Latest News

Writing an Effective Features Article

Feature articles are a way to make readers understand the human experience better. Unlike hard news, features are more detailed. It can bring an issue to light by evoking empathy with the readers.

 

Example of a good feature story that brings to light gender and poverty issues:  

A Life Well-lived: Tondo’s Beauty Stalwart Turns 100

 

Example of a good feature about a woman defending forests in India:

Defending forests is daily life for Indian woman leader

 

features (1)

 

Kinds of feature articles you can write:

  • Human Interest: Many feature stories focus on an issue as it impacts people. They often focus on one person or a group of people.
  • Profile: This feature type focuses on a specific individual’s character or lifestyle. This type is intended to help the reader feel like they’ve gotten a window into someone’s life. Often, these features are written about celebrities or other public figures.
  • Instructional: How-to feature articles teach readers how to do something. Oftentimes, the writer will write about their own journey to learn a task, such as how to make a wedding cake.
  • Historical: Features that honor historical events or developments are quite common. They are also useful in juxtaposing the past and the present, helping to root the reader in a shared history.
  • Seasonal: Some features are perfect for writing about in certain times of year, such as the beginning of summer vacation or at the winter holidays.
  • Behind the Scenes: These features give readers insight into an unusual process, issue or event. It can introduce them to something that is typically not open to the public or publicized.

 

So, how do you write a good feature article?

  1. Find an angle. Decide on your approach to the story. What do you want to show to your audience?
  2. Focus on what’s compelling. Which information do you have can make your story more relatable to the audience? What’s important? What’s useful?
  3. Show don’t tell. Remember what Anton Chekhov said: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
  4. Don’t overuse direct quotes. According to the New York Times, “Think of direct quotes as icing on a cake — they enhance, but they shouldn’t form the substance of your story. The quotes you do use must be attributed, always. The reader should not have to guess who is talking.”
  5. Don’t rush your story. Write it in a leisurely pace and focus on your human element.

 

Download PDF version of the toolkit here.

 

Resources:

https://www.nytimes.com/learning/students/writing/voices.html

http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Feature-Article

http://journalism.about.com/od/writing/a/whatarefeatures.htm

 

About Renee Juliene Karunungan

Renee, from the Philippines, is currently Climate Tracker's Outreach Manager. She was a Climate Tracker fellow and was named by The Guardian as one of the "Young Climate Campaigners to Watch Before the UN Paris Summit" in 2015.