Training/Marcom Academy

Effective Feature Writing

Feature writing is a form of writing that injects human elements and various storytelling techniques into any story. Feature stories are also human interest articles that focus on people, places and events. Some of the themes that feature most in feature stories are – success, progress, sympathy, conflict, disaster and self-interest etc. Feature stories cover topic in-depth, than hard news because they tend to explain the most interesting and important elements of a situation or occurrence.
A feature story is not meant to report the latest breaking news, but rather to give an in-depth look at a subject. They are descriptive in nature, with colourful thoughts and original ideas. It is a relatively timeless story that has natural human interest.
Since journalists reporting late breaking hard news do not have enough time to include much background and description, writers of features have the space and time to bring in imagery to the stories and provide detailed account of events. Unlike the hard news, the language in a feature story is relaxed and a bit casual. Techniques of sarcasm, satire, irony, hyperbole are applied in some situations but with caution.
In terms of organisation, feature story has to be arranged in a logical manner so as to attract readers.
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Differences between Feature and Hard News Stories
•     Feature articles are generally longer than hard news articles, the reason being that feature tries to dig deeper into its subject and expand on the details instead of trying to concentrate on few important key points.
•     In feature, it is the interest of the readers that comes first. The immediacy of the event comes second. But in hard news, immediacy comes first.
•     Feature stories are soft news, because they are not timely and swiftly reported. They are surrounded by elaboration, interpretation, detailed description etc. Hard news stories, on the other hand, report very timely events that have just occurred.
•     Feature writers have the extra time to do background research and interviews for their stories than hard news writers do.
•     Feature writing applies the storytelling technique to get the attention of readers, but a typical news story follows the inverted pyramid style of writing.
vol 3 106-120-10Important Rules for writing Feature Articles
• Give depth to your story and make it colourful.
• Remember not to follow the inverted pyramid style of writing as in the case of typical news story, rather, apply the storytelling technique to get the attention of readers.
•     Make use of quotes and anecdotes to add colour to your story, especially if your feature article is the profile of a particular person.
•     Do not include all information in case of an interview, but make use of materials that are interesting and relevant to interest readers.
•     Let your feature lead attract attention and stimulate interest and provide a hint of what the story is all about.
•     Learn to write short, concise and to the point.
•     Let your style of writing be relaxed and casual but with a lot of dialogue.
Typical Types of Features
Human interest: This is one of the most known kinds of feature. It is a story meant to engage the attention and sympathy of readers by helping them identify and have a clear picture of the subject in their minds through the experience of another. The main aim is to inform, entertain and engage readers emotionally to an issue.
Personality Profile: This is another type of feature that reveals an individual’s character, personality and life style. The profile exposes different facets of the subject so that readers can really have a good picture of the person. It can be written about a top business man, traditional rulers etc. facts about them as taken from biographical sources. Facts can also be obtained from interviewing such a personality, his business associates or relatives.
News Features: This is a combination of human interest story and hard news story. It is a type of feature story written in the style of a news article. It tackles a topic with detail and requires fact and research to back the story. They are more engaging for readers than hard news. In news features, opinions from experts or people in the area as well as fact and evidences are added to establish the truth surrounding an issue.
How-to- do- or advice stories: The aim is to gain knowledge from the experts or people who are really knowledgeable in a particular field. A feature story in this area is mostly written by medical experts, educationist as well as those in the field of engineering etc. These articles help people learn by telling them how to do something or advise them on something based on their expertise. Since it is an area that is technical, it is important to communicate to readers in a language they will understand through precision and straight to the point.
2Historical features: These features talk about important dates in history or developments in our social, political and cultural environments by comparing the past and the present. Historical features make readers revisit an event on issues surrounding it.
Seasonal themes: Stories written about holidays, and events happening at specific times of the year.
Conclusion
Feature is a form of writing that injects human elements into any story and makes use of storytelling techniques of writing.  Feature stories are also human-interest articles that focus on people, places and events. Some of the themes mostly treated in feature stories are– success, progress, sympathy, conflict, disaster, self-interest etc. Feature stories cover topics in depth, than hard news because they tend to explain the most interesting and important elements of a situation or occurrence.
Feature stories give readers information in a pleasing and entertaining manner that highlights issues. Feature articles are generally longer than hard news articles. The reason being that feature tries to dig deeper into its subject, expands on the details instead of trying to concentrate on few important key points. In feature story, it is the interest of the readers that comes first. The immediacy of the event comes second. But in hard news, immediacy comes first.
Feature stories, are soft news because they are not timely and swiftly reported. They are surrounded by elaboration, interpretation, detailed description etc. Hard news stories, on the other hand, report very timely events that have just occurred.
Feature writers have the extra time to do background research, interviews for their stories than hard writers. Feature writing applies the storytelling technique to get the attention of readers but a typical news story follows the inverted pyramid style of writing. In terms of rules, the story should have more depth than the straight news. Storytelling technique should be  applied to get the attention of readers instead of the inverted pyramid style of writing, as it is the case in news story.Relaxed and casual style of writing should be applied but with a lot of dialogue in writing a feature story.
Assignment:
In 800 words, examine those challenges that you think can confront would-be feature story writers in Nigeria. First prize – to N10,000 worth of recharge cards. The two other correct answers will get N3,000 worth of recharge cards. Written answers should be sent to:info@brandiq.com

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1 comment

fifa 16 coins January 10, 2016 at 12:20 am

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