Monday, March 17, 2008

Definition of Feature writing

Feature writing is a kind of story writing slightly similar with news writing. It is underpinned by factual detail and news sense, but it is longer, more expansive and more personal than the news story. There is freedom to use own voice and personal experience.

Features should have more sources, background and context, and balance of fact against self indulgence. Melvin Mencher identifies some of the key characteristics of feature writing:

- activity: showing people doing things

- talk: let the subjects speak at length

- underwriting: let action and dialogue drive the feature

- motion: keep the piece moving forward

Features writing has more comment, analysis, color, background, and a greater diversity if sources than news stories and explore a number of issues at greater depth.

Feature writing is often marked out by:

-color: small details adding life to writing

-observation: description of people/events

-opinion/slant: writer or publication’s world view

-quotes: most features draw on original material/sources

-narrative: story telling

-dialogue/debate: discussion/argument

-context: scene setting

Other considerations:

-not news story, though may be built around it

-idea of ‘going behind/underneath the news’

-importance of knowing the style, content if the newspaper/ magazine you are aiming at writing for

-visual dimension: feature writers have ‘the biggest eyes in journalism’

-time: there is usually a much longer deadline for longer features due to production schedules

Some types of feature writing:

*issue based – canvassing views on one particular aspect of a subject.

*human interest- based on people, their life stories, not necessarily famous personalities.

*eye witness reporting- embedded journalism- being part of an event – detailing it

*personality/celebrity journalism- choice of subject down to their status, public awareness.

-profiles- detailed article on well-known/ interesting characters in the field

*trends- foods/restaurants, jobs, music, fashion, etc.


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