The case for profiling

Apr 23, 2006

My earlier posting about this hectic home left unsaid the fact that my nightstand is piled high with magazines (New Yorker, The Atlantic, National Geographic Adventure, Seed) left unread in the past weeks; issues that I’ve read get put into another, taller pile in the corner of our office/spare room, much to Erin’s disappointment, though I have on occasion impressed her and guests by disappearing into the office to quickly retrieve an article from months back that pertained to the dinner conversation.

On tonight’s West Wing, Josh had to reckon with being overworked and in desperate need of a vacation. That hit home, so as soon as the episode was over, I grabbed an issue of the New Yorker that John Ettorre recently alerted me to , which has a profile of the great folk singer Pete Seeger. This article was a bit different than most New Yorker pieces, with anecdotes or quotes that went on longer than usual but that fit perfectly the tenor of the great American.

I recently read another magazine profile (I think the New Yorker piece about an oysterman), and when I finished that I pondered that old chestnut “Is blogging journalism?” You don’t get to read many profiles in blogs, I thought. I wonder if that’s an opportunity. Of course, a profile is usually the nuanced story of a slice of a person’s life. But that’s precisely what I’m hoping to accomplish with the StoryBlogging project. So there’s another task for me: in the next few months, I’ll write a narrative profile of someone on one of my blogs.

Edit: That other magazine profile, about street salesman Joe Ades, was in Vanity Fair.

Anton Zuiker

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