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Lecture 5: Feature writing

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Lecture 5: Feature writing

  1. 1. News features Jennifer Coxhttp://cmat240summer.wordpress.com
  2. 2. objectives• Begin to differentiate between hard news & feature writing• Encourage you to think about different methods for telling stories• Learn to write feature ledes and stories
  3. 3. What’s a feature?• Different from breaking news, hard news• Not necessarily less serious• Don’t always use inverted pyramid• Tend to feature different topics: • Hard news: crime, crashes, government • Hard news: robbery of a local store • Features: ANYTHING! • Feature: robberies on the rise in Salisbury
  4. 4. Common topics• Lifestyle (food, home, garden, fashion, pets)• Health (trends, medicine, fitness)• Science & technology (studies, trends, new products)• Entertainment (celebrities, music, art, movies, theater)• Environment• Education
  5. 5. purposeMain goals: inform & compel readersFeatures should answer these questions in detail: • Why did this happen or why is this happening? • How will it affect readers? • How did this come about? • What happens next?
  6. 6. Feature skeleton• Feature lede• Lead quote• Nut graph• Transitions• Background information• Descriptive quotes• Closing (either an summary end quote or more information)
  7. 7. Feature ledes• Also called soft, narrative or delayed ledes• Sometimes used to convey a less serious/direct tone• Can be more catchy and creative• Sometimes use non-verbal descriptions• Set the tone of the story• May include a hint of mystery• Should lead the reader in to the nut graph and lead quote
  8. 8. Types of feature ledes• Descriptive/anecdotal ledes• Narrative ledes• Contrast/now-and-then ledes• Teaser/mystery ledes• One-line ledes
  9. 9. ExampleLede Josie Stone thought she was prepared.Lede-in But when Hurricane Ivan plowed through South Florida and her backyard, she saw the error of her ways. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Stone, 20, of Sunrise. “I thought the walls might tumble in on me at any minute.” Stone, like many South Floridians, lost her home during the aggressive hurricane that swept through the area Monday night. Now, government officials are setting out to help those in need.
  10. 10. Lede no-nos!• Don’t lead with a quote• Don’t lead with a question • What happens when a fire station shuts down?• Don’t use 2nd person • Your taxes may soon increase compliments of a new bill being debated by legislators.• Don’t use clichés • It’s that time of the year again…• Don’t use good news/bad news ledes • The good news: teachers won’t lose their jobs. The bad news: tuition is on the rise.
  11. 11. Nut graphs• The MOST IMPORTANT part of the story!• Convey the point of the story• Sort of like summary ledes• Usually found somewhere in the 2nd-5th graph • 1-2 sentences • In some cases, they are more than one graph• May be the lede (depending on the story)
  12. 12. Nut graph tips • Tell me what this story is about • Tell me why I should care• Write the nut graph first• Every sentence should relate back to your nut graph• Numbers often equal impact • The storm damage cost residents $40,000.
  13. 13. Example Josie Stone thought she was prepared. But when Hurricane Ivan plowed through South Florida and her backyard, she saw the error of her ways. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Stone, 20, of Sunrise. “I thought the walls might tumble in on me at any minute.” Stone, like many South Floridians, lost her home during theNut graph aggressive hurricane that swept through the area Monday night. Now, government officials are setting out to help those in need.
  14. 14. Lead quote• Usually located right before or after the nut graf• Should describe a key source’s feelings about the topic• Must convey real emotion, not just details• Should set the tone of the story
  15. 15. Example Josie Stone thought she was prepared. But when Hurricane Ivan plowed through South Florida and her backyard, she saw the error of her ways.Lead quote “I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Stone, 20, of Sunrise. “I thought the walls might tumble in on me at any minute.” Stone, like many South Floridians, lost her home to the aggressive hurricane that swept through the area Monday night. Now, government officials are setting out to help those in need.
  16. 16. transitions• Used to move smoothly from point to point• Block similar points/ideas together• Quotes often help transition: “It was a nightmare,” Adams said. Police began their search after receiving an anonymous tip Wednesday night.• Use transition phrases to move to background info: • (use this to move into sequential storytelling) In recent years, officers stepped up their enforcement as the crime rates ballooned.
  17. 17. Background info• Use background info to help tell the story• Tell the story sequentially to keep it organized• If your lede begins in the middle of the story, start from the beginning after your nut graf/lead quote• Use layman’s terms to keep things simple
  18. 18. quotes• Should always relay source’s feelings/emotions about the topic• Should summarize source’s point of view “When that tree came through the roof, I didn’t even think,”Jones said. “I just grabbed my kids and ran.” “The tree came through the roof at about 9 p.m.,” Jonessaid. “It caused about $1,000 worth of damage to our house.”
  19. 19. endings• Use a summary quote to end “At the end of the day, we learned our lesson about trying to surf during a hurricane,” Jackson said. “We won’t do it again.”• Give future information Commissioners will meet again Tuesday to decide whether to approve the bridge proposal.• Give contact information For more information, visit the Putnam County website at www.putnamcounty.gov, or contact Kristy Smith at 904- 434-9009.
  20. 20. Tips for writing features• Stay focused – don’t bounce around between topics• Be a storyteller – tell the tale you would like to read• If it doesn’t interest you, it won’t interest the reader• Vary the pace – follow long sentences with short, punchy ones• Use simple sentences to convey complex info
  21. 21. Extra credit/practice • Due by 5 p.m. Tuesday (before you view lecture) • Two parts: • Write three feature ledes • Select one and write a 4-5 paragraph story • Include: • Feature lede • Nut graph • Quote • Contact information
  22. 22. announcements• Extra credit practice due by 5 p.m. tomorrow• Read chapter 6, Interviewing Techniques• AP style quiz available tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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