JOURNALISM IN THE DIGITAL AGE, JOHN HERBERT
Chapter 8: Writing Features For Print
According to Herbert, news is the story and a feature is the bigger, more in depth story within the original story. There are two kinds of feature, a news feature and a timeless feature. A news feature comes in association with a news story, both of which are often written to tight deadlines shortly after the event has happened. News features are often follow ups to the initial news stories and will be published the following day, whereas timeless features do not have to be used immediately afterwards. Some can even take months to be published. The important common factor that links the two different types of feature, is that they must both contain a good ‘peg’. (1999, P.182)
Herbert states that all features must have the following structure. A focus; the focus of a story must be specific, as being too generalised can make it unclear to the reader what the feature is actually about. A lead; the lead will often write itself as it will be current and on topic. For an older story or a feature, the lead must be on something new - a new twist on an old topic. The lead should be set up early, on in the article, to provoke interest in the reader, making them want to continue reading on. (1999, P.183) The ending; The end of a feature should be simple. A feature can either end with a summary of the story, or put a twist on what has already been told. They must both however, be in relation to what the writer has actually seen or heard, rather than what they think they may have seen or heard. (1999, P.184) The body; writing the body of a story means pulling everything together. After gathering your facts, establishing your lead and potentially creating a good ending, the body text is what encompasses the rest of the feature. (1999, P.185)
Herbert, J. (1999) Journalism in the digital age. Oxford; Boston, Focal Press.