JRN 401 Week 7 Feb. 23



February 24 – Justice Murray Sinclair, TRC (see posters)

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 3.59.45 PM


  • Today – Profile pitches



Feature Profiles

An Introduction to StoryCorps from Founder Dave Isay (3:00)


Dave Isay’s Ted Talk (21:40)

Dave Isay opened the first StoryCorps booth in New York’s Grand Central Terminal in 2003 with the intention of creating a quiet place where a person could honor someone who mattered to them by listening to their story. Since then, StoryCorps has evolved into the single largest collection of human voices ever recorded. His TED Prize wish: to grow this digital archive of the collective wisdom of humanity. Hear his vision to take StoryCorps global — and how you can be a part of it by interviewing someone with the StoryCorps app.


What are the elements of a feature profile?

  • a character!
  • theme angle, interesting key element that ties the story together and makes it coherent
  • newsworthy – why this person? why now?
  • How are they unique? How are they like other people?
  • Story-telling means finding the narrative – what are the elements of a narrative story?
  • Plot – tension
  • Turning point – impact on the character
  • Anecdotes – that are relevent to the theme/angle
  • motivation
  • Quotes – backed with facts, use “said” or “says”
  • Interviewing – do 2 interviews plus
    • #1 – build rapport, background, find focus/theme/angle
    • #2 – fill in gaps
    • #3, 4, 5 – other people related to the story
  • scene – details of how they work, live

Types of profiles:

  • vignette – moment in time
  • a day in the life
  • 15 minutes of fame
  • full life profile


Class activity: select students to interview and find the interesting key element about them that will make a great profile



From “How to Write a Profile Story. Available at http://journalism-education.cubreporters.org/2010/08/how-to-write-profile-story.html

What follows are some of the many questions you may want to ask:

  • Where did you go to college? What degrees do you have?
  • What, if any, further degrees or certifications are you pursuing?
  • Do you have any other special training that has prepared you for your career?
  • Where have you worked before this job?
  • What honors/awards have you received?
  • Could you give some personal background (single/married, children, etc.)?
  • Are you involved in any community organizations (charities, church, etc.)?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • Where did you grow up? Did you move around a lot? If yes, how did this affect you? If no, how did the stability of living in one place all your life affect you?
  • Are there any political or social issues you feel passionately about?
    Do you have a nickname?
  • List your favorites (book, movie or play, quote, poem, website, type of food or individual dish, music genre, song, band or individual musician, perfume, clothing style or designer, etc.).
  • Where have you traveled?
  • Tell me about your current job (activity, whatever)? What attracted you to it?
  • How do you break it down and handle everything?
  • How do you keep a healthy work/life balance?
  • What are your greatest stresses and what causes you the most anxiety in your life?
  • What is most rewarding about your job; what makes it all worthwhile?
  • What are the most critical problems faced by people in your field in this city/state/country? How do you think these problems should be handled?
  • What’s the hardest thing for you about being a _____? How do you address that?
  • What comes easiest to you as a ______?
  • Who was your favorite _______ and why?
  • So far what’s been your most embarrassing moment as a ________?
  • What’s the newest, freshest approach you are bringing to your job?
  • What’s the next skill or knowledge set you want to add to your repertoire to make you a better _________?
  • Favorite weekend activity?
  • What’s your favorite funny story about yourself?
  • Name one thing about yourself that most people don’t know.
  • List three misconceptions that people often have about you (and, if none, why).
  • What’s your life plan? What do you plan to have accomplished in five, 10, 20, and 50 years — personally and/or professionally?
  • What was your favorite toy (or game) as a child, and why?
  • What makes you laugh?
  • Best compliment you’ve ever received?
  • Anything else you’d like to add?
  • Did the person have a model or idol who they aspired to be as a youth?
  • Did the person have specific goals as a youth? How did they go about achieving those goals?
  • Who has helped them during their personal or professional career?
  • Has there been a defining moment in that person’s life that made themdecide to take the direction in life that they did?
  • Does the person have advice to offer people who are aspiring to be as successful as he/she?
  • Tell me something about yourself that people might not readily know.

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