What Makes Good Columns Good?

Don Fry, writing coach and emeritus faculty member of The Poynter Institute, lectured on the factors that make columns accurate, complete and fair. Don Fry’s appearance was sponsored by the Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau in order to make it possible to have a top expert in attendance. Fry said to always remember that good column writing comes from good reporting. He covered a list of 23 itmes that make up good column writing. A spirited discussion of examples followed the presentation.

In a dynamic afternoon session on “Survival Skills for Columnists”  Fry discussed the two different types of writers, “planners” and “plungers” and how each kind of writer works in a different way. He explained the writing process as a five step process, and suggested that learning to write faster is a excellent way to improve your writing. He advised columnists to write an entire article without stopping and then to revise it later. If you become stuck while trying to write, his advice is to ask yourself, “What’s this about?” Fry said that, as columnists, we should redefine our purpose as “explainers for the public good.”

In a second session,

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