TOPICS FOR FEATURE FEB ISH:
1) Declining 5S culture in TIP
2) Declining cultural arts inclination of TIP students
3) Filipinos receiving global commendations
4) Impressing your professor
6) Juvenile delinquency
7) Wayward students
Feature articles are write-ups that delve on a variety of issues, experiences, opinions and ideas. Its main purpose will vary depending on the media it is meant for. For example, as writers for the TIP Voice publication, our readers would come from the TIP community, particularly, our fellow students. Our main objective is to tackle topics or issues that will capture their interests or points of view.
It differs greatly from a straight news story in a manner that it explores more on an issue, gives depth to it and adds a certain ‘feel’ that the mentioned article type cannot provide.
ELEMENTS OF FEATURE ARTICLES
1) Creativity – It is an important element that allows the writer to create a story virtually at will.
2) Subjectivity – This is when the writer injects his own thoughts and emotions.
3) Informative – It is constructive information of an aspect of life or situation that may escape coverage in hard news stories.
4) Entertainment – ‘color story’ aimed at capturing the mood of an event.
5) Imperishability – Its value does not diminish with time and rarely suffers from deadline pressure.
Correct spelling and appropriate usage of words are MUSTS in feature writing. It is important for a writer to have a ‘feel’ for words – an ability for choosing the right word to use in order to convey his intended meaning correctly. Too much usage of highfalutin terms, oftentimes, ruins your article, especially if your target readers are students. It is okay to use a few but overdoing it will only make you lose your audience.
Personality profiles: A personality profile is written to bring an audience closer to a person in or out of the news. Interviews and observations, as well as creative writing, are used to paint a vivid picture of the person. The CBC’s recent profile of Pierre Elliot Trudeau is a classic example of the genre and makes use of archival film footage, interviews, testimonials, and fair degree of editorializing by the voice-over commentary.
Human interest stories: A human interest story is written to show a subject’s oddity or its practical, emotional, or entertainment value.
Trend stories: A trend story examines people, things or organizations that are having an impact on society. Trend stories are popular because people are excited to read or hear about the latest fads.
In-depth stories: Through extensive research and interviews, in-depth stories provide a detailed account well beyond a basic news story or feature.
Backgrounders: A backgrounder--also called an analysis piec--adds meaning to current issues in the news by explaining them further. These articles bring an audience up-to-date, explaining how this country, this organization, this person happens to be where it is now.
STEPS IN WRITING FEATURE ARTICLES
Now that you know what a feature article is, how do you begin writing one?
1) Know your target audience. In this case, the TIP community serves as our main reader. Anything that you think will capture their interest or inspire them can be used as your main subject for a write-up. For example, the sudden surge of oil prices (as what happened in the first few months of the year) may be used as your topic for your article. Majority of the student population are commuters. They are also affected by the inflation of oil products and services because it might also cause the increase on their usual fare.
2) Timeliness. Since we have a limited audience (and space for that matter), it is important for writers to consider the timeliness of an issue. This refers to the appropriateness of a topic with respect to the period it will be published. A good example would be choosing to write about topics related to love or other matters connected to it for the February issue.
3) Choose a topic. The inspiration for a topic can be found almost everywhere. But since we are targeting the TIP population, it would be best to center on things that they are interested with.
4) Research well about your chosen topic. It is important for a good writer to have substantial records and information to use for his article. Facts establish the integrity and solidity of an article. These will also help you out to bring out the particular color or feel that you want to put in your article. Do not just rely on the topic you are going to make a write-up for. You may also gather data about other matters related to it. Interviews from different people significant to your topic will help you a lot as go about your article. It will give the readers a clear picture of what is going on in your article and help them establish your ideas in their minds.
5) Choose your angle. Topics for a feature article are usually broad. It would be better if you narrow it down to a certain point that is directly connected to your readers. In order to illustrate this, the subject on oil inflation can be further narrowed to its effects to the students. You may choose to interview a student who has a father driving a jeepney, taxi or bus.
6) Do not underestimate the power of an outline. After making a thorough research, sort out your facts. Arrange them according to their significance with respect to your angle. Organize your ideas. Do not sloppily place them on your article just to be able to pass a write-up. Poor organization of data leads to a bombardment of ideas.
7) Do not forget to indicate subheadings. Transition is an important factor to consider in feature writing. Subheadings help a writer to establish the smooth flow of ideas. These separate different concepts from each other.
8) Nail your point in your conclusion. Leave something for your readers to ponder on. You may end your article by using an interesting quote, connecting your conclusion to your lead or providing a future outcome that may be seen for your issue tackled.
Please visit http://oonyeoh.squarespace.com/guide-to-feature-writing/2005 for more details regarding the Blundell Technique.