A guide to the perfect profile
The WSJ format begins with a soft lead and then includes a specific and general nut. After this, there are back-up points and developments to support the nuts. Finally, this format is finished with a circle, quote or anecdotal lead. For my story I used the GOAL method for the developments and supporting points. GOAL stands for the following:
These topics were helpful when interviewing Dani Beckerman and by rearranging the order I was able to format my story according to them. I first wrote about the logistics of Beckerman’s decision to ditch her psychology degree and attend culinary school instead. I then wrote about the obstacles Beckerman had to deal with when starting Jars by Dani. From this I was able to transition into the achievements she has made and I finished the story by discussing her future goals for Jars by Dani.
Tips from the Pros
Food writer Alan Richman recommends researching your interviewee before the interview. Before interviewing Beckerman I looked at the Jars by Dani website and her Instagram profile to familiarize myself with her business. Reporter Julie Sullivan recommends limiting the amount of quotes used. When writing my profile I went through my notes many times to decide on the best quotes to include.
Because Beckerman works in New York I had no choice but to interview her via Factime. I was prepared with my GOAL questions and made sure to have a quiet place to have the interview. With her permission I recorded the interview. I also wrote down specific points she made that stood out to me. After this, I reviewed my notes and wrote a professional email with follow-up questions. During the interview I found Beckerman emphasizing her use of Instagram and I got the idea of making a timeline of Jars by Dani based on the social media outlet. I also used Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to crowdsource and see what kind of following Beckerman has.
Ethics can be sneaky
The one thing I didn’t think I would need to worry about when writing a profile was ethics. Low and behold, it found its way in. When writing this profile I realized that I needed to be careful that I wasn’t advertising for Beckerman. I had to remain focused on writing about her turning point rather than the deliciousness of her desserts.