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Writing a Boxing Profile

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Cappaman, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. Cappaman

    Cappaman New Member

    I'm interning at a local newspaper and they have asked me to write an 800-word feature profile of a boxer who won her region's Golden Gloves championship and will be competing in the national championship this summer. I have written features before, but never a profile. I've done profiling stuff for creative writing, but nothing like this and nothing to be published. So, I'm just looking for some advice on what type of questions to ask when I interview the woman and any suggestions on how to approach writing this profile. I know most of my article will come out of the interview, but any general suggestions, especially in regards to the interview, would be a great help.
  2. ringer

    ringer Member

    Approach it like any other story. Do your homework on the person and the sport so you'll be able to ask intelligent questions.

    At minimum, you need to know how she got started, where she trains, and what she does in her life outside the ring. Family background is also good.

    Talk to her coach, too... and, if you can, her last opponent. If you haven't seen her compete or train in person, you should at least get a sense of her style from those who know her strengths/weaknesses. Also - remember to look ahead to nationals. Is it her first nationals? How does she plan to train?
  3. Liut

    Liut Well-Known Member

    Ask if she's ever heard of Ann Wolfe. Woman could bring it. Laila Ali wanted nothing to do with her.
  4. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Details. Details. Details.

    I'd want to know when she took her first real punch (not some sparring punch) but a punch. Hell, maybe it came in an alley or playground.

    Like, when did she know she wanted to be a boxer? She knock a brother on his ass, or something like that?

    Get her to relive those moments over and over until you feel like you were there.

    You've got 800 words, and like any assignment, make them all count.

    Call an opponent. Either someone she throttled or someone she went the distance with. They'll tell you what makes her tough to beat.
  5. ringer

    ringer Member

    Wolfe and Ali are pros; your subject is an amateur. Different scene, different rules. If you don't have all day to interview her, you might decide to save those questions for the end.

    The one thing I would stress is to make sure you don't treat her like a freak for choosing boxing -- as if a female boxer is some sort of abberation or novelty act. Women have been competing in the Golden Gloves for at least 15 years - but you probably already knew that from doing your research. The point is: her gender is no big deal. She's just an athlete, and it sounds like a very good one.
  6. rpmmutant

    rpmmutant Member

    When I think of profile piece, I think about writing about the person, not necessarily the athlete. Find out her interests outside of boxing. Is she involved in the community, church, after-school programs? Does she volunteer her time at hospitals or libraries? Does she have a job or career outside of boxing? Where does she work and what does she do? What about her family? Anyone else pursue boxing or other sports? How close is her family, supportive of what she does, any concerns?
    And I think her gender is a big deal. Woman boxers are still interesting because of their gender. Women in Golden Gloves have been around for a while, but I think women aren't allowed to compete in the Olympics in boxing. I believe that is changing next time around though.
  7. BrianMcDowell

    BrianMcDowell Member

    Why does she think she won? What makes her a good fighter?
    Ask her any boxing questions you've ever been curious about.
    (I've asked boxers about how much pain they've ever felt after a fight, or what's been the worst injury they've had from fighting and gotten some cool stories out of it.)
    What else does she do besides boxing?
    Does the fact that she's a fighter make dating difficult? How does her family feel about what she does?
    And ask what her ultimate ambition is. Is she hoping to become a professional or is this just something she does for fun?
    That should get you to about 800 words, and should provide you with some insight as to what she's all about.

    Good luck,
    Brian McDowell
  8. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Circle system. Talk to as many people about her as you can before you talk to her - they'll give you some thoughts/comments/ideas/etc. that will lead to some questions you can ask her. Easier than talking to her, talking to others and then having to circle back and get her again and say, "Oh, by the way, so-and-so said *** what are your thoughts on that?" or some such shit.

    If you've done features, you can handle a profile. A profile is a type of feature.

    YGBFKM Guest

    As mentioned before, pre-interview research is crucial. But while I've found it helpful to use that research to develop a general line of questioning going in, be open to following her lead in the interview. Write down 10-12 general, mostly obvious questions, as well as a few questions you feel are unique. But once the interview starts, listen to to what she's saying and riff off that. You may find that all the questions you've written down are easily addressed in the course of the interview. If they're not, though, don't worry. Don't expect a specific direction. Just go where the interview takes you. You can always work in the original questions as you go or work them in at the end if you feel they still appply. They may not, though, and there's nothing wrong with that. One of the best parts of reporting is that you never know where an interview will end up. Finally, just enjoy the process. Chances are this woman enjoys an opportunity like this, and so should you.
  10. YGBFKM

    YGBFKM Guest

    One more thing that might be helpful in adding detail to your story is to conduct the interview in her environment. The WORST place to conduct an interview is in a newsroom. Try to meet her at the gym, at home or at a place she spends her spare time. Just observing such places and her connection to them will help you bring her to life, so to speak.
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