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Feature Writing

Campus Journalism

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Feature Writing

  1. 1. One who knows fully the art of fine writing in all its dimensions.  A journalist who not only can report facts, but can transmit the mood and tone of an event.  who can impress upon the reader the significance of what happens. Facts for authority; mood and tone for sympathy; interpretation for lucidity. What is a Feature Writer?
  2. 2.  Inquisitive  Eager to learn  Sympathetic towards other people’s feelings  Capable of seeing beneath the surface of ordinary events Qualities of a Good Feature writer?
  3. 3.  Key function is to humanize, to add color, to educate, to entertain, to illuminate  As opposed to news stories, features are generally believed to be more creative in orientation.  If news stories typically follow the “5W’s and 1H format”, feature stories are allowed—sometimes, even encouraged—to deviate from this formula. What is a Feature Story?
  4. 4.  Like news stories, feature stories are also underpinned by factual detail and news sense—but features are longer, more expansive and more personal than news stories.  It may or may not be tied to a current event  Feature writers have more freedom to use their own voice and incorporate their own personal experiences. They can also include more sources, background and context. What is a Feature Story?
  5. 5.  Like news stories, feature stories are also underpinned by factual detail and news sense—but features are longer, more expansive and more personal than news stories.  Feature writers have more freedom to use their own voice and incorporate their own personal experiences. They can also include more sources, background and context. What is a Feature Story?
  6. 6. Straight News (Hard News) News Feature (Soft News) More interesting facts Point of Presumable Interest Lead Body Conclusion Lead Body Conclusion Most important facts More important Facts Least important facts Primary/Most interesting facts Least Important Facts -Objective, Direct and Factual -Featurized and Subjective
  7. 7. The Lead  The most important function of an introduction to a feature story is that first, it needs to make the reader want to continue and, second, it must explain what it is all about.  Below are five questions that you can ask yourself when you are trying to come up with the introduction to your feature story: 1. What is the most interesting fact? 2. What is the best anecdote? 3. What is the most sensational quote? 4. What is/ was the most surprising event? 5. What is the ‘did you know that . . ‘ factor?
  8. 8. 1. Question Lead – asking the readers a question  Do you like eating vegetables?  What does a woman do when the most important person in her life leaves her?  MInsan ay nakapagtataka ang buhay. Para saan ba’t nabubuhay ang tao? Para sa karangalan? Para sa pera? O para lamang magkaroon ng hininga at mabuhay nang buong maghapon? 2. Exclamation Lead – The opening sentence by its very nature compels attention  Sink or swim! 3. Quotation Lead –The story begins with a quotation which will draw interest.  “Gone are the days when children are only seen and never heard.”  In John F. Kennedy’s words, “United there’s little we cannot do. Divided, there’s little we can do.” 3. Descriptive Lead – This kind gives vivid description of a person, place or situation so that the reader creates a mental picture of it.
  9. 9. 5. Striking Statement – A short snappy statement set off in a paragraph by itself.  The boat people are here to stay.  The convict hanged himself. 6. Contrast Lead – points out the opposites and extremes 7. Narrative Lead –written in a form of narration  The day started with a parade participated in by…… 8. Summary Lead – sums up the subject of the feature story  Juan Dela Cruz supports his studies by cleaning the animal cages in Manila Zoo.
  10. 10.  The body of the feature story must have unity, coherence and emphasis.  It must be able to hold and sustain the interest of readers.  In the body, the writer makes use of descriptions, narrations, figures of speech, idiomatic expressions, quotations, surveys, statistics, interviews, incidents and anecdotes that give color to the story. The Body
  11. 11.  The end can be. . .  A comment  Arguing a case / drawing a conclusion  A concluding quote  A pointed question  A summary of the article The Conclusion
  12. 12.  Indeed, many of the devices used to start your feature can also be used to end it.  BUT it helps to: hold something significant back and make a a connection with the introduction just to tie up any loose ends. The Conclusion Whatever device you employ, use your imagination. Be sure you come up with something for the readers to remember. 
  13. 13. 1. Choose an interesting subject. 2. Narrow down your subject to just one specific area or sub-topic. Think of a fresh angle to the topic. 3. Give it a tentative title. 4. Prepare your outline. 5. Highlight the important things you wish to feature. 6. Focus on the main or most important feature with specific details. Use data gathered from interviews, surveys, researches or personal experiences. How to Write a Feature Story?
  14. 14. 7. Use devices such as figures of speech, idiomatic expressions, quotations and the like in order to give color to the feature and hold the interest of the readers. 8. Read what you have written paying attention to what should be added or omitted. 8. Rewrite your piece. 9. Give it a catchy head or title. 10. Make the final copy. How to Write a Feature Story?
