Feature Writing Advice

Feature stories are different from news stories in several ways. They generally are not late-breaking
news, but cover subjects that are timely. They often present another way of looking at a current
event. Feature stories do not follow the inverted pyramid style of writing. They may be written in
different styles – and at times use a first- or second-person approach. Feature stories are “people”-
oriented. They cover topics such as social trends, health and wellness, fashion, food, “slice of life”
views of situations, travel stories, consciousness-raising stories, personality profiles and “behind the
headline” stories. They are more descriptive than news stories.

Read the following examples of Feature Writing

Michelle Fleming, Irish Daily Mirror

Lara Marlowe, The Irish Times

Catherine Sanz, Business Post

Grace De Bhal, Pobalscoil Chorca Duibhne, An Daingean. Winner of 1st Prize in Features, Press Pass 2023

Top Tips for writing features from Linda Maher, Assistant Features Editor, Irish Daily Mail

Clarity –  put the most important element of the story at the very top and then include as much detail as possible

The ‘drop colour intro’ – take the most interesting and colourful part/element from the feature and tell it in the introduction, then tell the story chronologically

The ‘scene setter’ – in the opening, tell the reader exactly what you see

Interview-style feature – transcribe the entire conversation then use quotes to tell the story chronologically If the feature is not a linear story, stick to the order of the interview, so that it sounds like a conversation

News story-style feature – include as much background information as possible and never assume the reader knows something

Check, double check and, if possible, triple check

•Use photographs to hook the reader, to help tell the story.

Classroom activity

Help students think about interesting topics that might make good feature stories.

  1. Ask students to suggest topics about current ideas or situations that interest them
  2. Write suggestions on the board
  3. Have students select the three topics they think would be most popular with many
    readers.

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