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Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
Stalking the wily news feature
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Stalking the wily news feature

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A brief guide to conceiving, reporting, organizing and writing a work of enterprise journalism.

A brief guide to conceiving, reporting, organizing and writing a work of enterprise journalism.

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  • 1. Stalking the wily news feature A brief guide to conceiving, reporting, organizing and writing a work of enterprise journalism
  • 2. What is a news feature? • Not breaking news
  • 3. What is a news feature? • Not breaking news • Not merely a human-interest story
  • 4. What is a news feature? • Not breaking news • Not merely a human-interest story • Generated by reporter and editor
  • 5. What is a news feature? • • • • Not breaking news Not merely a human-interest story Generated by reporter and editor Freedom to define what the story is
  • 6. Is it a newspaper or magazine story? • Lines have blurred — “magazine” story can appear in a newspaper
  • 7. Is it a newspaper or magazine story? • Lines have blurred — “magazine” story can appear in a newspaper • Medium-length feature — 1,500 to 2,500 words
  • 8. Is it a newspaper or magazine story? • Lines have blurred — “magazine” story can appear in a newspaper • Medium-length feature — 1,500 to 2,500 words • News story — 700 to 1,200 words
  • 9. Is it a newspaper or magazine story? • Lines have blurred — “magazine” story can appear in a newspaper • Medium-length feature — 1,500 to 2,500 words • News story — 700 to 1,200 words • Longer magazine story — 3,000 to 10,000 words
  • 10. Getting ideas • Reading — newspapers, magazines, books, Internet
  • 11. Getting ideas • Reading — newspapers, magazines, books, Internet • Talking — friends, family, colleagues, sources
  • 12. Getting ideas • Reading — newspapers, magazines, books, Internet • Talking — friends, family, colleagues, sources • Paying attention — carry a notebook!
  • 13. Is there a story? • Pre-reporting
  • 14. Is there a story? • Pre-reporting • Google, LexisNexis, etc. – What can you learn? – Who else has written about this?
  • 15. Is there a story? • Pre-reporting • Google, LexisNexis, etc. – What can you learn? – Who else has written about this? • Short interviews to refine story and see if sources will be available
  • 16. Theme sentence • A sentence (or two) explaining precisely what your story is
  • 17. Theme sentence • A sentence (or two) explaining precisely what your story is • A guide to your reporting — cut it out, paste it on the wall in front of you
  • 18. Theme sentence • A sentence (or two) explaining precisely what your story is • A guide to your reporting — cut it out, paste it on the wall in front of you • Could form basis of your lede or nut
  • 19. Theme sentence • A sentence (or two) explaining precisely what your story is • A guide to your reporting — cut it out, paste it on the wall in front of you • Could form basis of your lede or nut • Could serve as your pitch
  • 20. Theme sentence • A sentence (or two) explaining precisely what your story is • A guide to your reporting — cut it out, paste it on the wall in front of you • Could form basis of your lede or nut • Could serve as your pitch • You might have to change it
  • 21. The nut graf • Usually the third or fourth paragraph
  • 22. The nut graf • Usually the third or fourth paragraph • It places the anecdotal lede in context by answering three questions
  • 23. The nut graf • Usually the third or fourth paragraph • It places the anecdotal lede in context by answering three questions • What is the story about?
  • 24. The nut graf • Usually the third or fourth paragraph • It places the anecdotal lede in context by answering three questions • What is the story about? • Where is the story going?
  • 25. The nut graf • Usually the third or fourth paragraph • It places the anecdotal lede in context by answering three questions • What is the story about? • Where is the story going? • Why should the reader keep reading?
  • 26. Whom should you interview? • Horizontal diversity – Variety of viewpoints — fair and neutral
  • 27. Whom should you interview? • Horizontal diversity – Variety of viewpoints — fair and neutral • Vertical diversity – Variety of sources — key players, expert observers and ordinary people
  • 28. Blundell’s six key concepts • History
  • 29. Blundell’s six key concepts • History • Scope
  • 30. Blundell’s six key concepts • History • Scope • Reasons
  • 31. Blundell’s six key concepts • • • • History Scope Reasons Impacts
  • 32. Blundell’s six key concepts • • • • • History Scope Reasons Impacts Countermoves
  • 33. Blundell’s six key concepts • • • • • • History Scope Reasons Impacts Countermoves Futures
  • 34. Organizing and writing • Step one — read through your material quickly
  • 35. Organizing and writing • Step one — read through your material quickly • Step two — re-read slowly, organizing it as you prepare to write
  • 36. Organizing and writing • Step one — read through your material quickly • Step two — re-read slowly, organizing it as you prepare to write • Keep related material together
  • 37. Organizing and writing • Step one — read through your material quickly • Step two — re-read slowly, organizing it as you prepare to write • Keep related material together • Try not to bring sources back for an encore
  • 38. Organizing and writing • Step one — read through your material quickly • Step two — re-read slowly, organizing it as you prepare to write • Keep related material together • Try not to bring sources back for an encore • Aim for a memorable ending
  • 39. A generic news-feature outline • Part one – Lede
  • 40. A generic news-feature outline • Part one – Lede – Nut graf
  • 41. A generic news-feature outline • Part one – Lede – Nut graf – Support for nut graf
  • 42. A generic news-feature outline • Part one – – – – Lede Nut graf Support for nut graf Quote and/or setup for next part
  • 43. A generic news-feature outline • Part two – Secondary lede
  • 44. A generic news-feature outline • Part two – Secondary lede – Explication and narrative
  • 45. A generic news-feature outline • Part two – Secondary lede – Explication and narrative – Flesh out all or some of the six key concepts • History, scope, reasons, impacts, countermoves, futures
  • 46. A generic news-feature outline • Part three – Can be short
  • 47. A generic news-feature outline • Part three – Can be short – “Circling back”
  • 48. A generic news-feature outline • Part three – Can be short – “Circling back” • Quote from person you opened with
  • 49. A generic news-feature outline • Part three – Can be short – “Circling back” • Quote from person you opened with • Quote from another, similar person
  • 50. A generic news-feature outline • Part three – Can be short – “Circling back” • Quote from person you opened with • Quote from another, similar person • Your own attempt to sum up
  • 51. Too formulaic? • Not as much as it seems, especially after you’ve done it a few times
  • 52. Too formulaic? • Not as much as it seems, especially after you’ve done it a few times • Not the only way to write a news feature, but simple and effective
  • 53. Too formulaic? • Not as much as it seems, especially after you’ve done it a few times • Not the only way to write a news feature, but simple and effective • Sometimes editors want something different
  • 54. Reading for journalists • William E. Blundell, “The Art and Craft of Feature Writing” (much of this slideshow is based on his ideas)
  • 55. Reading for journalists • William E. Blundell, “The Art and Craft of Feature Writing” • William K. Zinsser, “On Writing Well”
  • 56. Reading for journalists • William E. Blundell, “The Art and Craft of Feature Writing” • William K. Zinsser, “On Writing Well” • Strunk and White, “The Elements of Style”
  • 57. Reading for journalists • William E. Blundell, “The Art and Craft of Feature Writing” • William K. Zinsser, “On Writing Well” • Strunk and White, “The Elements of Style” • Anywhere good news features are published

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