Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Writing profiles and obits


Published on

Highlights of chapter on profiles and obits written by Carole Rich, "Writing and Reporting News."

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Writing profiles and obits

  1. 1. Profiles and Obits
  2. 2. Prepare • Know as much as possible about the person first. • Prepare questions in advance.
  3. 3. Focus • Profile still needs a nut graph. • Why is this person worth reading about? Why are you doing this profile now? The nut graph should answer that question – for you and for the reader
  4. 4. Theme • Different from nut graph • Theme is an idea that ties things together. • It helps decide which quotes, facts and anecdotes to use and which to leave out. • It can be very subtle. Ask yourself: What about this person really struck me?
  5. 5. Background • Don't write a profile in chronological order • Some background may come before the nut graph, as part of a longer lead. • Be selective in your use of background: Include essential facts plus selected details.
  6. 6. Other points of view • What do other people say about the subject of this profile? • Get quotes and comments from other sources • Sometimes, it helps to talk to other sources first, to help you prepare for the interview.
  7. 7. Get the facts right • Go back and check every spelling of every proper noun. • Some news outlets had a tradition of CQ - means you double-checked. You wrote a CQ over every proper name to indicate you had double-checked it.
  8. 8. Show, don't tell • Observe. Describe. And then show the subject in action. • Example: Don’t say a subject is “kind.” Show a kind act and let the reader conclude that. • Use details that are revealing and related to your theme.
  9. 9. In-depth profiles • Require planning. Who will you talk to? What information do you need? • Require organization. How will you tell the story? Think through an outline or structure rather than rambling. • Require transitions. Watch that you don’t jump from topic to topic abruptly.
  10. 10. Short "snapshot" profiles • Each paragraph makes a point • Must pack a lot of information into a small space.
  11. 11. Obits • Obits are stories about someone's life (not their death)
  12. 12. Obits require: • Full name. If there is a widely used nickname, put it in quotes. Gerald “Lefty” Smith. • Identification – a phrase that defines person, generally by city or profession or key fact. • Age • Date and place of death • Cause of death. Special treatment possible for AIDs and suicide.
  13. 13. Background • Specific accomplishments • Organizations • Education • Other highlights
  14. 14. Other requirements • Survivors: Use names of immediate family. Grandchildren are listed by number, usually not name. • Services and burial
  15. 15. Style tips • In obits, media outlets generally use Mr., Mrs., Ms. Miss • Do not assume a woman uses Mrs. or Miss. Ask.
  16. 16. Accuracy • Always think: Should I fact-check that? • Relatives may not have accurate information. You are still responsible for finding the truth.