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Assignment – point breakdown
PERSONAL WRITING: PROFILE ASSIGNMENT
Use your skills in observing, interviewing, newsgathering and creative writing to weave a “human interest” story that develops the special theme or themes about your source. Remember, people don’t have to be odd, famous, or powerful to make good features. Some people just have ordinary jobs and careers, but have unique approaches to them that are interesting. NO page requirement, only a needfulness to bring your subject to life through your writing.
The profile is based on the idea that “people are interested in people.” Profiles leave your readers feeling that they know the person being profiled. This does not mean writing the person’s life story or resume. There must be a reason that the person is deserving of the feature. Finding this reason holds the key to a successful story.
Please interview the person you’re profiling at least once. Find out what makes this person unique. What is there about this person that makes them special? Often that can be a hobby, a career, a lifestyle, a mindset, etc. This uniqueness or special quality becomes the theme or themes that become the main focus of your story. You might find several qualities about your subject that you believe make the person interesting.
As you work on your profile, consider that one of the best ways to learn about your subject is to interview people who know the subject well. Friends, relatives, colleagues can tell you a lot about the person you’re profiling. This approach often leads you to ideas you want to explore and possible themes for your profile. REQUIRED: You will interview at least two other people and ask these people to “characterize” your subject, describe their traits and give you some examples or real life stories/anecdotes about their experiences with the person you’re profiling: in turn, you are required to integrate these quotes directly into your profile as evidence. A few essentials for any profile:
1) Basic information — full name, age, professional title, occupation, interests, and usually marital status and children.
2) What the subject says — use direct quotes and paraphrases, as it gives a personality and energy to the subject.
3) How the subject looks – use your best judgment here, but consider not only routine facts about height, build and color of eyes and hair, but also the details that make the subject come to life: how he or she walks, talks, gestures and uses body language or facial expressions. When you are interviewing your subject, FaceTime/Zoom, Skype to get a sense of visuals and non-verbals. If you are comfortable, exchange social media accounts, as well.
4) Background or history of the subject — although this is a story of who the subject is now, often a subject’s background tells a lot about how the subject has become who he or she is. This might include education, upbringing, hobbies and interests. Note: it is usually a mistake to begin your profile with history — use it as background or context.
5) What others think and say about the subject — talk to the subject’s friends, bosses, professors, etc. Find out what they think makes the subject special. Often you can find out a great deal more talking to others about your subject than by talking to the subject. (At least two additional interviews are necessary for this assignment)
6) Details – anecdotes, quotes, real-life examples or events, images, that reveal the person’s personality or unique attributes.
Structure and a few tips:
No need to announce intentions, such as, “I chose this person because,” “When asked about….” or “When I interviewed…”
Profiles are feature stories, and they employ creative writing concepts to “bring to life” the person you’re profiling for your readers. Avoid starting your story with a straight news lead. Instead, try to entice readers by opening with key details, anecdotes or real-life examples that “show” the theme(s) of your story and capture the essence of your subject.
Profiles attempt to dig beneath the surface and get at what makes the subject interesting, special, and different. They are not promotion pieces, focusing only on the wonderful traits of your subject. Sometimes profiles can be serious or sad, depending on the person being profiled. Personality profiles are the ultimate human interest stories, and strive to bring forward the interesting elements of the person being profiled even if they are serious, sad, tragic, eccentric or funny.
□ A Meaningful title, which speaks to the overarching themes
□ DIRECT quotes
□ In text citations for ALL quotes
□ Captions for ALL photos
□ A Works Cited page of the people you interviewed, MLA format (one subject and two other people about that subject)
Personal Writing: Profile Feature Part 1 – Outline and Interview list
Please compose a proposed outline, in MLA format, of your Profile piece. Please include your thesis statement and main points/sub points, as well as a concluding statement. Please phrase in complete sentences.
Please include a list of all those you will or have already interviewed: your subject and two people who can speak about this person’s characteristics.