I’m working on a blog post writing question and need a sample draft to help me learn.
Your assignment: Profiles can be great fun, but they can also be rather challenging. They require us to combine our skills of knowing what readers want (FOCII elements), interviewing effectively, and organizing the story so that it is simultaneously informative, compelling, and efficient.
For today’s Reporting Practice, you are going to write a profile of someone whose story readers would want to hear. This could be anyone, from your roommate to your grandparent to a local celebrity! (You don’t actually have to interview a real person) There should be an element of newsworthiness here — a connection to a larger cause, trend, or issue — as well as a personal perspective or voice that is unique and will capture readers’ attention. You’re also going to incorporate at least one (and perhaps more than one) image of the subject. So let’s get started!
- Conduct TWO INTERVIEWS with REAL people, not in this class. As with our last profile story, you will interview the SUBJECT for a primary interview, which is likely to be longer and more in-depth. This interview should help you with both facts and perspective; you should find material for direct and indirect (and possibly partial) quotes from this interview. You will also interview at least one SECONDARY source for further perspective on the subject; this interview is likely to be shorter and more focused, based on the ideas generated in the main interview. If you find that you have follow-up questions for the subject, you may need to arrange for ongoing communication.
** Please arrange these interviews as face-to-face (in person or virtual) to whatever extent you can. A phone interview is a second choice, only in necessary situations; email interviews of the subject are not allowed for this assignment. Remember to identify yourself as conducting an interview for your journalism class and to be respectful of the subject’s time — I will accept the assignment past the deadline, as long as you email me to update me on the timeline you have arranged with your source.
- Include quotes (likely a mix of direct, indirect/paraphrase, and partial quotes) from your interview. Be sure to transcribe, quote, punctuate, and attribute the words and ideas of your interviewee accurately, fairly, and responsibly. Remember that quotes are delivered in past tense.
- Write a clear headline that reflects the mood of the story. Remember, too, that your headline should be vivid (tempting), accurate, fair, efficient, and appropriate, according to the guidelines we’ve discussed in class.
You will demonstrate your ability to conduct meaningful interviews and quote (directly and indirectly) appropriate content from a source, as well as to build a story that demonstrates awareness of reader interests and larger issues that are localized to a particular person’s experience. You will also demonstrate your ability with more pragmatic skills like caption- and headline-writing.
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