* ONLINE * Four Weeks to Craft a Compelling Profile (with Sarah Pollock)



* ONLINE CLASS * | THURSDAYS, Feb. 13-27; March 5|

Whether you’re a travel writer, a food writer, a general interest feature writer, or someone who writes business communications, it is essential to have the ability to turn out a compelling and informative profile.

Profiles are meant to engage readers emotionally and create empathy for their subjects, and they’re an excellent way to draw readers into complicated topics. They are also some of the best stories to pitch as a freelancer, having a place in everything from travel magazines to general interest publications.

In this four-week online course, you will learn from a veteran editor and teacher how to take an idea for a profile from its first glimmering to a complete story draft. You’ll get online lessons and lots of feedback, both from your peers and the instructor.

  • In week one, you will learn how to choose your subject, how to refine your focus, and how to gain access. We will discuss the key elements of profile writing (ledes, anecdotes, scenes, quotes, description) also look at some story models.
  • In week two you will learn to do background research and how to conduct effective interviews. By the end of the second week, you will conduct your main interview.
  • In week three, you will learn how to organize your material and structure your first draft. We will consider what makes an effective beginning and end and you will submit your first rough draft for peer review.
  • In week four, you will learn how to revise and polish your draft. You will submit your final draft (up to 1,500 words) for critique by the instructor.


Module goes live on Thursday morning with lecture & notes & week’s assignment.

Assignment is due Tuesday morning to instructor and class for feedback & support.

Feedback/workshop from class is due Thursday morning.

Come to the first class with some specific ideas of people who you think would make an interesting profile.

Sarah Pollock has written and edited thousands of features in her decades as journalist. She has been a newspaper staff writer, written regular magazine features, managed several publications, and was a senior editor at Mother Jones, developing and editing stories for a national audience.  She’s also a veteran teacher, having spent a couple of decades running the journalism program at Mills College. Her latest profile, of a Norwegian woman who collects and researches the secret lore behind ancient textile patterns, can be found at Craftsmanship Quarterly.

Number of sessions: 4

Contact: sarah.pollock@me.com

Dates: Feb. 13, Feb. 20, Feb. 27, March 5

Time: Modules begin Thursdays at 10:00 a.m.; asynchronous online class

Course fee: $249

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