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  • Personalizing the news with stories that educate and entertain. Feature stories often focus on issues that are less timely and more personal: trends, relationships, entertainment.
  • They include topics, treatments, styles and structures you won't find in standard news stories.
  • Hard news vs. soft news: What do these terms mean?
Common categories
  • Lifestyles
  • Health
  • Science and technology
  • Entertainment
  • Food
  • Homes and gardens
Popular Types of Feature Stories
  • Personality profile
  • Human-interest story
  • Color story
  • Backgrounder
  • Trend story
  • Reaction piece
  • Flashback
  • How-to
  • Consumer guide
  • Personal narrative


There are great stories everywhere, just waiting to be discovered. The four best angles: How to save time....How to save money....How to be loved....How to make money.

Where to Find Those Great (But Elusive) Story Ideas

  • Start compiling a list: Look for ideas everywhere; then jot them down.
  • Organize your ideas by topic (people, places, trends) or by treatment (profiles, photo stories, how-to guides).
  • The best places to look for ideas:
    • your publication's archives
    • your competitors
    • TV, magazines, newspapers, Web sites
    • news releases
    • reader suggestions
    • brainstorming
How to Tell if Your Idea is a Good One
  • Eight ways to assess a story idea before you try selling it to an editor.
You Think You've Got a Good Idea? Here's How to Turn It into a Story:
  • See if it's been done.
  • Focus your angle.
  • Talk to your editor.
  • Do your research.
  • Plan the package.
  • Write the story.
  • Some stories require a livelier, looser, more literary voice.
  • "The New Journalism" pioneered by Tom Wolfe, Hunter S. Thompson and Gay Talese in the 1960s. Reporters began borrowing literary techniques from novelists.
  • Today, feature writers still rely on literary techniques you won't find in standard news stories.
Advice and Suggestions
  • Helpful tips for successful feature writing
  • Using syntax and phrasing
  • Using voice and tense
  • Using detail and description
  • Using other dramatic techniques


Standard Story Structures
  • Using traditional text to convey information.
  • The inverted pyramid is rarely used in feature stories. While it's an efficient way to organize facts in a news story, it is NOT an engaging way to organize ideas in a feature.
Short-Form Story Structures
  • Using colorful, creative layouts that are easy to produce and appeal to readers' short attention spans.
  • Suggestions for using a more visual approach.
  • Profiles are more than a who-what-when-where-why rehash of facts.
  • A good profile:
    • reveals feelings;
    • exposes attitudes;
    • captures habits and mannerisms; and
    • entertains as well as informs.
How to Research and Write Successful Profiles
  • Solicit your subject's support.
  • Interview and observe.
  • Find your focus.
  • Follow up with further interviews and research.
  • Structure your story.
Advice and Suggestions
  • Tips on working with photographers.
  • Ways to paint a better portrait: capturing details, re-creating scenes, and adding quotes and dialogue.
  • Checklist of questions to ask yourself when reporting and writing profiles.
  • Special stories that allow reporters to reach beyond the routine.
  • Most provide in-depth examination of people and issues.
  • They are creative, ambitious and unique.
  • They often become special sections or multi-part series.
Advice and Suggestions
  • How do I find time for enterprise?
  • Expert advice on reporting and writing enterprise stories.
  • In a free society, some journalists do more than just explain—they expose.
What Is Investigative Reporting? Three Basic Elements:
  • that the investigation be the work of the reporter, not a report of an investigation made by someone else;
  • that the subject involves something of reasonable importance; and
  • that others are attempting to hide these matters from the public.
Advice and Suggestions
  • Digging up dirt: Advice for investigative reporters.
  • Using teamwork and working with the editor, photographer and designer to turn stories into appealing packages.
  • Alternatives to narrative text
  • Condensing data for readers with short attention spans
  • Short-form formats:
    • fast-fact box
    • bio box
    • checklist
    • list
    • quiz
    • step-by-step guide
    • factual index
    • diagram
    • timeline
    • quote collection
  • In editorials, columns and reviews, the writer's opinions aren't just allowed, they're encouraged. They're essential.
Advice and Suggestions
  • Editorials: where publications take a stand
  • Columns: where the options are endless
  • Writing commentary: Advice for columnists
  • Readers need your expert guidance to find the best performances and products.
  • Distinction between "critic" and "reviewer."
Advice and Suggestions
  • Using graphic extras that make reviews more reader-friendly.
  • How to write criticism that gets good reviews.

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