Over decades at the Hartford Courant, first as a reporter and copy editor and then as politics and government editor, page 1 editor and finally Sunday magazine editor, Jenifer Frank worked with hundreds of reporters to organize and clarify their writing.

In the early 2000s, she edited and co-wrote three special editions of the Courant’s Sunday magazine, Northeast, that examined the history of racism in Connecticut.

The series was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, distributed to schools throughout Connecticut and then expanded into a book, “Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged and Profited from Slavery.”

Now, students can take advantage of Frank’s writing and editing expertise by making an appointment with her at The Writing Center in O’Leary Library, where she tutors students one-on-one several afternoons a week. She is also on the staff of a middle school and writes for a health website.

“I’ve worked with every kind of writer you can imagine. I’m not afraid of any kind of writing – I’m fascinated by it,” she says. “If it’s on a subject I’ve never seen before, I’ll ask the same questions I would ask a reporter: ‘What’s it about? What do you want to say? What are the most important things about this subject?’” 

While academic writing uses different style and citation conventions than journalism, Frank says that “good writing is good writing.”

“I’m a fan of simplicity,” she says. “If the writing is clear, if the verbs are strong, if you say interesting things, that’s good writing.”

Frank left the Courant after new owners shut down the Sunday magazine, and then she “bounced around for a few years” at different papers and websites. She had always thought about being a teacher, so she began working as a writing and academic tutor in the West Hartford schools while continuing to freelance as a reporter and writing coach.

She moved from Connecticut to Andover, Massachusetts, at the end of 2020 to be closer to family – and was hired in fall 2021 to work part time at The Writing Center.

She loves meeting students from around the world and in all different majors – and learning from them, she says. Most of the students she meets speak multiple languages. 

“There are students from everywhere here,” she says. “I feel like every day, I’m traveling.”

She encourages all students to take advantage of The Writing Center.

“It’s so valuable to get a different perspective,” she says. “It always helps to talk about what you’re working on, even if it’s just to ask, ‘Am I on the right track? Does this make sense to you?’”

When Frank isn’t writing, tutoring or coaching, she’s reading voraciously – novels, nonfiction and news. And thinking about how great writers do what they do. 

“I love words. That’s who I am,” she says. “When you write, it’s a road you’re building as you go – building it and understanding it at the same time – and if you get to the end of that, it’s victory!”