Rules for writing profiles:
-Show Don’t Tell
-Write sections with scenes and ancedotes if possible
-Work on one section at a time, with a lede and ending
Elements of a Profile
1. Lede, including charges and imprisonment clause or clauses
3. Quote supporting nutgraph and/or lede, optional but good idea
4. If the story has a really important second element (like your prisoner is now gravely ill), put it here. If not,
Begin the chronology here:
5. Short personal history ending with work as a reporter
6. Describe the journalism he/she practiced, their media outlet, and the last story they wrote/blogged before arrest
7. Moment of arrest with as much descriptive detail as possible
Short background paragraphs on (these don’t have to come as one big block. The bilateral section could go later)
8. The political context of the country around the time of arrest (like an election) or press environment (if, for example, this was a moment when many journalists were being arrested)
9. Larger political context of the country, including type of government, general political and economic stabilityb
10. Short paragraph on US bilateral relations with your country: what’s the most important thing driving the relationship and where does press freedom fit into it.
Pick up chronology here
11. Trial, if available. Often just one or two sentences since many are closed
12. Life in prison (circling back if that’s also your lede)
Pressuncuffed.org seeks to encourage and promote rigorous student reporting, scholarly research and debate on the role of, and obstacles to, independent journalism in the United States and abroad. Our website features reporting by University of Maryland students about press freedom in the United States and abroad. It also offers resources to instructors elsewhere who may want to teach classes or hold workshops on this theme. In the near future, this site will become a place for student work from around the country and abroad.
Dana Priest, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner at The Washington Post and Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism at the University of Maryland.