A feature story is not hard news and is distinguished by the quality of the writing. Stories should be memorable for their reporting, crafting, creativity and economy of expression.
Published features and news
While the distinction between published features and news is often clear, when approached conceptually there are few hard boundaries between the two. It is quite possible to write a feature in the style of a news story, for instance. Nevertheless, features do tend to take a more narrative approach, perhaps using opening paragraphs as scene-setting narrative hooks instead of the delivery of the most important facts.
- Colour piece
- Describing a scene and throw light on its theme.
- Fly on the wall
- Behind the scenes
- Similar to the above, but with the journalist a part of events.
- An examination of a particular person. Will often include an interview.
- This type of article assists readers by explaining how to do something (and the writer may learn about the topic through research, experience, or interviews with experts on the topic).
- Fact box / Chronology
- A simple list of facts, perhaps in date order.
- Backgrounder / A history of
- An extended fact box.
- Full texts
- Extracts from books or transcripts of interviews.
- My testimony
- A first-person report of some kind.
- An examination of the reasons behind an event.
- Vox pop / Expert roundup
- A selection of views from members of the public or experts.
- Opinion poll
Usage by the press
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As the print media faces ever stiffer competition from other sources of news, feature stories are becoming more common as they can be more engaging to read. At many newspapers, news stories are sometimes written in "feature style," adopting some of the conventions of feature writing while still covering breaking events. Wire services such as the Associated Press, which previously made a point of distributing only news, now also include feature stories.
The Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing is awarded annually for a distinguished example of feature writing in an American newspaper or magazine, giving prime consideration to high literary quality and originality.
- Garrison, Bruce: Professional Feature Writing. Routledge, 5th edition 2009. ISBN 978-0415998970
- "Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism Guidelines" (PDF). Pulitzer.com. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
- Randall, David (May 1, 2000). The Universal Journalist. Pluto Press. p. 240. ISBN 0-7453-1641-7.
- "Paper exposes Palace security". BBC News. November 19, 2003. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
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