Week 12 & 13: Feature Story

This semester, whether you know it or not, you have been writing both hard news articles and soft news articles.Now I would like you to focus on writing a feature story. What is a feature story?

A feature story:

  • is the news behind the news.
  • is longer than most news stories.
  • is well researched and complex.
  • is connected to current events (Why this? Why now?)
  • covers the subject in depth, includes background, and brings readers up to date.
  • includes quotations from principle characters, experts—a variety of sources.
  • may use photographs, charts, graphs, sidebars or boxes, drawings, diagrams, etc.
  • takes time to interest readers and helps them see the complexity of the story.
  • brings life and color to the subject.

Varieties of the feature story and examples.

  • News behind the news (Who are the Taliban? How did they attain power?)
  • Travel article (hiking the Appalachian trail)
  • Profile (extended interview: What makes Queen Latifah tick?)
  • Soft news background story (how school vouchers are working in New York)
  • Entertainment feature (the making of the film Power Rangers)
  • Science story (Where is stem-cell research leading us?)
  • Business feature (Microsoft is changing its corporate structure)

Requirements of a feature story:

    • Research, background, depth, information from different kinds of sources
    • Quotations, a variety of perspectives, views of participants and experts
    • Connection to current events or some other compelling answer to Why This? Why Now?

Here are Poynter’s top 23 feature stories of 2014. I encourage you to take a look at them to gain a stronger familiarity of feature stories. If you want to really see creative idea development when thinking of a feature story topic, take a look at this feature story: The Rock Music Guide to NBA Teams.

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Lab Assignment Week 11:

    1. Due Week 11: Determine a topic for your feature story. You may certainly verbally tell me your topic if you wish to ensure you are on the correct path.
    2. Due Week 11: In class, add a new web page or post to your site and place this new page under your social media tab. Use this new page or post to create a pitch that tells me about your feature story. You should write the following in your pitch:
      • create a title. Make it catchy.
      • then tell me about the 5w’s and the h that you will cover in the feature story. One or two sentences for each of these reporters’ questions will suffice.
      • tell me about the subject for a 30 second to 1 minute in length video you will be able to shoot.
      • tell me about 1 or 2 people that you will interview that can speak about your topic and why you chose the person or people.

Lab Assignments Week 12:

    1. Due Week 12 – Day 1: Compose the rough draft of your feature story. Your feature story must:
      • be approximately 350 – 500. Type the rough draft on a new page on your class website. Create a new page, use the title and topic I approved last week, and begin writing.
      • contain a video, that you have taken, approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute in length. This video should enhance your story. Bring this video to class with you along with your phone’s USB cable. We will upload, edit, and place the video into your feature story.
      • have paragraphs that are visually appealing and easy to digest for your readers. This will take some creativity on your part since this story will be much longer than the other stories you have written this semester. Consider breaking up the paragraphs with breakouts, pictures, and your video.
      • Direct traffic from your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts to your feature story. This is where you should showcase your understanding of new media concepts we’ve covered this semester.
      • will you announce ahead of time that the article is coming soon?
      • will you use a hashtag that will connect all your social media accounts to this feature story?
      • will your posts cover what we have learned this semester about creating ideal posts in Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram?
    2.  Due Week 12 – Day 2:

      • First, you should finish your complete rough draft of your feature story. You should have proper grammar, punctuation, photos, and hyperlinks in your article as needed. Please make sure you add a navigational link to your menu so others may locate your article.
      • Once your rough draft is finished, I would like you to read at least one of your classmate’s feature stories and comment on it. Please indicate at least one aspect of the article you like and at least one aspect of the article that you would like to hear more about, you would like to be clarified, etc. If you have finished writing your rough draft of your feature article, and you have commented on at least one of your classmate’s posts, then please comment on other posts of your classmates — the more comments one receives, the better.
      • Please come to class next week with a video that will be incorporated into your feature story. The video should be either (1) on a flash drive, (2) in your email or cloud service, or (3) sent to yourself using WeTransfer. Please do not bring in a transfer cable and attempt to get the video on your computer at the start of class.
      • Also, please have a YouTube account established prior to coming to class next week.


        Remember, this video could be an interview you conducted or some other video that will help your audience understand the topic of your feature story. You do not need to edit the video — we will handle that in class, as well as adding captioning.