Feature News Writing

Written to entertain, inform, or inspire a reader.


Characteristics of Features

Based on interesting angles

Supported with facts and direct quotes

May be humorous or serious

“Shows” what happened- 5 senses

Can be written in first (I, we, our), second (you), or third (he, she, they, it) person, but most often written in third person.


Characteristics of Features

Grab the reader’s attention and do not let go

Give depth and implication to an event or issue

Put people into the story

Play on reader’s emotions and make them think and care about the story.

Must be descriptive!


Features are about people!

Describe them physically

Let your reader hear them through their quotes

See them in action-create action in the story


Feature Leads

Begin at the beginning

Capture reader’s attention

Introduce focus of story

Set the tone for the story

Ask yourself what it was about the story that made you want to write it in the first place.

Recall any feelings you had as you wrote the story

Remember, Feature leads are not summaries!!


Types of Feature Leads

Descriptive Lead

Sets the scene for the reader by visualizing the event

Suspended Interest/Teaser Lead

Mysterious, keeps the reader wondering what the writer is talking about

Well-chosen word lead

Uses sentence fragments on purpose (at least three and they should be parallel in construction)


Types of Feature leads, con’t

Quote Lead

Using a unique quote that will make the reader sit up and take notice, do not use any quote that more than one person would say

Question Lead

Use a question that only a few people know the answer to, or one that people are dying to know the answer to

Allusion Lead

Alludes to something or someone well-known


Questions to ask yourself

What is this story about?

What is the angle of the story?

What focus will the story take?

What quotes do I have that are the most compelling?

What are the most important facts?

What is the best way to get readers to care?

How do I interpret the story without adding my own opinion?


Types of Features


Timely news event with human interest angle

Informative feature

Informs or explains in an interesting way

Personality Sketches

Convey the personality of the person you are writing about

Include bio boxes and sidebars


Types of features

Human-Interest stories

Based on timely subjects and plays on emotion

Presents human side of news in an interesting and dramatic fashion

Suspense element and surprise ending

Incidents that are unusual, arouses sympathy, or amuses makes a good human-interest story


In-depth stories

Dig behind the facts of a news event

Dig for all the facts and talk to everyone involved