Most stories we see in the newspaper or on the internet will be written in a feature-oriented style. But what exactly is a feature story?
A feature story is a non-fiction writing about news (news feature) or any other subject (human-interest story). Unlike straight news, the subject of a feature story is usually not time sensitive. It presents newsworthy events and information through a narrative story, complete with a plot and story characters. These stories should be memorable for their reporting, crafting, creativity, and economy of expression.
The purpose of a feature story is to entertain the reader. Feature stories aim to humanize, add colour, educate, and illuminate.
The writing style is the most important element of a feature. It makes the article unique. Feature stories are written in active voice and contain a lively, entertaining prose. They take a more narrative approach and rely on creativity and subjectivity to make an emotional connection with the readers. Feature articles include elements that are used in traditional storytelling—description, scene-setting, quotes, and background information. Nevertheless, the story is truthful and based on good facts.
The introduction of a feature story can use description or an anecdote to set up the story and it can be longer then usually. It does not have to deal with the 5 W’s.
Features take the time to tell a story, instead of rushing through it the way news stories often seem to do. Because of this, a feature story is often longer than a news article.
Feature stories tend to focus more on people. They bring the human element into the picture. This is the reason why many editors call them “people stories.”
Different types of news features
A news feature focuses on a topic in the news. It brings a softer writing style to hard news. These articles often focus on individuals behind the news, and they often seek to humanize a set of statistics.
A profile is an article about an individual. It gives readers behind-the-scenes looks at what a person is like, behind the public persona. Profile articles provide background about the individual as well as basic information.
Spot features are produced on deadline that focus on a breaking news event.
The trend stories explore new trends. They take the pulse of the culture at the moment, looking at what’s new, fresh, and exciting.
The live-in is an article that paints a picture of a place and the people who work or live there. They are often a day-in-the-life stories that give readers a look at a place they wouldn’t normally face.