FEATUREIn French language, the word feature is used for fashion or in the meaning of construction of anything. In Latin language, Factura, Facere and Factum are expressed in the same meaning. In English language, “Feature” means part of face or characteristic. But in journalism, feature article is similar to a news story which gives fact in an increasing form and gives the impression of a drama, short story or other form of good
literature to the readers while reading it.
What is a Feature?Feature stories may be news stories. Features can be investigative. Features can be in depth. Features can be for fun. The subject can be anything, place, a community, a farm, a business, topics-education, science, the economy, religion, philosophy, events-parades, programmes, concerts, people well-known or unknown,
animals-unusual or ordinary, objects-art or products. In other words, features can be about anything one wants to write about.
Definitions of FeatureR.E. Wolsely :
RE. Wolsely in “Exploring Journalism” has defined feature as :
“Feature is the entertainment element in the news. Feature is the salad or dessert of Journalism-diet. This is little extra titbit (enjoyable part of the for-joke). It is to make heavier parts of the meal more
Helen M. Patterson :
He defines feature in his book “Writing And Selling Special Feature Articles” as :
“Feature like a news story informs the reader. Feature instructs, guides or entertains the reader along with informing him. The news story presents only facts, feature dramatizes and supplements them by giving
detailed information that will appeal to reader’s imagination.”
Edward J. Friedlander :
According to Edward, “A feature story is typically both original and descriptive. Some features are geared towards entertainment with little information. Other features inform but entertain little. The best feature combines both aspects.”
Manual of Journalism :
Manual of Journalism defines feature as :
“Feature provides more information than the news story. The news story answers ‘What’ and “How” while feature answers ‘Why’.”
The book “News Writing” defines feature as follows :
“Feature is a new technique through which journalists make less important news more interesting" and attractive.”
Alexis McKinney :
Alexis defines feature as :
“A newspaper feature is an article which finds its impacts outside or beyond the realm of the straight news story’s basic and unvarnished who-what-where-when-why and how.”
The justification, strength and very identity of the feature lies in its presentation of the imagination-mot however, in departing from or stretching the truth, but in piercing the peculiar and particular truths that strike people’s curiosity, sympathy, skepticism, humour, consternation or amazement.
Helen M. Patterson :
“The special feature article is similar to a news story in that it gives the readers in an interesting form and is adapted to rapid reading. But it does beyond those facts by multiplying them with study, research and interviews to instruct, guide and entertain readers who know about the subject as well as those who do not know."
Types of FeatureThough there is no limit to the number of ideas for features, there is a finite set of categories of them. These categories are not rigid, they are only labels to help one describe a story.
1. News Feature :
Most common is the news feature, generally developed around a timely event-something with immediacy and significance to the audience. The news feature can be more personal than a straight news story. Considerably more human interest is brought to the story-through direct quotes, description and perhaps emotion. At the core, though, is news. Often such features are written as sidebars to straight news stories. Colour stories capture the favour of an event.
2. Personality, Sketch or Profile :
The biographical feature is published at the death or the anniversary of the birth of some person. The personality feature may appear at any time and have no noticeable excuse for appearing, although publicity is often the motive even if the reader is not aware of it. Another distinction is that the biographical type attempts to give a bird’s eye view of the subject’s life whereas the personality type simply tries to present the subject s
present day appearance and characteristics.
3. Informative Feature :
These are on the little-known, the odd or unusual aspects of the story subject. While the emphasis is on informing or educating the audience, the information presented is not necessarily timely or immediate. Such stories are popular, for they provide the audience with information to tuck away for future reference. Like the news feature, informative features are often packaged with a main news story.
4. Historical Features :
The commonest news topics for the historical feature are anniversaries, holidays and discoveries of new material or the truth about old events. Such features must be based either on new information or on an original manner of restating the old news and views. For example, here is a familiar newspaper story at Eid-ul-Azha time. The writer attempted in the lead only to be timely and to localize. He was not specially specific
about what residents of Chicago planned to do, but simply drew on encyclopedia knowledge of national customs in celebrating Eid.
5. Personal Experience :
Many personal-experience features recount the accomplishments of an individual or group. The disabled Vietnam veteran who rolls across the state in wheelchair to raise funds for charity, the junior high school student who spells prestidigitator correctly and wins the country spelling bee and the chance to go on to the state competition-these are examples of stories which, though not timely, capture audience interest.
6. Descriptive Feature :
Descriptive features centre on places the public can visit and events they can take part in or enjoy as spectators. Almost every community has tourist spots, historic buildings or sites, recreational areas, pageants, festivals, unusual restaurants.
Such stories are cyclic. They can be written and rewritten almost every year, for there’s always a new audience looking for places to go and things to do or a vicarious experience if they can’t go and do. The purpose of these features is to provide specific facts: about the weather casts, special events and the like. They’re usually found in the travel and entertainment sections of newspapers and magazines and in the feature segments of Radio and TV. programmes.
7. How-to-do it Features :
These are popular because people have more leisure time, want to save money, and want to experience the thrill of creative work. Subjects such as flower arranging, building patio furniture, improving your golf or tennis game, buying at discount stores, using home computers, installing solar systems-all have appeal. You are limited in how-to articles only by your own limitations in understanding the subject, and there are usually authorities around who can provide the technical expertise.
The secret to a successful how-to feature is in its reward for the audience. A project or a suggestion that’s too complicated, too expensive or too time-consuming is likely to lose the audience.
8. Enterprise Features :
For lack of a better generic label, stories that don’t fit any specific category are called enterprise features. “This and that” stories can be written about the everyday occurrences in our lives. You look at a fairly common situation but ask “Why?” and a story results. As you cool: breakfast you may wonder why some people call the utensil a skillet and others refer to it as a frying pan. You’re on the way to a feature about regional slang. Ideas can develop from something you read or heard on Radio or TV, or picked up in classes or casual conversations. The list is as long as your curiosity. A classmate might mention having “math phobia.” Is that real? When you find something people are talking about and would like to know more about you have a feature. Then its a matter of finding sources who can talk with some knowledge about the subject.