  15. 15. 1. Creativity  Creative but must be anchored on data gathered not merely on the imagination. 2. Human Interest 3. Factual Content  Informs the reader of the situation, event or aspect of life which might not have been covered by hard news. 4. Entertainment Value 5. Timelessness or Imperishability  Feature stories can be had for weeks or months without losing their usefulness unlike news stories which get stale as soon as they are told.
  16. 16. 6. Entirety  Stories are read in their entirety so the writer can place the highest point at the end. 7. Variety of Tone and Style  Feature stories rarely begin with a summary lead.  The writer can use novelty leads and employ any treatment suitable to his material. 8. Organization  Features apply the principles of creative writing to achieve unity, coherence and emphasis.
  17. 17. 1. Unity (Kaisahan) -having a central theme or main idea carried throughout the article 2. Coherence (Kaugnayan) -bridging the transition from each paragraph to the next easily and smoothly 3. Emphasis (Diin) - avoiding abrupt changes of thought 4. Interest (Kawilihan) Cardinal Principles in Writing Features
  18. 18.  Remember that a feature is not a news story, though it may be built around it.  A feature usually tackles the idea of ‘going behind / underneath the news’.  It is important to know the style, content and readership of the newspaper/ magazine you are aiming at/ writing for.  Remember that feature writing has a visual dimension: feature writers have ‘the biggest eyes’ in journalism.  Time: there is usually a much longer deadline for features due to production schedules, etc. Some magazines start preparing features about two months in advance.
  19. 19.  Facts  Quotes  Description  Anecdotes  Opinions  Analysis  Pay off / conclusion - reward for the reader persevering until the end.
  20. 20.  Informative Feature -usually based on interview or taken from research materials Possible topics: drug menace, starvation in Negros, street children of Metro Manila, unemployment problem, current issues  Human Interest Feature -deals with minor incidents that may deserve attention because of dramatic, humorous, tragic, sensational or odd angles of the story. - basically appeals to the emotion -based on people, their (life) stories; not necessarily famour personalities
  21. 21.  News Feature (Issue-based) -usually based on a recent event that is of interest to the public  How-to-Feature -gives information on the process of doing things and how certain products are made. Example: The art of making whiskey  Trend stories - Document a trend in society i.e food/restaurants, jobs, music, fashion
  22. 22.  Personality Sketch - -profiles a person -reveals the character of the subject by recounting the way he talks or acts or what others think of him. Popular choices for personality sketches: Celebrities like actors, actresses, singers, models, beauty titlists  Personal experience -it’s an unusual experience, usually written in the first person.
  23. 23.  Humorous Feature - If one of the more important functions of a feature story is to entertain , then nothing entertains more than a story with wit and humor. When names matter There was a time when it was popular to add Maria to a girl’s name. It was not enough to name a girl simply as Lourdes or Carmen. She had to be named Maria Lourdes or Marilou or Maria Carmen or Marichu. I have a niece who was baptized Maria Isabel and we call her Mais. By Fred de la Rosa
  24. 24.  Interpretative Feature -instructs, informs and clarifies to the reader the background and significance of social, economic, political and other problems of everyday life.  Seasonal or Holiday Feature -includes subjects such as events celebrated at least once a year or during the season like New Year, Christmas, Independence Day, Father’s Day, etc.
  25. 25.  Travelogue -An account of one’s travel experiences and a vivid description of the place visited. - new places of interest
  26. 26. Luneta, shall we say goodbye? Descriptive/ Informative Luneta, as far as our Lolas and Lolos can remember, has been a favorite park of almost everyone. The grand folks who take their late afternoon stroll and wind up at the open air stage for the “Concert at the Park” have many sentimental tales to tell.
