Personality Profiles: Prize-Winning Student Journalism Samples

hearst-awardsThe personality profile is a staple of intro to journalism classes, but newspapers don’t tend to collect all their profiles in one place, so I often have trouble finding models.

Entrants in the Hearst Journalism Awards have to supply a profile as part of their application process (which also includes general news and on-the-spot reporting).  While the website doesn’t seem to aggregate the winning profiles on a single page, here are links to some of the recent winning profile entries.


  • First Place: John W. Cox (Three times a week, a truck putters 45 miles south from a farm in Sonoma County, headed for Berkeley’s North Shattuck neighborhood, filled with plump, corn-bred, nine-week-old ducks.)
  • Second Place: Andrew R. McGill (There’s a story about agrarian author Wendell Berry that food buffs and literary types like to pass around. According to popular legend, when an out-of-state fan asked Berry to travel and speak at a conference, the writer responded with a 14-line poem. It read in part: “In the labor of the fields longer than a man’s life I am at home. Don’t come
    with me. You stay home too.”)
  • Third Place: Matthew Baker (Alice Waters’ appearance isn’t the flashiness you’d expect from a world-class chef. Aside from a dark, striped scarf, she wears little color and little jewelry.)


  • First Place: Halle Stockton (Thousands idolize Mimi Silbert for her contagious spirit and persistent belief in self-sufficiency. / Her following includes ex-convicts, former gang members, heroin and crack addicts and prostitutes.)
  • Second Place: Daniel C. Ford (Gary Dockery looked around the courtroom soaking in his last few moments of freedom./He was out of chances and standing before a judge seconds away from a life sentence that would write the final chapter to his short, but violent, sad and hate-filled life.)
  • Third Place: Megan G. Boehnke (Gary Dockery looked rigidly uncomfortable sitting in his black patterned suit and red tie. Tattoos peeked out from behind the stiff fabric. There were flames on his hands, letters on his knuckles, and other symbols on his neck./ But when he started to tell a story about his savior, the 29-year-old former convict, who was facing life in prison for a hate crime only a year and a half ago, relaxed.)