What I do

Photo credit: Mandy Fierens Photography

Photo credit: Mandy Fierens Photography

 

I’m an investigator at heart. A fixer. An editor.

I work in nonfiction, helping journalists, academics and experts in their fields share their findings with others. The work ranges from one-off individual projects to months-long planning with teams on internal editorial or organizational strategies.   

From concept through to a story or project’s final release to the public, I provide an independent perspective, helping to make sure the right questions have been asked, the best sources consulted, and that, in the end, we have something worth saying said in a way that will make the audience care to listen.

Words

I’ve been a professional writer and reporter for more than 15 years — but my love for research and telling the stories that come of it has been with me all of my life.

This means that I’ve always kept learning about the craft, testing and stretching my own work as well as learning how to break the reporting and writing process down into methods that I can use to teach the craft to others.

When I work with other writers or students, my approach focuses first on the quality of the information. I’m concerned about accuracy, credibility. Getting not just the basic facts right, but the context. It is also so very important to make sure the right voices are represented, not just the most convenient. As an old journalism textbook of mine put it, you “must ask and ask and ask and think and think and think …”

I’m also keeping in mind another important factor: Why will the audience care? I’m solidly in the camp of “the job of the journalist is to take what’s important and make it interesting.” We need to make sure the story being told will be one that not only gets the audience’s attention, but is also worth their time.

As a line editor, my projects vary in format by client. I’ve guided both professional reporters and journalism students through drafts, identifying gaps and coaching through both the research and the news writing process. I’ve also provided structural feedback to other veteran writers on nonfiction book proposals, edited raw source material into a publishable state and worked with academics and subject matter experts to help them share their work with general audiences.

Data

Data is another source that helps us find or tell a story — often both. Like other sources, we have to vet it before we trust it. And we have to know what questions to ask it, and how to put its answers in a context that provides meaning.

On the research side, I help reporters source and interview the data and can guide a long-term project building a story around findings in the data. On the design side, I help with the content strategy, thinking through and prioritizing the metrics that can be displayed on dashboards or in visualizations.

In short, I help evaluate what the data can tell us and how we can best show an audience what it means. My projects have ranged from finding the stories in local campaign finance data to designing an informational dashboard about medical device data used by an audience spread across six countries.

Strategy

Every project needs a plan, and I help teams put it together and see it through.

This takes a variety of forms — I’ve designed editorial strategies for publications, and facilitated internal strategic planning sessions for organizations. I’ve also designed and hosted workshops to enable productive conversations and brainstorming.

In all cases, I am, essentially, taking on an editor’s role — considering the quality of the details without losing sight of the big picture, managing relationships on a team and ensuring a process that results in successful collaborations.

All while keeping the audience in mind — always.

Contact me via:

Email: amyjo@warstreetsmedia.com

Twitter: @amyjo_brown