Waking up with sports profiles

By Tommy Hamzik

I was awake just as early as I would have been were I at my 8 a.m. class, but I was much more excited to be up for my first session here in Philadelphia.

I attended the 9 a.m. session titled “Writing Sports Profiles,” presented by Mike Jensen of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Writing stories about people and their journeys really interests me, so I had high hopes for the session.

Jensen, who’s written for the Enquirer for 26 years, gave some good advice. He focused early on how it’s our story and we have the liberty to structure it how we would like and include what we want to include, emphasizing not to force yourself to include certain people’s sound bites.

The two biggest things I took out of it were his mantra that Wright Thompson told him, “It’s always worth it,” and his message about empathy. We always need to try and understand the person’s situation if we’re writing a profile of them, especially if it’s a deep story.

The one thing I disliked was how he rambled a bit by just giving raw examples of “I was able to find this one person who really helped with this one story.” How does that help me?

Looking forward to chowing down on lunch soon and heading to more sessions this afternoon.


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