JOUR SUPPLEMENTARY ESSAY
The term “feature article” is quite general and can include many different forms, such as profile features, news features, expose’s, and many others. Feature journalism can also have numerous purposes, for example to inform, to educate, or to simply entertain. While ‘feature article’ is certainly a broad term, features do come with their own set of defining characteristics which make them different to a news article. Feature articles are distinguished from regular news reports because they give the reader more than a ‘facts-only’ account of an issue; they explore themes and concepts more deeply than a ‘hard’ news article. While feature articles usually have elements of news worthiness (for example, a profile of a politician in the lead up to an election), they are often timeless to some degree, because the underlying themes of features are usually universal. Although not always the case, feature articles are usually longer than news articles. Structurally, this gives the author more freedom. Unlike news articles, features do not adhere to the ‘inverted pyramid’ structure – an effective feature will often show the gradual development of the author’s ideas in a way that is described in the Week 1 lecture (McHugh, 2013) as a “slow burn”. No matter the purpose of a feature article, they always aim to give the reader more than ‘just the news’. Because features don’t rely on pure newsworthiness to engage their audience, they must have good writing, solid research and relatable themes. Features are often more colourfully written than news articles, and the writer has the opportunity to display creativity and flair. However, this does not mean that clear writing is less important in features than in any other form of journalism. As stated in the Week 1 lecture (McHugh 2013), features “aren’t an excuse for literary pyrotechnics”. The basics of good journalism (and good writing in general) all apply to feature writing. While opinion pieces can qualify as feature articles, features in general are certainly not a mere outlet for the writer to express their opinions, or to speculate on an issue – factual information and research are the foundations of all forms of journalism, including feature articles. However, features do give room for the writer to discuss context and provide commentary on an issue. The Aerobic Art of Interviews
Interviews undertaken by the author are a major part of all feature articles. This is most prominent in profile features, which use interviews as the basis of the article, although interviews can be used for a range of different purposes across all types of features. For example, an author might quote an expert in a field and quote or paraphrase their words to add credibility to an informative piece, or quote members of the public to gauge popular opinions on an issue. An interview is not merely a conversation, but rather a structured, focused dialogue (McHugh 2013). However, often interviews are conducted in a conversational or colloquial manner – this way, the interviewee (and journalist) will be more ...