2021 – Spring
Elective Reporting Topics: Profiles and Biography
Course Number: JOUR-UA 204, section 2
Day & Time: Thu | 11:00 AM – 2:30 PM
Instructor: Meryl Gordon
Prerequisite: Journalistic Inquiry: The Written Word (JOUR-UA 101)
What makes a magazine profile grab you from the start and keep you reading for 500 words—or 5,000? How do you get subjects to give you the access you need to show them as they really are? What are the various approaches to crafting a narrative and telling a story that makes the subject come alive? How do you choose which truth to tell—there are always many—about the person you’re profiling? The goal of this course is to learn the basic rules of writing profiles and biographies, from pre- and post-reporting around the subject to creating a level of trust with him or her to formulating a writing plan of action to crafting the final tale. By semester’s end you will have written several profiles of different approaches and lengths, from a 500-word person-in-the-news story to a Q&As to a full-fledged richly-textured portrait. We will read and analyze current and classic profiles. focusing especially on the use of scenes, quotes, background information and authorial interjects. Classes will include guest speakers from the print or digital magazine space—editors and writers in sports, music, business, film, politics, culture and TV journalism—who will share stories, lessons and, perhaps, connections and advice for your own forays into professional profile writing.
Notes: Counts as an elective for the journalism major and both journalism minors.