Writing News Feature

Writing News
“Features put people in the
story; they make the reader
think and care.”
A feature is a prominent news story written like a
short story piece of fiction. The story is usually not
related to a current event.
As a writer, you must combine the rigors of factual
reporting in news with the creative freedom of short
story writing. The feature story’s form must be more
fluid that that of a news story. The inverted pyramid
style must be sacrificed so that the story can have a
distinct beginning, middle and end.
Features place a greater emphasis on facts that have
human interest.
Facts about
A news feature is usually
written as a follow-up or a
sidebar story that is
linked to a breaking news
story. (A sidebar is an
article that accompanies
and appears beside the
main news story.)
A timeless story does not
have to be used
Two Types of Feature Stories
For both, a
of story
as many
details as
•Describe people,
setting, feelings
“Don’t write about man, write about a man.”
E.B. White
2. Localize and personalize your stories
3. The strongest features are almost always about
4. In feature writing there are no restrictions on
subject matter. Often, a feature is nothing
more than a simple story about a common
person in an uncommon circumstance. The
feature writer’s job is to find a fresh angle.
Finding Feature
Profiles are one of the most popular
types of features is the profile. A profile
is a short, vivid character sketch. A good
profile includes impressions,
explanations and points of view. A
writer should make sure that the subject
of the profile lives on the page by
providing dramatic tensions and telling
details. Begin with an unusual insight or
noteworthy detail.
The first sentence must make the reader
want to continue to the second sentence.
That does not mean that the beginning the lead – has to be extraordinarily clever.
Instead, it should be honest and
Getting the Story
The Summary
The Striking Statement
The Descriptive Lead
The Narrative
Quotations and questions
– Using a summary paragraph as a lead is similar to the use
of a lead in a news story.
– A striking statement used as a lead shocks or
surprises the reader. The reader, astounded by some fact or idea, is promised the
details later in the story.
– The descriptive lead is constructed with concrete,
vivid details. The writer paints a clear picture of the scene, the individuals and
their emotional states.
– The narrative lead is probably the most popular. Narrative
leads recount stories in which things happen. They often incorporate incidents or
anecdotes. Dialogue can be used to draw the reader into the narrative. Action is
the key.
– Leads that use quotations and
questions generally are ineffective choices for inexperienced writer.
Five Different Types of
2. Summary
3. Anecdotal (split anecdotal technique)
How About Those
Ask three vital questions as a way to
improve the organization of your feature
What’s your subject
2. What are you trying to say?
3. How will you say it?
Organizing the Material
Finding the right voice
2. Using vivid description
3. Rounding out a profile (show not tell)
4. Humour the reader
Refining the Story
A structure is an
organizational pattern the
writer used to synthesize
relevant pieces of information.
These include the:
 Hourglass structure – begins as an inverted
pyramid. Below the “waist” of the hourglass, the
information is introduced in chronologic order.
 Spatial story uses physical space rather than
logical sequence to determine order.
 Writing the story in scenes can show the subject
of your story reacting differently in different
 Parallel narrative follows the separate course of
two people, groups or events at the same time.
“Think of each idea in your story as an
island. Your task is to bridge the islands
to keep your readers from drowning.”