Characteristics and Types of Feature


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Lecture 1 of a series of lectures on Feature Writing

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Characteristics and Types of Feature

  1. 1. Characteristics of feature
  2. 2. WHAT IS FEATURE?Feature / feature article / feature storyAn "umbrella genre" of journalism in newspapers, onlineeditions and magazines, with different sub-categories(types).At broadest sense: everything which is not hard news oreditorials or opinion columns."Soft news", human-interest storiesDoes not have to be related to a recent news event/current issueCan be independen articles or sidebars to a news article
  3. 3. GENREA specific "type" of journalism with its own form, style andrules.E.g. news, reportage, editorial, opinion column,commentary, documentary, investigative journalism,interview, review, pop vox...Sometimes used also to refer to the field of journalism,e.g. sports journalism, environmental journalism.N.B. The lines between different genres have become blurred(e.g. between news and reportage or feature, or betweenfeature and opinion column). An individual story may notbe easily categorized!
  4. 4. Characterisics of feature(by BAJ-3)MoredetailedNot necessarily oncurrent mattersEducationalor entertainingCreative useof languageAllowsdifferent stylesof writinglongerLocatedin a specialsection in anewspaperNeedmore time todoMay providesolutions
  5. 5. ArousesEmotionsAllowsdifferenttensesAllows personalcomments/opiniosNot-news-likelead to captureattention ofreadersProceeds from less(specific/individual) tomore (general)Does notexpireIntervieweesare notnecessaryNeedsphotos/imagesCharacterisics of feature(by BAJ-3)
  6. 6. Feature vs. News -topics/contentsFEATURETimely or timelessNew/original/personalperspectives/anglesPersonal observationand experiences,stories, anecdotes...(HARD) NEWSCurrent, timelyNew informationFacts, figures,statements bypowerful people etc...
  7. 7. Feature vs. News -structure and styleFEATUREOften narrative stucture(crf. fictive stories)Time: can be cronological,also non-linear structuresMostly long articlesLead: "a narrative hook"Journalist: visible observer, presentin the story, can be an active actorStyle: Personal, descriptive,colourful, literary, emotional,humorous...(HARD) NEWSInverted pyramideNon-cronological, "order ofimportance"Short, concise articlesLead: the most important factJournalist: invisible, outsider,reports what other people doStyle: Objective "matter-of-fact"reporting
  8. 8. Feature vs. News -work processFEATURECant be done from thenewsroom, require fieldworkSources: people as sources -observations and experiences ofthe journalist & interviews withkey characters; emphasis on"ordinary people", people whohave experienced or witnessedthe things in question.(HARD) NEWSCan be done from thenewsroomSources: interviews,press releases, briefings,documents forbackgroundinformation; emphasison powerful people andexpert sources.
  9. 9. TYPES OF FEATURE(1) Interview/personality profiles(2) Personal experience articles (see also"gonzo journalism")(3) Human interest articles(4) Reportage(5) Trend stories (current trend, issues, controversies...)(6) Historical or commemorative articles(7) Background articles(8) Follow-up articles(9) Seasonal features(10) Travel writing ("travel feature" / "travel reportage" / "travelogue")(11) Specialized features ("How-to articles", "Service journalism"): Science &technology, Health & wellbeing, Home, Food, Fashion, Gardening....(News analyses - feature or a genre of its own? Crf. background article)
  10. 10. GROUP ASSIGNMENT:PRESENTATION9 groups of 4 (5) students.Each group prepares to present onetype of feature next Monday/Tuesday(ca. 15 min per group).As a group, find out informationabout the type of feature assigned toyour group. Write a short summaryand email it by 25.3.Find at least one representativeexample of this type of a featurestory and print/copy it. Use it as anexample in your presentation.
  11. 11. Utilize multiplesourcesSuch asGarrison, Bruce 2004: Professional Feature Writing.Mahwah, New Yersey: LEA.Karashani, Fili 2011: Feature Writing Training Manual.Union of Tanzania Press Clubs.Ross-Larson, Bruce 2003: How to write FacinatingFeatures? Washington: ClearWriter.Witt, Leonard (ed.) 1991. The Complete Book ofFeature Writing.