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“Art of the Profile: Profile Journalism in Theory and Practice” wrestles with the role of the subject and the approach of the journalist to determine the effect of different forms of profile. This project is both an exploration of the genre and art of profile and a comprehensive profile of Maine author Carolyn Chute. Throughout Chute’s career, public interest of the author has focused on her personal life, rather than on her work, beginning with her very first novel, The Beans of Egypt, Maine (1985). I profile Chute as an artist instead of a caricature—a valuable practice for gaining deeper insight into her work. To build a foundation for my practice, I create a framework for analyzing the artist profile through five case studies. I examine the following elements: scene, journalistic positioning, scope and depth, and judgment. Each of the profiles I evaluate deploys these elements differently, the final products growing from the unique combination each journalist uses to tell a valuable story of an artist. Rather than a celebrity profile, which often cheapens a subject’s contributions, an artist profile examines the subject and their work, posing thoughtful questions that further their effect. A successful artist profile provides readers with deepened access to an artist’s work to spur public conversation about the subject and increase the source’s readership instead of simply dramatizing their established public image. Through my analysis, I deduce the combinations of elements that create an effective artist profile to inform my own of Chute.
Available for download on Thursday, May 18, 2028