Not all stories are hard news or soft news material. Some may need what's called a feature treatment and are often referred to as news features.
A news feature is defined as: "usually longer than a straight news story, The news angle is prominent, though not necessarily in the opening paragraph/s, and quotations are again important. Can contain description, comment, analysis, background historical detail, eye-witness reporting and a wider/deeper coverage of issues and range of sources (Keeble 111).
A news feature may follow the hourglass-shaped story (an inverted pyramid at the top, followed by a pivot or turn, then a chronological narrative). Examples of this kind include sports, accident, or natural disaster stories that involve complex facts best told using a chronological narrative (Whitaker et al. 153; Fedler et al. 206-208, with a sample story included).
A news feature may also employ the focus style with its four-part structure: (1) focus lead, (2) nut graph, (3) body of story, and (4) kicker. The focus lead "describes a person, place, situation or event that...exemplifies a larger problem that is newsworthy." The nut graph "[states] the central point of the story and how the lead illustrates that point." The central point is then developed in detail in the body of the story, and the kicker (often referring back to the subject in the lead) ties up the story (Fedler et al. 208-210, with a sample story included).
Another news feature format follows the narrative style that relies on a storyteller [but not necessarily told from a first-person point of view] to tell the story. The narrative style requires, aside from the writer's usual skills in interviewing and doing document research, a keen sense for observation and the ability to describe the scene or situation in specific and vivd detail. Using description, "chronology, flashbacks, dialogue and other storytelling techniques," the writer must also be able to connect actions into a meaningful narrative complete with a beginning, middle, and end (Fedler et al. 211-215, with a sample story included).
Readers usually recognize a news feature by its intro or lead paragraph. Keeble lists (and provide examples) several types (225-229):
However, Keeble also points out that despite the "creative" ways of introducing a subject, "their content has to be acutely relevant to the news peg which usually appears high in the story. Feature intros have to carry as much interest as hard news openings to attract attention. The writing is more flexible but it is still extremely concise" (230).
Likewise, the development of the story in news feature "are all still built on the cement of factual detail and a sharp news sense. ¶ Just as in news stories the most important information comes first with the details declining in importance thereafter, so the same is true of news features" (Keeble 230). The thematic structure also revolve "around logically interlocking blocks arranged in order of news value" (Keeble 232).
Unlike hard news or soft news stories, however, news features may have a "final section [that] often [carries] its own importance." To make sure their concluding paragraphs are not chopped off by editors, writers mark it off with "Must par." (Keeble 234).
This "important" final section is usually connected to the "subjective" stance taken in writing a story. Keeble contends that while news features "are still rooted in the conventions of news reporting (the strong sense of news values, the emphasis on specific details, the use of quotes, concise use of language)....[they] overtly argue a case" (236). ✍
Here's a link to Jose F. Lacaba's "The First Day of the First Quarter Storm," technically a literary journalism/new journalism piece more than a news feature, that was first published in the defunct The Philippines Free Press 7 Feb 1970 issue. This is included in his collection, Days of Disquiet, Nights of Rage, published by Anvil (new ed., 2003).
Now that you're properly inspired, you can write your own news feature:
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