Feature Story

Feature Writing Online Draft due Mar 7; Final Due Mar 14 40 points

For this assignment, you will select an online magazine from http://www.onlinenewspapers.com/magazines/ (or one that you may find online by searching). Choose a magazine that interests you. You are an intern in this magazine’s editorial department and have been asked to write a feature post for its blog (assume there is one). Your audience is the magazine’s readers. Your post must be 400 – 500 words. It must include three hyperlinks and one visual image. AP Style is not required. NOTE: Bring 4 printed copies to class on March 7.

1. Purpose. Decide what the purpose of your feature is and stick to it. All good features inform, educate, inspire, entertain or enlighten.

2. Be Creative. The feature may be written for the magazine but don’t make the story about the magazine. This will come across as blatant self-promotion. However, do choose a topic that aligns with its brand and values and then tell a story that is accessible to the ideal reader. Optional: involving people through quotes brings it to life.

3. Feature Type. Decide what type of feature you will write (choose ONE):

a. History of

b. Personality profile

c. Advice piece / How to

d. Day-in-the-life story

e. Seasonal focus

f. Behind the scenes

g. Review or trend piece

h. Case study

4. The Lead. Structure your post so the most compelling information is at the beginning. Grab attention by describing a dramatic moment, using a telling quote, asking an intriguing question, or describing a remarkable or amusing scene.

5. Use a “Nut Graf” – a bridging sentence or short paragraph (usually highlighted in bold) to link the introduction to the rest of the feature. Position it after the second or third paragraph and use it to answer the ‘So, why should I keep reading?’ question.

6. Make it Flow. A good feature will connect the story from beginning to end with a common thread. This might be a single person, an event, or a thing – something that highlights the overall theme.

7. Use Eye-Catching Layout. Grab the reader’s eye and break up long copy: introduce bullet points to draw attention to tips or advice; use text boxes to highlight specific details; pull out memorable quotes and colorful commentary.

8. Write using Plain English. Follow the rules (see side two of these instructions) to keep your writing easily accessible and understood. Proof for grammatical, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization accuracy.

9. Three Hyperlinks required. Don’t forget to include well placed hyperlinks to enhance the content of your post with additional, linked materials such as news stories, blog posts, or sources you drew directly from for blog content.

10. Visual Image required. Include one photo or graphic image.

George Orwell’s rules for writing:

1. Never use clichés. These are phrases which you are very used to seeing in print. (For example, “tried and true”, “raining cats and dogs”, “read between the lines”, “brave as a lion,” and “kiss and make up”). Either people do not know their original meaning or due to constant use, they’ve lost their meaning and potency.

2. Use short words. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

3. Be concise. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

4. Be active. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

5. Be clear. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. If you must use—explain it.

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