Coaching

Susan has coached writers and editors at both the Detroit Free Press, where she worked for two years as full-time coach, and at dozens of newspapers across the country, including the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the San Jose Mercury News and the New York Times. She has also taught at the American Press Institute and the Poynter Institute and, as an endowed chair, at the University of Michigan.

Her goal is to equip journalists with tools to craft work that is interesting, clear and authoritative – work that readers will consume from beginning to end. Today, with so many options, readers will reject what is boring, unclear or less than compelling.

Coaching also includes means to overcome emotional challenges, like writer’s block. Editors often feel stymied in communicating with writers; Susan’s coaching can help them overcome that.

She will work with writers or editors one-on-one, or in groups, giving brief presentations or offering workshops that span two or more days.

 
 
Nearly everything I know about writing I learned from Susan Ager: How to interview gently, persistently, like peeling the layers of an onion; how to shape a story deliberately instead of just letting it happen; how to avoid “speed bumps” that will bounce a reader right out of a piece; how to craft a great opening and a memorable ending. I knew Susan’s work before I met her; she was a magazine writer and then a columnist at the Detroit Free Press, and one of the people I read avidly. I admired her brave and bold choice of topics and the very human stories she told. She was never maudlin. She was honest, compassionate, sometimes funny, always provocative. Her two-day coaching session changed how I viewed my job and my craft and now, two decades later, I still find myself quoting her to reporters.
— Laurie Hertzel, Senior Editor, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Speaking

Looking for a keynote speaker? Consider Susan Ager.

Appearing before groups large and small, from librarians to cancer nurses to college graduates, she has over the years proven herself to be a self-confident, engaging and inspiring speaker.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS, Women’s Power Breakfast Fundraiser for Gleaners food bank
Detroit Westin Book Cadillac Hotel, March 11, 2009

COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS
Kirtland Community College, Roscommon, Mich., May 2005