do it) and coaching (let’s see what works here).

Coaching can work on deadline, but you have to make it happy. Stay calm and directed.

Don’t assume, for example, that someone is unhappy or that they agree that something about their performance is an issue. Ask the person if he/she agrees there’s an issue or is unhappy. Be direct and communicate.

LISTEN — and listen again to what is said and NOT said.

Compliment publicly; criticize privately.

Care about the “coachee,” want them to succeed.

General comments made as part of the discussion that could prove useful to others who want to think about how to coach:

  • Catch someone “doing something right” and reinforce it.
  • There are different styles of coaching, but look for where the passion is.
  • Give generous and honest compliments. Always criticize privately.
  • How to handle “old dogs”  — Ask for help solving problems. “I don’t know. What do you think?”
  • Think about how to manage your manager
  • A “culture of coaching” is needed.
  • Environment fosters a coaching environment
  • Talk about coaching, not being soft or letting people off the hook
  • How to each some without doing it for them.
  • Ask “What’s the news?”
  • Look to other disciplines (e.g. abstract of a scientific paper is a lead for a story) for tips on getting into the story.
  • After news gathering, have reporters debrief with editor or co-worker before writing.
  • The qualities of a good editor are not necessarily the qualities of a good reporter.
  • Listen — Journalists are not necessarily good listeners, reporters so often intent on next questions that they miss what person said to take a different tack
  • When trying to get change, ask “changee” if they agree there’s an issue. Perhaps pair person with another for mutual mentoring
  • A lot of coaches among peers, if fostered: How would you handle this?
  • Group setting without cubicles best to foster interaction

Suggested reading:

Joe Torres’ “12 winning ways”

Phil Jackson, football coach, book on coaching

Posted in Session Notes | Comments Off on Coaching

Career Transitions

Convenor:  Chelsea Conoboy- UNH

Reporter:  Rochelle Stewart-UNH


  • Sara Paulsworth -UNH
  • Amanda Klimiata-USNH
  • Karen Testa- AP
  • Adam Gorlick- AP
  • Geoff Gevalt-AP
  • Lisa Arsenault-UNH


-Editing is important. It encourages us not to close our eyes.

-No one will realize a great story with out a great editor.

-AP newspeople end up editing each other.

-entry level copy editing positions are often a good place to start at.

-every cross roads provide an opportunity

-helpful when editor begins as a reporter or writer cause they can relate to the writer better

-put your all into everything that you do, even the little stories that can wind up on the obituary page

-“write the hell out of a story”

-each time you enter a news room, you have to learn to crawl before you can walk or run.

-people that are good reporters don’t always make the best editors

-people in this field want to do it well

-have to challenge the stories without challenging the people

-no one is going to write the story the way you would

Posted in Session Notes | Comments Off on Career Transitions

Closing Remarks

At the end of the meeting, each participant was asked to name an insight or idea that they were taking back to their workplace.  Here is what they said:

  • Thinking & Writing visually
  • Excellence
  • Patience
  • Thinking ahead
  • Listen to the 10th degree
  • Networking
  • Manage by listening
  • Bring writers and editors together as creative outlet
  • Treat sources as human beings
  • Cultivate photo-reporter relationships
  • Reporters are human, too
  • Standards
  • Listen, listen and listen some more
  • Care and encourage to care about readers
  • Passion
  • Dissect positive, replicate it
  • Articulate what matters
  • Give story time it deserves
  • Willing to take risks
  • Go after what intrigues you most (despite what your boss says)
  • Appreciate writing
  • Carve out time
  • Smooze
  • Look deeper
  • Finance stories can be compelling
  • Resignation: Don’t.
  • Have humility
  • Frame what we do from the reader’s perspective
  • Take criticism as a positive
  • Learn from listening
  • Find and tell good stories
  • Don’t give up; be persistent
  • Be hard-nosed
  • Devil’s in the details
  • Put yourself in the place of those in your newsroom.
Posted in Session Notes | Comments Off on Closing Remarks