  27. 27. My first beauty contest Personal Experience
  28. 28. Eight easy ways to smash fatigue How-To-Do-It Feature
  29. 29. Beth of the People Personality Sketch Beth a newly elected councilor of 6th District of Manila was born on…
  30. 30. George, he’s a hero! By Emilyn Martinez IT IS “natural” for women to be lavanderas if that is the best thing that they can do for a living, but have you heard of a guy who does laundry to support his family? Well, there is such an unusual guy in our school. Human Interest Feature
  31. 31. Pagdalaw sa Lawa ng Bulusan Ni Perlegio Paderes Mataas na Paaralan ng Samar Unang Gantimpala, NSPC 1993 KUNG sinasabing ang pluma ay higit ha pakapangyarihan kaysa anumang snadata, sa pluma man ay may higit pang makapangyarihan. Ito ang ganda ng kalikasan. Kahanga-hanga, makapitlag-puso, makalangit, kapita-pitagan at walang pinag-iwan sa isang tunay na paraiso. Ito ang Lawa ng Bulusan, lawa para sa sinumang nilalang na ibig mapag-isa upang lasapin ang biyaya ng tunay na katahimikan sa buhay o dili naman kaya’y upang lunasan ang hapdi ng puso sa pamamagitan ng walang sawang pagmasid sa mapang-aliw at masaganang kagandahan ng buong pusong inihain ng kalikasan. Descriptive/Informative
  32. 32. Tomorrow By Pamela Joy Go, AdI-SMCS · First Prize masterpiece, DSPC 2002 · Theme: Environmental Problems HEAL the world, Make it a better place For you and for me And the entire human race There are people dying, If you care enough for the living Make a better place For you and for me I could only stare at the third-grade pupils as they interpret this Michael Jackson classic for their presentation during the flag ceremony. They seem to be so full of life, so vibrant. Nothing in this world could seem to break the unbeatable character they have glowing brightly inside them. I sigh as my thoughts fall on the degrading society that we are having now. How long will these naïve tots have the overwhelming spirit in them? How will they manage to smile? Look around you, human. What do you see? The pressing issues concerning the destruction of Mother Earth is too real…too hard to ignore.
  33. 33. Interpretative Feature
  34. 34.  One of the oldest and still one of the best devices to arouse interest is to tie an article to a “news peg,” an event recently reported by newspaper or radio network.  Tales of adventure are always interesting to the readers.  The feature writer must also make use of “playing up” one angle, contrast for popularizing situations, and personification for humanizing purposes. Other Devices in Feature Writing
  35. 35.  Importance of re-reading the article several times  Check that the style is appropriate for your purpose.  Check your grammar and the length of your sentences and paragraphs. Don’t be ashamed to use a style guide, dictionary and thesaurus.
  36. 36.  It would be a good idea to read your article three times to check for the “Three F’s” of feature writing:  Flow  Fairness - how those involved are portrayed  Facts - making sure that these are accurate
  37. 37.  Feature writing takes many forms across newspapers and magazines.  There are a number of approaches that you can use - the key is to develop a style of your own that matches the publication you work for or which suits your particular purpose.  Importance of structure, coherence, focus and theme  Even greater importance of strong introduction and conclusion.  Trial and error - it often requires writing bad features to be able to write good ones.
  38. 38. Example: “We happily hopped out the truck…”  “[The rain] waltzed with the wind!”  “Nothing super specific. Nothing deadly demanding. Nothing surprisingly strange.”  “The only things duplicated close to reality were our smiles exuding excitement.”  “…it could mean a warm welcome, a bubbly birthday greeting, a great gratitude, a crowning congratulations, a friendly farewell…” using several words that begin with the same or similar consonants
  39. 39. The tone of your piece is vital. Sprinkling some rhymes will make the feature more readable. But be aware not to overdo it, or your write-up will end up as a poem. Example: “So, you better be there in the flesh and feel the blood come up your head!” word sounding same as another
  40. 40. The Figures of Speech is an effective tool in enhancing you feature writing. Make use of them frequently. Example: Simile: “My abdomen began to itch like ants infesting it.” “[The showers were ] like pure, wet silk gently wiping my forehead down to my chin.” “…smoothly swinging like a fine golden lace.” simile, metaphor, personification, and hyperbole.
  41. 41. “Saying that somebody is a snake.” Personification: “…colorful and transparent stripes rested upon the green leaves of a petite coconut tree; almost kissing the ground.” “…allowed the [rain] showers tickle my tired face.” “I am amazed by the electronic box that swallowed up my one-dollar fare…” Metaphor: the use to describe somebody or something of a word or phrase that is not meant literally but by means of a vivid comparison expresses something about him, her, or it the attribution of human qualities to objects or abstract notions
  42. 42. Hyperbole: [The waves ] really were overwhelming, they could swallow a mountain. “[The leis] almost drowned my face.” deliberate and obvious exaggeration used for effect
  43. 43. Use pronouns, synonyms of words, or alternative description/terms.  Example:  (to avoid too much usage of “rainbows”)  “They say that at the end of a rainbow rests a pot of gold. It was only in Hawaii where I have seen the literal end of those mysterious bows of colors. It was morning when I was strolling down the campus of BYUH when colorful and transparent stripes...Surprisingly, those perfect bows across the Hawaiian sky at times come with another, equally exquisite!”  (to avoid too much usage of “Aloha”)  “These are the things “Aloha” is famous for; but I learned that this sweet five-letter word means more than a greeting; even more than an expression of love — the “Ha” in it means “the breath of life.” “Aloha” is more than a mere word or a simple greeting. It is love; it is life, it is also the spirit of a supreme being.”
