Feature Article

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Transcript Feature Article


DUE AT 1:15

• How is a feature article different from a hard news story?

• List three things that spark your curiosity and you would like to know more about.

• List three issues that you feel passionate about.

How is a feature article different from a hard news story?

How is a feature article different from a hard news story?

• It explores an issue in-depth • It is less time sensitive than a hard news story • There is more room for creativity in the writing style • Feature articles are highly descriptive • Feature writing can be the act of chronicling people’s life experiences.

• It demands an intimacy and interaction in reporting not present in hard news writing.

• You can take a stance- it does not have to be completely objective.

It entails more than gathering information

It is a gathering of scenes. Many feature writers seek a cinematic approach – describing or recreating dramatic scenes through text.

Some types of feature articles

• The “news” feature (ex. A profile of a community affected by the home foreclosure crisis or a feature about the slow recovery of Haiti after the earthquake and investigative reporting piece that breaks a news story) • The “historical” feature (loosely tied to a newsworthy event – construction workers unearth old trolley tracks in Manhattan – a story about outdated modes of public transportation in NYC) • The “overview” feature (date-rape or underage drinking on campus, how advertising affects men’s body image, the life of a single mother, steroid use in college sports – tying statistics to personal stories) • The “profile” feature ( the dance hall party and promoters scene in Jamaica, Queens, the popular Afghan restaurant in Brooklyn, a child-welfare nonprofit organization, the Newtown Creek)

What qualities make a good feature writer?

• Curiosity • The ability to get along with different types of people • Keen observation skills

Feature article ESSENTIALS

• A “hook” – at the beginning of the article to grab the reader’s attention.

Can be an anecdote, a good quote, a description of a scene:


It is very important to have clean drinking water.

Many people around the world do not have access to safe water, and as a result many children get sick, even die. The water can be in short supply, dirty and filled with parasites. The World Health Organization estimates that over 10,000 kids get sick every day from drinking dirty water. Some even die.


Zoila Andres, a young mother, left the house long before dawn to fetch water.

She had to trudge through the brush, and dig through the soil to bring home a bucket of dirty brown water.

She hopes her children won’t get sick from it. But her children probably will get sick.

Over 10,000 do every single day. Many do not survive.

Successful Feature Writing

• Soft lead • Anecdotes! • Descriptive paragraphs • Narrative structure – character/conflict/resolution • SHOWING not TELLING

Choosing a topic

• What would YOU want to read about?

• What are you curious about?

• What are you passionate about?

• Where is your area of expertise?

Choosing a topic

• Something you can do first-hand reporting on -- having access to people to interview -- being able to observe scenes first- hand

What is your angle?

• How can you tell this story in a way that hasn’t been told before?


single motherhood alcohol on campus safe sex the war in Afghanistan student-led political movements

• Don’t be afraid to abandon your original topic for a better one!!

• Over report • Use your senses • Use direct observations to make the story come alive • Details are indicative of a larger theme

Research methods

• NYT online – free • Government agency websites • Press releases • University website • Periodicals • Reference materials

Feature article examples

• In groups, read aloud the feature article excerpt you have been given.

• What kind of feature article is it?

• What is the topic? What is the theme? What is the writer’s angle on the theme?

• How has the author made the topic newsworthy?

• How does the writer engage the audience in the opening paragraphs?

• Who does the author interview? How do they incorporate research about the topic?

• Spend about 15 minutes discussing the answers with your group. Be ready to share with the entire class

Feature Article Pitch & Research Plan

Due at the beginning of class on 3/16. You must type and print.

Pitch the timetable for our class. Your final Feature article should be 3-5 pages and will count as your midterm. Your pitch should be succinct and clear (

up to one page


Write your pitch as a narrative (i.e. For my feature article, I will write about....). Within your pitch, you must answer the following questions: What is your topic? What is your theme?

Why did you pick this topic (How does it relate to your life experience, interests and/or goals)?

What insights will the public gain by reading your feature article (Why is it important)?

Be prepared to share your idea with the class.

Research Plan List the resources you plan to use to research your topic?

Write a pitch to your editor (me) for your feature article. Make sure to choose a topic for which you have access to good sources and a scope that is achievable in

• The young Egyptian professional could pass for any New York bachelor.

• Dressed in a crisp polo shirt and swathed in cologne, he races his Nissan Maxima through the rain-slicked streets of Manhattan, late for a date with a tall brunette. At red lights, he fusses with his hair. • What sets the bachelor apart from other young men on the make is the chaperon sitting next to him -- a tall, bearded man in a white robe and stiff embroidered hat. "I pray that Allah will bring this couple together," the man, Sheik Reda Shata, says, clutching his seat belt and urging the bachelor to slow down.

• Christian singles have coffee hour. Young Jews have JDate. But many Muslims believe that it is forbidden for an unmarried man and woman to meet in private. In predominantly Muslim countries, the job of making introductions and even arranging marriages typically falls to a vast network of family and friends.