WRITING A FEATURE ARTICLE Casablanca Bloggers program 2012
OUTLINE2 What is a Feature Article? Feature Articles Aspects Types of Feature Articles: A personality profile. A human-interest story. An in-depth look at an issue. Start Writing a Feature Articles Types of Intros: Anecdotal Intro A Contrast Lead A Quote Intro The Question Lead
WHAT IS A FEATURE3 ARTICLE? A feature article is a soft news story that can be delivered in a number of ways. It can come in the form of: A personality profile. A human-interest story. An in-depth look at an issue. A feature article is more free flowing and less restrictive than a straight news article.
WHAT IS A FEATURE4 ARTICLE? Feature articles are not meant to deliver the news, but they contain elements of news. Their main purpose is to add the human element to the news, to add color and feeling. They often recap major news that already has been re-ported.
1- A PERSONALITY PROFILE5 A feature article can be a personality profile of a young student participating in the elections in a particular district in Morocco for the first time. The soft news is the profile of the student, which brings readers more information about youths who participate in the elections. The breaking news would be the day of the election itself.
2- A HUMAN-INTEREST6 STORY Human-interest stories are similar to personal profiles, however they usually do not have a strong news objective or value. They are reported because they are touching, unusual or have emotional or entertainment value. A human-interest story can be about a group of guys in their 60s practicing sport every Sunday in a public park. Interviews with these people can be very interesting since we don’t know their story and what they might say.
3- AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT AN7 ISSUE When writing a feature article that is an in- depth look at an issue you can take little extra time to do research on the topic you want to write about and conduct interviews to go beyond the basic news story. For example, you can spend some time with street children interviewing them and discussing their living conditions to see how they live and how they cope with their difficulties every day.
START WRITING A FEATURE8 ARTICLES Feature articles are usually not written in the traditional inverted pyramid form with a hard news lead. As mentioned previously, people usually have a little more time on their hands when they read feature stories. That gives the writer the opportunity to bring the readers into the story, to get them involved.
TYPES OF INTROS9 A good intro usually creates a mood for the reader to continue reading a feature article and therefore you should choose an appropriate intro to start your feature article with. Here are a few examples: Anecdotal Intro A Contrast Lead A Quote Intro The Question Lead
ANECDOTAL INTRO10 Anecdotal - or narrative - intro draws the reader into the story by setting the scene for them. It can take several paragraphs to set the scene before getting to the real reason for the story. When choosing this type of intro, you need to get your readers attached to a person or situation so they will continue reading. As a rule, the reason for the story is usually in the third or fourth paragraph. In journalism lingo, this is referred to as the nut graph. ► See the example.
A CONTRAST LEAD11 A contrast lead makes comparisons such as old and new, or modern and classic. These types of intros are great for historical-type stories. ► See the example.
A QUOTE INTRO12 A good quote can be used as an intro to a feature story, but it must be a powerful quote to be effective and set the tone for what is to follow in the story. A quote must always be written between quotation marks “…” and you must always state the name of the person to which you attribute the quote. ► See the example.
THE QUESTION LEAD13 A question lead is when you ask a question at the beginning of the story in the first paragraph and the answer is found in the second or later paragraph. Readers usually don’t like such intro because they are expecting answers not questions and thus when you start a story with a question it must be an interesting and provocative question to grab the attention of the reader. ► See the example.
DO NOT FORGET14 1. After the intro, in the third or the fourth paragraph in the feature story, you should include information as to why you are writing the story. 2. Include the news in your feature article which would most likely be information from a previously written hard news story. 3. Provide plenty of background information in the feature article because you are expanding on a news angle. 4. Sprinkle your story with quotes, especially early in the article, to establish a good reader/source relationship.
REFERENCE15 Ross, R & Cormier, SC. 2010. Handbook for citizen journalists. Denver, Colorado: National Association of Citizen Journalists (NACJ).