  44. 44.  (to avoid too much usage of “scratch” and its forms)  My abdomen began to itch like ants infesting it; and scratching was a no-no. At times I just can’t fight the strong urge to run my nails up and down my belly.  (to avoid too much usage of “cry” and its forms)  “…I suddenly woke up howling in pain…My screams and cries got him carried away, he didn’t know what to do. Without any tinge of exaggeration, the bawling didn’t stop…”
  45. 45.  Example:  “No morning sickness. No dizziness. No nausea.”  “It is love; it is life, it is also the spirit of a supreme being.”
  46. 46. Possibilities are almost unlimited; you could even make up your own.  Example:  “…zit-free skin people noticed it.  “Dancing the enchanting hula, on the other hand is a very relaxing and love-filled experience.”  “…caught helpless in a car-clogged road.”  “That clearly explains the y-shaped gesture.”  “…this sweet five-letter word means more than a greeting.”  “…a self-controlled giggle with a kid-like rubbing of feet on the bed.”  “The robotic, close-to-human voice of the bus still runs through my head.”
  47. 47. from a one-word sentence to simple, compound, complex, and compound complex sentences.  Example:  “No morning sickness. No dizziness. No nausea. My practitioner said, “Good for you.” Indeed; it was a blessing. No early and unwanted signs of the first trimester. I wanted and needed to work. Otherwise I’ll be as bedridden, immobilized, and could possibly be hospitalized as how my Mother was when she was conceiving me.”  “My bulge began to show; people stared at it and I wasn’t used to it, I wore a jacket. Awkward.”  “Later I realized the irony: the person who bought me my first craving for my first baby was my student, instead of my husband! Funny. My emotions, as well, got the most of me. It was a bit unusually intolerable.”
  48. 48.  Example:  “It was a site both beautiful and dreadful.”  “…stretching our hands out pointing at the furious yet flaunting sea.”
  49. 49.  (even in narrative features, let them see and actually imagine what you have written)  Example:  “Gray, coarse sand; non-exhilarating waves; and murky shore; that’ how beaches looked like to me until I had my first plunge into the Hawaiian waters — white, fine sand; thrill-filled waves; and clear, blue waters.”  “The first sight of the azure sky, crystal-clear waters, boosted by the calm kiss of fresh air and the soothing touch of the non-scorching sun, made us charge the tempting sea!”  “…we inevitably panicked holding our heads as high as we could; with lips firmly closed to avoid swallowing saltwater
  50. 50.  Example:  happy = joyful, blissful  sad = gloomy, cheerless  beautiful = stunning, striking  funny = amusing, hilarious  If unfamiliar or too uncommon words are inevitable, make sure to inject context clues for your reader’s better comprehension.  If using elementary words can not be avoided, use it with purpose — to avoid redundancy, or merely stating/describing a simple idea.
  51. 51.  Example:  “The kid was blissful because he saw his missing pencil.”  “Blissful” connotes a feeling deeper than “happiness.” The thought of the sentence doesn’t require a very strong feeling of gladness. Hence, “blissful” is inappropriate.  “The kid was cheerful because he saw his missing pencil,” is more appropriate.  Another Example:  “The clown was funny; I laughed my heart out.”  The sentence’s idea was more than a “funny clown.” “Funny” is not enough to express the full meaning of the line.  “The clown was hilarious; I laughed my heart out,” is better.
  52. 52. - you could actually make up your own words!  (make sure it has context clues and simply logical, comprehensible to your readers, not compromising good grammar).  “…*swelling with pain, a few touch or movement, even the pull of gravity ouched me.”
  53. 53. 1. Describe vividly your seatmate in a two-sentence paragraph. 2. You are the feature editor of your school paper. This morning while you were on your way to school, you saw a Grade 4 pupil helping an old woman cross the street. Fourth year boys, who were playing nearby saw the old woman but did not care to help her. 3. Write a short (at most five paragraphs) feature article about abortion. It doesn’t matter if you are for or against it. What is important is you remain factual yet entertaining, convincing and informative. Provide your own title. Show your work to your group mates.
  54. 54. Mary Queen T. Bernardo Teacher III San Jose National Agricultural and Industrial High School
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