Feature story is an article in a



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A feature story is an article in a newspaper, a magazine, or a news website that is not meant to report breaking news, but to take an in-depth look at issues behind a news story, often concentrating on background events, persons or circumstances. While there are no clear guidelines on what exactly makes up a feature story, they often add a more human touch to reporting, while the time elapsed between an event and breaking the story is less critical than in traditional news reports.[1]

The features themselves are written in a less urgent fashion than news stories, sometimes taking several paragraphs to arrive at the main story while trying to engage the reader and keep them reading by employing narrative hooks.[2] Feature stories often delve deeper into their subjects, expanding on the details rather than trying to concentrate on a few important key points. The writing style of the articles can be more colorful and employ a more complex narrative structure, sometimes resembling the style of a nonfiction book more than a news report. Feature articles are nonfiction articles that intend to inform, teach, or amuse the reader on a topic. The topic centers around human interests.



Features are not meant to deliver the news firsthand. They do contain elements of news, but their main function is to humanize, to add color, to educate, to entertain, to illuminate. They often recap major news that was reported in a previous news cycle. Features often:

  • Profile people who make the news

  • Explain events that move or shape the news

  • Analyze what is happening in the world, nation or community

  • Teach an audience how to do something

  • Suggest better ways to live

  • Examine trends

  • Entertain.

Body of feature article


Feature articles follow a format appropriate for its type. Structures for these types of articles may include, but are not limited to:[15]

  • chronological — the article may be a narrative of some sort.

  • cause and effect — the reasons and results of an event or process is examined.

  • classification — items in an article are grouped to help aid understanding

  • compare and contrast— two or more items are examined side-by-side to see their similarities and differences

  • list — A simple item-by-item run-down of pieces of information.

  • question and answer —such as an interview with a celebrity or expert.

[edit] Conclusion


One difference between a news story and a feature article is the conclusion. Endings for hard news article occur when the all of the information has been presented according to the inverted pyramid form. By contrast, the feature article needs more definite closure.[16] The conclusions for these articles may include, but are not limited to:[17]

  • a final quote

  • a descriptive scene

  • a play on the title or lead

  • a summary statement

  • chronological — the article may be a narrative of some sort.

  • cause and effect — the reasons and results of an event or process is examined.

  • classification — items in an article are grouped to help aid understanding

  • compare and contrast— two or more items are examined side-by-side to see their similarities and differences

  • list — A simple item-by-item run-down of pieces of information.

  • Column — A short newspaper or magazine piece that deals specifically with a particular field of interest, or broadly with an issue or circumstance of far-reaching scope. They appear with bylines on a regular basis (daily, weekly, etc.). They may be written exclusively for one newspaper or magazine; they may be marketed by a syndicate, or they may be self-syndicated by the author.

  • Essay — A short, literary, nonfiction composition (usually prose) in which a writer develops a theme or expresses an idea.

  • Evergreen — A timeless article that editors can hold for months and publish when needed. They need little or no updating.[3]

  • Exposè — These articles use in-depth reporting with heavy research and documentation. Used to expose corruption in business, politics or celebrities. Also called the investigative article.[4][5]

  • Filler — Short non-fiction items, usually just under 300 words used to fill in space on a page of a magazine or newspaper page.[6]

  • How-to — How-to articles help people to learn how to do something. They provide step-by-step information for the reader.[7]

  • Human interest story — An article that involves local people and events and can be sold to daily and some weekly newspapers. Human interest elements, such as anecdotes or accounts of personal experiences, can support ideas in magazine articles as firmly as facts or statistics. Also called "true-life" stories.

  • Interview —This feature story type article includes the text of the conversation between two or more people, normally directed by the interviewer. Interviews are often edited for clarity. One common variation is the roundtable--the text of a less organized discussion, usually between three or more people.

  • Op-Ed — Articles that run opposite the editorial page. They are a response to current editorials and topical subjects. Political op-eds are the most common, but they don't have to be limited to politics. They must, however, reflect items that are current and newsworthy.

  • Personal experience — An article in which the writer recounts an ordeal, process, or event he has undergone.

  • Personality Profile — A personal or professional portrait--sometimes both-- of a particular individual.[8]

  • Seasonal — An article written about a holiday, season of the year, or timely observance. This kind of article must be submitted months in advance of the anticipated publication date.[9]

  • Service Article — An article about a consumer product or service; it outlines the characteristics of several of the same type of commodity. The aim is to help the consumer make the best selection possible.[10]

  • Sidebar — A short feature that accompanies a news story or magazine article. It elaborates on human interest aspects of the story, explains one important facet of the story in more depth, or provides additional factual information--such as a list of names and addresses--that would read awkwardly in the body of the article. Can be found in a box, separated from the main article on the side or bottom of the page.[11]

  • Travel literature — Travel articles inform and enlighten the reader through facts about a region's landscape, scenery,


[edit] Lead


The lead (sometimes spelled lede) sentence captures the attention of the reader and sums up the focus of the story. The lead also establishes the subject, sets the tone, and guides the reader into the article.[13]

In a news story, the introductory paragraph tells the most important facts and answers the questions: who, what, where, when, why, and how.

In a feature story, the author may choose to open with any number of ways including the following:[14]


  • anecdote

  • shocking or startling statement

  • a generalization

  • pure information

  • description

  • a quote

  • a question

  • a comparison

More on leads…

A lead that creates a scene allows the reader to picture what you are saying.  So for my article on Disney Parades, I might write, "Imagine being in the most magical place on earth.  Cheerful music chimes through the many speakers around you.  Colorful streamers fly into the sky.  The minute you have been waiting for has arrived.  Mickey Mouse and all his pals are waving to you from aboard a huge float strolling down Main Street USA.  What could be better?"  

Another type of lead asks a question.  So if you are writing about dreams you might ask, "What's the strangest dream you ever had?' or 'Did you ever have a dream where you were running fast but you just weren't getting anywhere?"

A third type of lead states interesting facts to start your article.  If you are writing about wild animals you might start with, "The cheetah, known as the hunting leopard,  runs up to sixty miles per hour but can slink up to its prey almost unobserved."

For example, if a student is writing about baseball infielders and how they must work together you could ask him which two players in the infield do you think have the toughest positions.  Could you create a scene describing these two players working together?  Below is an actual lead that resulted from this discussion:


Imagine Roberto Alomar, the second baseman for the New York Mets, in a tough spot on the field.  A sharp grounder is hit.  The runner from first base is barreling down toward second base.  The player who hit the ball is speeding toward first.  Thousands of fans are screaming in the stands.  How does he get both runners out from just one hit?


A student who was writing about bullies was asked to come up with other words for bullies.  What can you compare to bullies?  What are some verbs you associate with bullies?  After much consideration she wrote this as her lead:

Tougher than a dragon.  Bigger than a dinosaur.  Stronger than the school mascot.  We're talking about bullies and we are taking action to help people from being bullied.



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