Assignment 4: Profile – Spring 2016

Worth 25 points

Deadlines: Each one must be met for full credit.

  • Profile pitch due Mon., April 18
  • Rough draft due at our meeting Wed, April 27-Mon, May 2
  • Final draft due Wed., May 4 at 2:30 p.m. No extensions. Whatever is posted at that time is what will be graded.

Assignment Overview:

Create a multimedia profile of an individual or a group of people. A profile is a biographical piece – “a concise rendering of a life through anecdote, incident, interview and description.”

No profiles of friends or relatives.

You can work solo or in a team. If you have a team project, find a partner and let me know. Students who work in pairs will receive the same grade for the assignment.

You will select the media elements and presentation based on the story and the most compelling ways to present your story. You can use text, photos, audio, photo essay, audio slide show, video, map, or graphics. (See examples below.)

Your final feature should demonstrate what you have learned and skills you have gained in Online Journalism 1 and 2.

You should create something with the goal of getting it published and/or adding it to your portfolio of work. (For example, this story was completed for my class and then published in

Elements of a great profile:

Here are some of the essential elements of a great profile:

1. Choice of subject – Someone you are genuinely curious about. And someone who can articulate who they are, what they do, and why they do it.

2. Action – Your subject must “do something.”

3. Access – For interviews and to observe person in action.

4. Perspective – From others who know the subject. You want to interview others. And you want to see your subject in relationship to others.

5. Attention – To the words, actions and details that reveal something about your subject.

Profile Pitches:

Each profile pitch must be submitting in the following format.

  • Story pitch written in XY format. (I’m doing a story about X…and it is interesting Y…)
  • How did you find this person?
  • What kind of action or event are you planning to observe? You need something in addition to interview.
  • What media formats are you using? Why is this the best way to tell the story?
  • What publication/news outlet are you writing this for? Who is your primary audience?

Inspiration from ONA finalist list:

Inspiration from former students:

In the past, students in the class have profiled:

  • A whiskey distiller in Camden
  • A zoo keeper at the Cape May Zoo
  • Owner of the Record Museum, a vinyl record store
  • A Quidditch team
  • A dog whisperer
  • Skydiving instructor
  • Winter surfers in Wildwood
  • Family who started the Pitman Christmas light display
  • Barefoot runner
  • Lenape Indian chief
  • Horseback vaulting team
  • Guy who prepares baseballs for MLB using mud from the Delaware Bay


Content (10 points)

All profiles must have all of the following elements:

  • Strong lead or beginning. (1 point)
  • Nutgraph – a clear statement (either by writer or by subject herself) of “who profile person is” and “what this profile is about.” (1 point)
  • A scene of subject in action. (1 point)
  • A scene of subject in relation to others (i.e., dialogue, interacting, etc) (1 point)
  • Basic background information on subject – age, hometown, occupation, etc. (1 point)
  • Clear explanation (either by writer or by subject herself) of how she got to this place or activity. The “journey to now.” (1 point)
  • Anecdotes – A series of events, “this happened and then this happened…” (1 point)
  • Moments of reflection – Clear quotes that tell audience why this matters. (1 point)
  • A quote from someone who can provide perspective on profile subject. (1 point)
  • Strong ending or kicker. (1 point)

Quality of Writing and Media (13 points)

Writing and media will be assessed on the following:

  • Compelling featured image, descriptive headline with key words, byline and credits for multimedia (1 point)
  • Quality of writing (structure, clarity, grammar, spelling, etc.) and quality of media (appropriate choice of media, reporting and editing) (10 points)
  • Contiguity – Clear relationship and flow of text and all media elements (2 points)

Pitch and revisions (2 points)

  • All deadlines met (see above) and improved revisions at each stage of process.

How To Turn It In:

Post your final version to or post it on your own. If you post it somewhere other than the rough draft site, be sure to let me know where and make sure I have access.

Final profile must be posted by the end of the final exam period, Wed. May 4 at 2:30pm. No extensions. Whatever is posted at that time is what will be graded.

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