Media Analysis: Profile

By Virginia Rice

The article “Portland officer advocates food safety on son’s behalf” by Lynne Terry is the profile of Peter Hurley, 41, who took action after his son suffered from food poisoning to lobby congress for safer foods. This article has a decent lede, giving us some of the mannerisms of the profiled subject while not going to in depth on the subject. It is, however, a question lede which are to be avoided at all costs. It seems like a cheaper way to start the story instead of a powerful statement like “When Peter Hurley’s son became violently ill after eating his favorite food he advocated for safer foods all the way to congress”. It still gives us the idea of the story without copping out for a simple question lede.

The nut graf is well done, giving us the who-what-when-where-why without over stating any part of the story. As well there is some history of the profiled person while not giving us too much detail before the first scene set up. Throughout Terry is using a good simple amount of sensory sentences like “With his red-headed, wide-eyed son Jacob in the audience, recovered and smiling mischievously…”. As well it successfully establishes why this particular Portland police officer is important among all the other causes they fight for. It is summed with a quote about Hurley, finishing the scene.

Following the first scene is the chronology of Hurley including where he grew up, where he went to school, a little about his family, and how he became a Portland police officer. Scene two follows this correctly adding in more quotes from Hurley and professionals in the food industry reacting to his statements. It is then followed by what lies ahead and a closing quote. It’s almost as if this article was written exactly to Harrower guidelines, with perfect quotes that establish the story, problem, solution, and future. It characterizes Hurley and his mission along with others who both support him and oppose him, including food industry professionals on both sides. It would have been nice to see a picture of him lobbying in Congress but the provided picture of him and his son establishes that connection to the passion he ahd when reacting his poisoning.

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