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Transcript of Personality Features
Definition & Purpose
Bringing subjects to life
Examples of personality feature ideas
Staff Sgt. Rod Foliente’s experiences as a combat photographer enable him to give BPAS-C students an accurate perspective on what they can expect as deployed PA professionals
Write a personality feature
A personality feature is a human interest feature that focuses on a single person and something interesting about him or her.
Employs creative writing to “bring to life” your subject for readers
Digs beneath surface at what makes subject interesting, special and different
Edie Toney has a unique teaching style that helps her students learn and retain more
Sarah L. Hood is a movie buff and brings her love of movies to work
Use quotes liberally
Personality features should have about 50 percent quotes, both direct and indirect
Quotes let your reader “hear” your subject
Paraphrase to clean up grammar problems
Porter said large physical stature isn’t a requirement for his job in security.
“I’m not a super studly guy. I’m well rounded, maybe even a little chunky, but I can hold my own,” he said. “You put 10 to 15, 200-pound guys in a pit for a Rage Against the Machine show, and there are going to be some people flying over, trying to stage dive. We’re going to stop them. They’re not going to get by us. They never do.”
Describe physical characteristics
Physical description allows readers to “see” the subject
Description can include personal appearance, demeanor, facial expressions and dress
Be specific when possible
Don’t lump physical description into one paragraph
Observe subjects in their environment and take notes
Herbert Reed is an imposing man, broad shouldered and tall. He strides into the VA Medical Center in the Bronx with the presence of a cop or a soldier. Since the Vietnam War, he has been both.
His hair is perfect, his shirt is spotless, his jeans sharply creased. But there is something wrong, an imperfection made more noticeable by a bearing so disciplined. It is a limp – more like a hitch in his get-along.
It is the only sign, albeit a tiny one, that he is extremely sick.
(From a 2006 MSN story about men who were exposed to depleted uranium)
Use bio/background info
Biographical information allows readers to know more about the subject
Develops the character in your story
Don’t lump information into one paragraph
Only include information that is relevant to the focus
At 54, he is a veteran of two wars and a 20-year veteran of the New York Police Department, where he last served as an assistant warden at the Riker’s Island prison.
He was in perfect health, he said, before being deployed to Iraq.
(Notice how this relates to previous information about Herbert Reed and his physical description.)
“Tech. Sergeant Jones was a timid instructor when I first met her,” said Navy Chief Petty Officer Jamie Kirk, an instructor at DINFOS.
“We went through the Instructor Training Course together, and I thought she wouldn’t make it through her first lecture without having a panic attack,” said Kirk, who has worked with Jones for three years. “But she’s really blossomed. Now, she breezes through large lectures with 50 or more students like it was nothing. It’s amazing to see how far she’s come.”
Secondary sources are required to give depth and credibility to your story
Allow secondary sources to speak about your subject in relation to your focus
Often a good source for anecdotes
Be careful about comments that tell versus show. Follow up with why or how
DINFOS OFFICIAL NOTE-TAKING DEVICE #2