Journalism: Feature News vs. Hard News Writing with Dale Rice

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[ music intro] MEGHAN: Howdy and Welcome back to WriteRight, Today we are talking with Dale Rice, Director of Journalism Studies now at Texas A& M, about significant differences in hard news and peculiarity story writing. What is feature writing and how is it differentfrom hard news? DALE RICE: Well in general Id say in journalismyou can basically say that true narrations fall into two categories. They fall into the hardnews list, or they fall into the feature category. The hard news are those storiesthat are covering the events that are taking place out there. Feature tales are muchmore either playing off that or are recreation, droll, or life divulging various kinds of floors. Good examplesof feature kinds of writing: music, the arts, movies, menu, leisure of all kinds, manner. These are all things that parties have a great deal of interest in but may notbe the most pressing issues of the day. And so you turn around and look for ways to writestories about those things that are interesting, fun, engaging.MEGHAN: Okay, well when you write a featurestory dont you go about it in a much different mode? DALE RICE: Of direction both narrations are goingto have all of the basic facts. Theres no doubt about that. But the basic news story, youre going to concentrate on getting those essential facts high in the fib and beingvery direct with beings and getting to the point quickly and clearly. In the featurestory, you have an opportunity to have far more varied writing styles. And its notjust that you can play with one particular style however dozens of writing stylesthat you can use in feature writing, and it gives you a chance to, I reckon, have moreof an individual voice as a writer.It gives you the opportunity to play with languagemuch more. And, one other aspect of feature writing is that the vast majority of featuresare not written on a daily deadline. You have more duration , not only to work on the languagebut to work on the storey anatomy as well and to be addressed the room in which youre constructinga story, and where in the tale do you want to reveal the key element? Do you wantto save things for midway through or even important details for the end? You have thatkind of opportunity in story construction to say ah, I might not want to reveal all, I might want to keep this almost like a puzzle and divulge the most important thing rightat the end. MEGHAN: Now, an intro for a feature storycan be much different than a hard news story? DALE RICE: Yeah for the feature narratives, youcan get a lot more into anecdotal writing and explanatory writing and spend a lot moretime setting the background than you would do in a hard news story. So thats a bit of thereason that you have so many different approaches that you can take in a feature story.Youcan really hone in on somebodies figure, somebodys personality, the kinds of thingsthat really wouldnt come to play in a news story, right? I entail really how the personlooks, or how the person or persons behaves, or what theyre personal situation is, seldom contributesto whats happening in the news story, unless of course theyre a serial executioner thatscaught and then youd go after all of that sort of thing, or a casualty. But, for the mostpart when you have people who are involved in government, for example, discussing thebig issues of the day, what theyre wearing to the press conference is just not important.But in a feature story that entire appearing thing might in fact be the first three orfour sections of your storey as you try and establish every little detail about how somebodyis appearing and behaving during, for example, a news conference. So if you were writinga feature story about the same event you would take a particularly very different approach to it. MEGHAN: In hard news you are expected to grabthe book with a captivate contribute and hand the facts as quickly and clearly as possible.In a feature story you get the opportunity to use description and detail to entice yourreader.Your interviews can be more indepth and can focus on how people feel about anissue rather than just what happened. In Dale Rices Media Writing I and II students getthe opportunity to practice writing both feature and hard news fibs. In our next bout, Dale Rice will discuss ways to approach sensitive or difficult interrogations. Thanks for listening to this episode of Write Right, well “ve seen you” next time ..