Feature writing: a practical introduction by Susan Pape and Sue Featherstone - Chapter 8: Writing Personal Columns

Pape & Featherstone state that personal columns can be divided into two categories; opinion pieces and personal viewpoint pieces. An opinion piece is an objective, balanced and rounded view of a current topic or issue, and a personal viewpoint is an individual's personal opinion on a topic. (2006, P.96) The point to a personal column is to leave the reader with no doubts as to what their opinion of a topic is. A good personal column should transfer a particular opinion over to the reader, in a manner that will either make them agree completely or disagree entirely. (2006, P.97)

According to Pape & Featherstone, a really good personal columnist will have the ability to sum up what a sensible reader is thinking, even if they were not aware that that is what they were thinking. A good columnist should always meet their deadlines, and they should always be in sync with their audience, so as to truly connect with them on a more personal level, which is more likely to make them return to future articles. A good columnist should always have something to say. Rather than being uncertain of their opinion, they will be well informed and well read individuals, who will always have a perspective to offer their audience on any given topic. (2006, P.99-100)

Pape & Featherstone suggest that a good column should always include a varied mixture of anecdotes, facts, opinion and information for the readers. To read well, it should be a well balanced mixture of these elements. The personal voice and tone of the writer should also come through, as it is something that the readers can connect with, and if they enjoy a writer's personal style, tone and voice, they are much more likely to continue reading their columns in the future, making them much more successful. (2006, P.101)

Pape, S. Featherstone, S. (2006) Feature Writing: A practical introduction. London: Sage.

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