What Are Feature Stories?
Feature stories are human-interest articles that focus on particular people, places and events. Feature stories are journalistic, researched, descriptive, colorful, thoughtful, reflective, thorough writing about original ideas. Feature stories cover topics in depth, going further than mere hard news coverage by amplifying and explaining the most interesting and important elements of a situation or occurrence. Feature stories are popular content elements of newspapers, magazines, blogs, websites, newsletters, television broadcasts and other mass media. While journalists reporting late-breaking hard news don't have enough preparation time and copy length to include much background and description, writers of features have the space and time to evoke imagery in their stories and fill in details of the circumstances and atmosphere. A feature story is not meant to report the latest breaking news, but rather an in-depth look at a subject. Feature articles range from the news feature that provides sidebar background to a current event hard news story, to a relatively timeless story that has natural human interest. Features generally are longer than hard-news articles because the feature penetrates deeper into its subject, expanding on the details rather than trying to concentrate on a few important key points. In hard news stories, often referred to as inverted pyramid style, the reporter makes the point, sets the tone, and frames the issue in the first paragraph or two. In a feature story, on the other hand, the writer has the time and space to develop the theme, but sometimes postpones the main point until the end. The whole story does not have to be encapsulated in the lead. Typical types
There are many kinds of feature stories. Here are some popular types:
Human Interest: The best-known kind of feature story is the human-interest story that discusses issues through the experiences of another. Profiles: A very common type of feature is the profile that reveals an individual's character and lifestyle. The profile exposes different facets of the subject so readers will feel they know the person. How-To: These articles help people learn by telling them how to do something. The writer learns about the topic through education, experience, research or interviews with experts. Historical Features: These features commemorate important dates in history or turning points in our social, political and cultural development. They offer a useful juxtaposition of then and now. Historical features take the reader back to revisit an event and issues surrounding it. A variation is the this date in history short feature, which reminds people of significant events on a particular date. Seasonal Themes: Stories about holidays and the change of seasons address matters at specific times of a year. For instance, they cover life milestones, social, political and cultural cycles, and business cycles. Behind the Scenes: Inside views of unusual occupations, issues, and events give readers a feeling of penetrating the inner circle or being a mouse in a corner. Readers like feeling privy to unusual details and well kept secrets about procedures or activities they might not ordinarily be exposed to or allowed to participate in. Non-fiction stories
Feature stories are journalistic reports. They are not opinion essays or editorials. They should not be confused with creative writing or works of fiction.
The writer's opinions and attitudes are not important to the story. The writer keeps herself or himself out of the story.
Writing in the third person helps maintain the necessary distance. Telling stories
Hard news stories report very timely events that have just occurred. Feature stories, on the other hand, are soft news because they are not as timely, not as swiftly reported. Feature writers have the extra time to complete background research, interviews and observation for their stories.
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