2024 - Fall

The Critical Profile

Course Number: JOUR-GA 2057.001

Day & Time: Mon | 5:10 PM – 9:10 PM

Location: 20 Cooper Square, Room 700

Instructor: Alex Abramovich

In this course, we’ll tackle the challenges of producing successful profiles, with an emphasis on practical solutions to frequently encountered problems. Topics will include composing a seductive lede, translating jargon and technical arcana for lay readers, wresting vivid scenes from dull subjects, and the ethics of handling sources. We’ll study how various journalists, writing about figures in a broad range of fields, from politics and finance to scholarship and the arts, have negotiated the profile’s challenges. We’ll read pieces by the genre’s most talented practitioners and meet some of those journalists in class. Along the way, students will acquire a sense of the idea profile’s historical trajectory, from its antecedents among New York intellectuals in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s and the New Journalism of the 1960s to its flowering in recent decades, in magazines like Lingua Franca, The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker.

CRC Priority / Instructor Approval Required