Focus on the news feature

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Focus on the news feature

  1. 1. FOCUS ON THENEWS FEATUREEvents and issues in close-up:the news feature in action©Martin HirstDeakin UniversityMarch 2012
  2. 2. WHAT IS THE NEWS FEATURE?On a current issue in the news  Background Issues-based features are really the bread and butter of  Analysis feature writing and quite  Commentary often are written to accompany a developing  Profile news story.Adds to understanding feature writing (telling the story), p.255 Tanner, Kasinger, Richardson (2008)Talks to leading playersTakes the story further
  3. 3. EXPLAIN, EXPLORE & ENTERTAIN People make the news Events have consequences What happens next? Trends develop over time
  4. 4. A news feature goes deeper than just apress release.It thoroughly explores an issue. In orderto write a feature, youneed to provide research, facts,statistics, and, most importantly,interviews or sources.It takes more time and effort to createafeature than a press release, but theresults are often remarkablybetter.
  5. 5. THREE FEATURES OF A NEWSFEATURE
  6. 6. Hypothesis-basedTHE INVESTIGATION inquiry Patience andInvestigative journalism involves persistenceexposing to the public matters that are Never tell yourconcealed – either deliberately bysomeone in a position of power, or sources everythingaccidentally, behind a chaoticmass of facts and circumstances that Careful and congenialobscure understanding. first contactIt requires using both secret and opensources and documents. Nurture with frequent conversationsHunter, et al. Manual for investigativejournalists Sorting and planning your material Step-by-step approach Can build from a news
  7. 7. FOCUS AND CONNECTFocus your story.Dont make sweeping generalizations that you dont back up withyour reporting.Take out statements you cant support, or continue digging untilyou can nail it.Dont make five points that are thinly reported, when you couldmake two or three strong points that are well reported andfleshed out. Chris Harvey 2008
  8. 8. MAKE IT MANAGEABLEDont bite off a topic thats too huge  Keep your project to ato fully report in a couple of weeks. managable sizeTo write a trend story documentingall the restaurant openings and  Try having more thanclosings on Route 1 might take one go at the storyweeks or even months to fully  Save an angle for laterreport and write, but to write aboutone restaurants failure and re-birth  Go back to your sourcescould be done in the allotted time. for clarification Chris Harvey (2008)  Keep the lines of communication open
  9. 9. BITE FIRST, CHEW LATER THE RESEARCH FILE The research file is a tool to help you develop your story lines, narrative frame and argument STORY LINES – the angles and information you are pursuing the ‘known unknowns’ NARRATIVE FRAME – how do you think that the story will be best told – remember your audience and target publication ARGUMENT – the evidence and opinion you will mount to prove or disprove your hypothesis
  10. 10. THE RESEARCH FILE Synopsis – a succinct summary of your topic  Tell us what your story lines are, what your hypothesis/argument will be and outline your narrative frame Background – the context  Give some history to the case/story – demonstrate that your hypothesis is sound & based on history / facts / similar events & trends Current situation – what do you already know  Outlines more about your hypothesis and importance / impact / value of your story lines Sources – primary and secondary  Primary sources – potential interview subjects and people / organisations who have information you want  Secondary sources – previously published material on the topic or related topics

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