How to butcher your students’ writing…nicely

Nice butchering? It seems an impossible task when it comes to a writing critique. However, according to at least one student, I might have mastered it. Every year in the news production class I co-teach, students are required to reflect on their experience producing a daily news show. Here’s an excerpt from one of their learning journals:

“Nicole reading over my stories and butchering them, despite doing so in the nicest way possible, was humiliating enough to make me look at my work a couple extra times [sic] to avoid so many mistakes.”

Courtesy Mallory Robbins

Courtesy Mallory Robbins

And here’s what another student had to say:

“I’ve written in an impartial, newsy style before, but never concerning actual hard news. Nicole made me very aware of this. I’m not one to slink away and cry, but, my goodness, by the 700th edit to my Rob Ford piece, I was feeling a little disheveled by her being able to continue to find little things she didn’t like.  Finally, like the end of a great fantasy saga, she was pleased and I was able to sit down comfortably and browse the Internet.”

Clearly the kid can write–and knowing my former students would enjoy that last quote, with the permission of my current student, I posted it on Facebook. Click here to check out my Storify that captures how grads responded.






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