Writing Successful Profiles

This Webinar was originally broadcast on:
September 29, 2011 Enroll Now
Watch and listen to the original one-hour Webinar in its entirety. This Webinar recording features the full presentation led by Poynter faculty and visiting faculty including Q&A from the audience and resources from the presenter.

Course Overview

Writing Successful Profiles
Originally Broadcast On:
September 29, 2011
Time Estimate:
One hour and 15 minutes

About Webinars

In this virtual classroom, participants can join in a seminar led by Poynter faculty and visiting faculty. This screencast includes live audio and a slideshow presentation in which participants can post questions and respond to poll questions posed by the host.

Whether it’s a daily-turn profile of a person in the news or a richly reported feature story, all successful profiles require a clear sense of purpose. Learn to get beyond the obvious and write about a life, not a resume.

What Will I Learn:
  • How to avoid profile clichés: the Heroic Do-gooder, the Freak of the Week
  • How to distill the larger meaning
  • How to report for character and complexity, choices and consequences, action and detail
  • Every profile is really a quest
  • Vulnerabilities make characters more appealing
Who Should Take this Course:

Feature, obituary and other writers tasked to make an account of a person's life.

Course Instructor:

Jan Winburn

Jan Winburn is Senior Editor for Enterprise at CNN.com, which she joined in 2009 after more than 30 years as an editor at newspapers and magazines. She is a recipient of the Dart Society’s Mimi Award given to editors “who encourage journalistic excellence and understand how to navigate the emotional landscape of assignments on tragedy and trauma.” She edited Lisa Pollak’s 1997 Pulitzer Prize-winning feature story “The Umpire’s Sons,” and was named a Times-Mirror Journalist of the Year in 1997 for improving writing at The Baltimore Sun.

Technical Requirements:

This Webinar contains audio. Please adjust your headphones or speakers.
We strongly suggest viewing our Webinars with a wired connection.

  • Flash Player - Adobe® Flash® Player 10.1 or higher
  • Browsers - Mozilla Firefox 2 or higher; Safari 2 or higher; Google Chrome (any version)
    Windows users can also use Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or higher
  • Bandwidth - 256Kbps (512Kbps recommended)

Some networks, especially those that use a proxy server, my encounter difficulty connecting to our Webinar software. If this is your first Poynter NewsU Webinar, please test your connection.

Questions? Read our Webinar FAQ or contact us at webinars@newsu.org.