Spring SAVY 2017, Day 3- Intro to Journalism
This week, SAVY Journalism students moved from writing news stories to writing feature stories. While the main goal of news stories is to inform, feature stories seek to inform and entertain or give further context to an issue. Our class focused on a very common form of feature journalism – the profile.
Students started the class with an interview assignment. Building off the news story they’d written about school budget cuts the previous week, they were asked to write a profile of a classmate about his or her after school activities or hobbies. Students paired off and practiced the interviewing skills they’d learned last week. For this assignment, they quickly realized, they needed to go deeper than simply asking for the reaction quotes they’d gathered for their stories last week. After gathering some initial material, students read two sample published profiles, and discussed the ways in which these articles were very different from the hard news articles they’d read previously. These articles had a much broader scope, they noticed, often summarizing the subject’s entire life instead of a single event. And, they used more creativity in their opening paragraphs and overall structure.
When they sat down to write their own profiles, students quickly found it was difficult to come up with an engaging and creative lead. To help, we practiced a creative writing technique of incorporating sensory details to create a scene: a way of making readers feel like they’re right there in the room with the profile subject. Students had their partners describe a memorable or emotional moment in their activity, sport, or hobby, supplying details not only about who was there and what happened, but how the experience felt. Then, students wrote short scenes describing that moment as a way of opening their profiles. By the end of the class, each student had completed a draft profile of his or her partner.
Next week, we’ll leave the strictly objective world of newswriting behind for articles that are based in opinion: editorials, op-eds, and reviews. See you next week!