An Introduction to the Feature Article

I am opting to explore feature articles for my second experiment! I have always enjoyed reading feature articles in newspapers and magazines. I am drawn to this type of journalism because it provides more in-depth looks at relevant topics and makes the news or pop culture feel more relatable somehow. I also like how diverse the genre is. You can read a feature article in a magazine like Cosmopolitan or in a distinguished newspaper like The New York Times. Feature articles can also range in content. For example, an investigative reporting piece, a profile of a celebrity, and an article about an emerging trend can all be considered feature articles, depending on their conventions.

As for convention, feature articles differ from traditional news articles written solely to inform. They often include a more human aspect to them and are longer than news articles. The purpose of a feature article can be to inform or entertain, or both. They typically focus on a specific topic or individual, and place what they are talking about in context. The subject of a feature article should be timely, meaning the author should have a reason for writing the piece at that given time. Speaking of the author, they can write in either first or third person point of view, depending on what is most appropriate for the situation. Feature articles generally start with a lede, which is a hook that engages the reader right from the start. This can come in the form of a quote, a statistic, imagery, etc. Following the lede is the nut graph, which provides some background information or context introducing the topic that will be discussed in the article. The piece should end with a kicker, which wraps up the article and may give the reader some food for thought. Other features of a feature article include:

  • An interesting title
  • Bylines that make the reader interested
  • Interviews with a subject or subjects
  • Pull quotes from these interviews
  • Subheadings
  • Photographs of subjects or scenes relevant to the article

 

For more information about the conventions of a feature article, click here. If you’re interested in learning more about different types of feature stories, check out this article.

If you’ve ever seen the movie Spotlight, the journalists are investigative reporters that write feature articles. Their purpose is to inform readers of shady things that are going on in and around Boston. If you haven’t seen the movie, it is about reporters at The Boston Globe who uncover the rampant sexual abuse committed by priests in the Catholic Church and the cover-up by the Church. It’s on Netflix!

Here is an example of a profile article about a gymnast abused by Larry Nassar that was published in Cosmopolitan. Here is another from The New York Times, about ISIS. Here is yet another from The New York Times, a Pulitzer Prize-winning series about bribery and Walmart.

 

P.S. Sorry for the lack of original pictures in this post. My computer is not cooperating.

4 thoughts to “An Introduction to the Feature Article”

  1. When I was writing my first genre blog post, I was getting so irritated with the pictures, I almost didn’t include any because the format was being so dumb. Also, with the amount of times I’ve watched Spotlight, I never realized what they were writing was a feature…even though they say it about a million times in the movie. I know you said you wanted to stray away from the political with this piece, but I feel like it might be a little hard to do when covering gender and sports…I’m seriously wracking my brain for some way to not make it happen. You could definitely talk about things from an objective standpoint, if you’re alright with your audiences perceiving it in a political way. Just an idea. *I hope this is what we discussed in class on Thursday, my memory is a little hazy!!*

  2. I love the wide-range of topics that you covered in the examples of feature articles that you linked in your post! This shows how versatile the genre of feature articles truly is. I was curious, what exactly is your feature article going to be on?

  3. I love writing features, easily my favorite thing to write. Here’s what I’d say. If you’re gonna do this for your final project, you could really go all out for it — actually make calls, do reporting, etc. I think that could be really cool! Even if not, though, I love the idea and can’t wait to see what you do with it.

  4. This is a really cool idea! I feel like it’s one of those ideas that you can create in any sort of style and it would work. I have never seen Spotlight but I’ve been meaning to watch it for a while and I’ve just been putting it off. I was just wondering, if you were to do this for your final project, who would you be interviewing and how would you structure it? Obviously you don’t need to know this now, but just some food for thought.

Leave a Reply