Feature story

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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.[1]

Published features and news[edit]

Feature stories are stories with only one feature, but are creative and true. Feature stories can also be make believe. 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 story in the style of a news story. 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. A feature story can be in a news article, a newspaper, and even online.


In The Universal Journalist,[2] David Randall suggests the following categories of feature:

Colour piece
Describing a scene and throw light on its theme.
Fly on the wall

{the main idea is the Fly on the Wall}

Behind the scenes
Similar to the above, but with the journalist a part of events.
In disguise
Pretending to be another person (see Ryan Parry[3]).
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).[4]
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[edit]

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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism Guidelines" (PDF). Pulitzer.com. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 
  2. ^ Randall, David (May 1, 2000). The Universal Journalist. Pluto Press. p. 240. ISBN 0-7453-1641-7. 
  3. ^ "Paper exposes Palace security". BBC News. November 19, 2003. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  4. ^ http://www.uncp.edu/home/acurtis/Courses/ResourcesForCourses/WritingFeatureStories.html

Further reading[edit]

  • Garrison, Bruce: Professional Feature Writing. Routledge, 5th edition 2009. ISBN 978-0415998970