Sunday, December 19, 2004

Montana Folks: researching and profiling unique Montanans
   

I’ve been reading Montana Folks, a new book by Durrae and John Johanek. It includes black and white environmental portraits and 1000-word profiles on 59 Montanans. “The authors sought out those people who are uniquely Montanan, so there’s a third-generation sheepshearer from Reedpoint, a retired road worker who’s job it was to clear the snow off the high-altitude Beartooth Highway, a Missoula-based mushroom hunter and, of course, a grizzly bear expert.”

High school students could do this sort of work: interviews and photographs of Montanans. It seems a good way of interpreting and documenting local culture, encouraging young people to seek out and pay attention to people worth seeking out and paying attention to.  I would love to see a collection of such profiles on this website.

We’ll develop a rubric for writing profiles. If you want a presentation to your students on doing such research and writing, done by me or Katherine or both, let us know. If you are interested in having students do this sort of work, it would be a good idea to have a copy of the book in your classroom as an inspiration and model. Let us know if you want us to order you a copy from Amazon.

Here are tips prepared by Katherine on writing a research-based feature article.

The Johaneks themselves could fit one of the profiles of their book. The couple moved to Bozeman 13 years ago from Pennsylvania, although John is originally from Wisconsin—the giant cheese wedge on his TV testifies to that fact.

A magazine design consultant, he is also a collector of children’s books from the early part of the 20th century, many of which he keeps shelved in his living room. He also boasts an impressive collection of all things 3-D—holograms, 3-D movie posters, stereo-viewers, View Masters, even 3-D cereal boxes.

Durrae is an editorial freelancer who has written articles for Bird Watcher’s Digest and Popular Mechanics. The couple collaborated on a previous book, “Montana Behind the Scenes,” a backroads guide to some of the state’s lesser known but still interesting attractions.


Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 12/19 at 02:12 PM
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