Nolan is an editorial fellow at The Atlantic.
Jada Yuan’s profile of Mindy Kaling for New York magazine is almost a year old, but it has been a major influence on the way I write. It moves effortlessly from funny to sad, and it captures Kaling so well that it’s hard not read her quotes in her voice. But I think the story’s structure is the best part. The piece mentions a sign in Kaling’s room that reads: STAKES MOTIVATION TURNS ESCALATION, which she says are the four pillars for a great comedy story. If you read closely, I think you’ll notice how Yuan’s article follows a similar organization that shows Kaling’s model works well for great journalism, too.