Feature Story Types

Types of Feature Stories
One thing to remember is Feature stories,
while journalistic, are first and foremost stories
 With a
▪ Beginning
▪ Introduction
▪ Middle
▪ Rising action, climax, falling action
▪ End
▪ Conclusion
There are two genres of feature stories
 News Feature (Less common)
▪ Usually tied to a breaking story
▪ Has to be pushed out right away
 Timeless Story (More Common)
▪ No sense of urgency, often written over longer time
▪ Can be held until the right time to publish
Categories and appeals
 There are at least 15 widely recognized types of
 All can be either news or timeless features
 Some categories are about “things” but people
are more interesting
 Effective writers will transform the “Thing”
feature into a “People” feature
The commemorative story
 News features pegged to anniversary of an earlier
news event
 Usually at the 1st anniversary and then in intervals
▪ 5, 10, 15, etc
▪ What are some examples of news events a
commemorative feature can cover?
Explanatory Story
 Shows the reader how something works
 Think of the show “Modern Marvels”
▪ How electricity or gas reach your home
▪ How chocolate, gum or cotton candy are made
▪ How bees make honey
 These types of features require much research
▪ You need to know almost as much as the experts you are
interviewing in order to fill in the story
The first person story
 Story written by the author about themselves
 Usually dramatic or personal
▪ Requiring the use of “I” throughout the story
 How I discovered…
 How I found out…
 When I…
▪ What type of events might be appropriate for this
The Historical Story
 Usually pegged to a breaking news event
 When the news breaks it requires research for
better understanding, leading to a feature
▪ Ex. Crews installing water line discover long buried
street car tracks
▪ Construction of a new building is delayed while a
pioneer cemetery is moved
The Hobbyist story
 What are some of your hobbies?
 Most people collect something
▪ Any collectors in here?
 When selecting a story like this
▪ Make sure you are talking about the person
▪ With the biggest or most diverse collection
▪ With vast experience in the hobby
The How-To Story
 Covers steps to do a task
▪ often a difficult, unfamiliar or uncommon task
 If the how-to is something that people charge for
▪ You may have to talk to several people before getting
enough info for a feature
The Invention Story
 A feature about people who have develop
▪ Unusual or helpful inventions
▪ How they came up with the ideas
 Or the inventions themselves
▪ Discussing details of how they work
▪ How they were put together
The Medical Story
 Stories about illness (often costly ones)
▪ Chronicle the families financial plight
▪ In hopes of a donation
▪ Unusual illness
▪ Trying to find treatment
▪ Medical breakthrough stories
▪ Finding a cure
▪ Determining the cause of an illness
The Number Story
 You develop a feature story about the top
▪ 10 restaurants
▪ 5 deadliest intersections
▪ 5 causes of stress
The Odd-Occupation Story
 Think “Dirty Jobs”
 What are some odd jobs you can think of
 High rise window washers
 More on Pg 9
The Overview Story
▪ This is a feature that focuses on an issue/problem
▪ Includes statistics from official sources
▪ Gives reader an overview of the issue/problem
▪ Example- Feature story on domestic violence
▪ Start with a specific well known case
 Interview police, social workers, etc
▪ Include stats showing frequency of domestic violence
 Unknown to readers
The Participatory Story
 Story where the writer immerses themselves in
the story
▪ Feature on a sanitation worker
▪ Writer works as a sanitation worker for a few days
▪ Well known story
▪ Nelly Bly writer for the New York World
 Had herself committed to an insane asylum
 To write about the conditions there
The Profile Story
 Story done on someone of interest
▪ Arrange interview
▪ Do some research on the person
▪ Interview subject and others who know them
▪ If people are uncooperative
 You will rely on others only and research
▪ Should paint a word portrait of the person
▪ Reader should get a sense of how the person
 Looks, sounds and thinks
The Unfamiliar Visitor Story
 Story where the perspective of the topic I given by
a visitor
 For example
▪ Your town has a high unemployment rate
▪ A visiting diplomat from China is in town
▪ You write about their perspective
▪ Show how is unemployment handled in China