Donald W. Reynolds National Center For Business Journalism

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Elements of feature stories

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This episode explores the complexities of writing feature stories. Before class: ask students to bring some examples of feature stories that they particularly liked – perhaps a personality profile, or a story about an anniversary.

Here are some questions to ask in class.

  1. Let’s talk about this idea of a beginning, a middle and an end. Is that how you approach feature stories? Or do you use some other kind of a method?
  2. Give me an example of a feature story that you wrote, where you didn’t have a news peg. What was the reason that you had to write it?
  3. What’s the philosophy that you take when it comes to quotes or soundbites? What are you looking for when you quote someone, or use sound, rather than just paraphrasing?
  4. Everybody runs into the problem of running long, either in word length or on the air. Let’s talk about some ways to decide what to keep and what to cut.
  5. Now, go over the feature stories that the students brought to class. What did they like about them. And now, with these new ideas, what would they change?
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