Feature Writing: The Differences Between News and Features

In the last few feature writing posts, we have seen differences between the traditional news feature and other features. This post will look at these differences more in depth.

Features are less formulaic, and more flexible, than traditional news stories. But they have their own conventions too. Features, while usually being much longer, need to be to-the-point, simple and easily understood just like a news story. Make the feature informative and entertaining, but ensure its easy to read.

man-with-pen-and-book-in-hand-near-brick-wall.jpg

In feature writing you are allowed to show more style. You can be more descriptive, show tone, description and add colour.

As with news, features need to have an intro with impact, the feature itself needs to be topical and interesting and it has to have a significant ending. However, features get more time, with their greater length and slower pace, to allow for detailed analysis of people, places and events.

Remember the word ‘peg’ from an earlier post, well, in a news story the peg is usually contained to the intro, but in features it can take up to the fifth paragraph for the peg to be revealed. The intro in general is so different.

In news stories, the intro has to sum up the whole story, revealing every fact upfront in a news-in-brief (NIB) style. In features, like any other story, you are allowed to keep some of the facts to yourself and cleverly reveal them throughout, as to not ruin the ending in the introduction. Features can start with description, seducing the reader, or with a hard-hitting fact as a launching pad to jump start from.

Using the pyramid scheme, news stories can be cut from the bottom up, with the items of least value put at the end of the story. However, with features, the ending can sometimes be the most important part, the part that makes the most impact with the reader and its the part that rounds off the entire piece, just like with a fictional story.

To see a checklist of what you should and should not include in news stories and features, click here .

NOTES IN THIS POST ARE FROM: SUSAN PAPE AND SUE FEATHERSTONE, 2006, FEATURE WRITING: A PRACTICAL INTRODUCTION, LONDON: SAGE. P58 – 64 (CHAPTER 5)
I DO NOT OWN THE ABOVE IMAGE, IT IS FROM: http://www.wisegeek.org/what-does-the-devils-in-the-details-mean.htm
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