ObjectivesThe learner will be able to:• Describe the special characteristics of a feature story.• List ideas that could be developed into a feature story.• Explain the importance of organization in the writing process• Write a polished feature story for publication.
What is feature writing?• Think of the feature story as a news story written like a piece of short fiction.• You must combine the rigors of factual reporting with the creative freedom of short-story writing.• The feature story’s form must be more fluid than that of a news story; the inverted pyramid style won’t work here because the story needs a definite beginning, middle and end.• The readers won’t be able to scan a few paragraphs; they will have to read the whole story to understand it.
What Is A Feature Story?• A feature story is a prominent news story written like a piece of short fiction. The story is usually not related to a current event, but it could be.
Features Evoke More Emotion Than News• Feature stories place a greater emphasis on facts that have human interest.• Features put people in the story; they make the reader think and care.• You can write a feature story about anyone if you find an unusual angle that captures the interest of your readers.
Types of featureGenerally feature stories are of two types:• News features, which are usually written as a follow-up or as a sidebar story that is linked to a breaking news event• Timeless story, which does not have to be used immediately. The information in this story will be just as relevant if saved for a future issue
Human Interest• Involves persons rather than things• Students who win an award or do something significant such as scoring 1600 on SAT or qualifying for Olympic Games• Retiring teacher• What it’s like to be a crossing guard
Interviews• Usually done with prominent persons• Can be informational or personal profile feature• Informational interviews deal with an authority whose opinions are of significant value• Personality interviews are interesting because of the individual rather than the subject matter.
Informational Features• Of historical, social, practical interest• Basic purpose is not to entertain but to inform.• History of the school• How-to features such as “how to buy a good stereo” or “what to do if you’re arrested or in an auto accident”
Personality Sketches• Develops a total picture of the person• Attempts to reveal personality through anecdotes• Looks at mannerisms, actions, dress, experiences.• Facts readers will want to know:1. Name2. Personality3. Background4. Physical appearance5. Environment6. Hobbies7. Influence on others8. Anecdotes, observation
Featurettes• Also called mini-features• Clever• Attention-getting leads• Events usually told in chronological order• Conclusion is often a surprise• Short—told quickly
Feature story ideasTalk radio Weird cravingsThe truth about goat cheese The best books not to readCrazy answering machine messagesBeepers, cell phones CoincidencesPsychotherapy Tattoos, body piercingIndividualism
Feature story ideasForeign exchange students Eating disordersPart-time jobs Unusual hobbiesTeacher features Favorite moviesFavorite celebrities Fast-food restaurantsFashion trends Top Ten Lists
The Feature Lead• The beginning of the story must pull the reader in. The first sentence must make the reader want to read the second sentence. The lead may or may not contain a hook, a detail that draws in the reader’s attention.
Types of Feature LeadsSome good feature leads include:NarrativeDescriptiveStriking statementPunch or astonisher
More Information On Feature LeadsThe best rule in feature writing is to observe no rules, aside those of basic journalistic style and structure.The best lead for a feature story is a natural extension of the story—nothing forced or contrived without consideration to the tone or subject of a story.The best lead is the lead that’s relevant, grabs the reader’s attention and fits the mood of the story.
Novelty LeadsFollowing are feature leads, also called novelty leads. They should be used with caution, should never be forced or sound artificial. They should sound natural and fit the mood of the story.When a novelty lead serves the purpose of grabbing the reader’s attention and holding it so that he/she wants to read the rest of the story, it should be used without reservation.