Prompt #4 – Feature Profiles

Feature profiles are a great way to give non-intrusive insight into another person’s life. Because of the intimacy that often comes along with this type of story, they have a lot of potential to communicate strong and impactful emotions to the reader. They’re even more powerful, I think, when the subject of the story focuses on something foreign to the reader.

Nicolás Romero’s profile piece about Jorge Garcia, the Michigan father who was deported to Mexico, is a perfect example of a journalist bringing a foreign story right to the noses of the readers. The story covers a dreary subject – a man unwillingly separated from his family – and addresses the topic quite appropriately. Enhanced by the soft lighting and gloomy emotion of Mandi Wright’s photos, Romero’s story carries a very muted tone.

It’d be hard to find someone who would walk away from Romero’s story without a feeling of sadness or anger. Garcia doesn’t stand alone in his situation, but by focusing on his ordeal, the story acts as a beacon, spreading awareness on behalf of everyone else who is facing similar circumstances. Of the examples that we read this week, I think this story took the most amount of effort to report and write. For this type of story, a lot of effort is required to make a change.

I didn’t dislike Brittany Spanos’ story about Camila Cabello, but I don’t think it took a huge amount of effort to produce. The story is about a simple topic and doesn’t contain much of any controversy or social commentary. Most (if not all) of the quotes were pulled from a single short interview, I would guess. The story about pop culture, so it’s written as a pop culture story.

As Joe is undoubtedly aware of at this point: sports… not my forte. I don’t have any particular interest in the world of athletics – I did watch the Super Bowl this year (while writing my review story) but I wouldn’t have been able to tell you that Nick Foles was on that field before reading Benjamin Hoffman’s story.

I know that I’m probably supposed to have liked the story even though I’m not into the topic, but it just didn’t catch my attention at all. I felt like I was being told an in-depth story about someone’s trip to the grocery store. I’m miles outside of the target audience, and I wouldn’t have gotten past the second paragraph it I wasn’t reading it for an assignment.

I think half the battle in writing feature profiles is finding a good subject to focus on, and on a campus as tiny as Piedmont’s, it takes extra vigilance to find an interesting topic. (Let’s be honest, nobody wants to read a story about why some random student chose the major that they did.) I really want to find a story that’s fascinating and powerful for this next project, and I hope I’m able to. I also really liked the use of photos in Romero’s story about the deported father and Pincus’ story about LGBTQI+ students. They added a huge amount of intimacy and sincerity to the stories, and I’d like to bring that same quality to more of my writing.

One thought on “Prompt #4 – Feature Profiles

  1. Ben, the profile assignment will be especially tough for you because your story on Gabe will be difficult to top. OK, so I failed in finding a compelling sports profile for you. I’ll keep trying 🙂

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