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How to Write a Feature Article/Story

If I was writing a feature on a historical society that had a new exhibit on the community’s post offices I would run a series of three feature articles. The articles would be headlined as “Posting through the Ages”, “Historical Society Opens New Post Office Exhibit”, and “Post Office Exhibit Family and Friends Event”. Each article would be focused on a different angle of the new exhibit on the community’s post office so as to reach as many different audiences as possible. The “Posting through the Ages” article would include an interview with a long term post office employee; the interview would focus on how the post office has changed and how social media has affected the post office. The “Historical Society Opens New Post Office Exhibit” article would have an interview with a member of the Historical Society on the purpose of the new exhibit, the motivation behind it, and why people should visit it. The Post Office Exhibit Family and Friends Event” would be a schedule for the first day of the exhibit and discuss all of the fun events the Historical Society has set up.

If I was writing about how a little league team won a championship with three players sidelined for injuries for a public relations media campaign I would have a set of two feature articles. They would be headlined “Little League Team Pulls Together” and “There is no I in Team”. “Little League Team Pulls Together” would focus on how the team managed to work together and win the game; it would include an interview with the coach and parents who watched the game as well as a description of the game. “There is no I in Team” would include an interview with the players on how they trained with their coach in advance so that all team members could be substituted for different positions and a description of the team training exercises.

On the topic of an elementary school renaming itself for a teacher who worked for 50 years for a public relations media campaign I would run a series of three feature articles. The first article would be an interview with the teacher headlined “School Teacher of 50 Years Tells All”; the interview would focus on the teacher’s time at the school, how the teacher feels about the renaming, and the teacher’s future plans. The second article would be on the community’s reaction and would feature quotes from parents, an interview with a school board member, and a quotes from the students; it would be headlined “Community Honors School Teacher”. The third article would be on how the renaming occurred and would include an interview with the person who suggested the renaming, information about the process of allowing the renaming, and any precedent for renaming a school to honor a person.

Your organization recently decided to sponsor a little-league team and the CEO is going to be the coach. Your boss asks you to prepare a relevant feature story about this for your local newspaper. You have a lot of freedom to prepare the story. The only requirement you have is that the story cannot exceed 500 words. Develop an angle for the feature story and write a 500-word feature article. You have the ability to interview anyone you need for the story, including past coaches, parents, and employees.

M&K Toys Supports Blue Tigers Little-League Team

M&K Toys has decided to step up their game by supporting the local little league team known as the Blue Tigers. M&K Toys will be sponsoring the team for this coming year and Max Weston, CEO of M&K Toys, will become the team’s coach!

M&K Toys decided to sponsor the Blue Tigers after their last sponsorship ran out and their coach ended up having to withdraw due to a broken ankle. M&K decided that if a coach could be found then they would sponsor the team. When asked how Max Weston ended up as coach the board of directors said: “We were talking about how we might not be able to sponsor the team because the team did not have a coach and Max got this big smile on his face and told everyone that he would coach the team.”

When asked why he decided to coach the team Max Weston replied: “I have always loved baseball; I played in little league, high school, and college then later, when I became a Dad, I became an assistant baseball coach and I loved every minute of it. When I learned about how the company was going to sponsor the team and that the team needed a new coach after the previous one broke his ankle, it was a no brainer for me to step up to the plate. I am very excited to work with the team and we are all going to have a great time, no matter if we win or lose. Go Blue Tigers!”

What does the community have to say about Max Weston becoming coach?

Mary Jane (Mother of Little League player): “I am so glad someone was willing to coach the team. Timothy is very excited about the coming season and I was worried that I was going to have to tell him that there would be no team.”

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Joe Hardy (last year’s coach): “I felt really bad for the kids. I told the team last year that I would be back again, but after my injury the doctor told me I had to be careful and stay off my ankle. The kids are in good hands with Max Weston; I played college baseball with him and he definitely has the experience to coach the kids!”

There you have it; the community of Blue Lakes thanks M&K Toys and Max Weston for saving their team!

Assume that you are going to write a feature story about your favorite sports or entertainment figure. What are three questions you might ask the person in order to gather information that will contribute to a quality feature story? Would your questions be different if the person was a “well-known” figure as opposed to a “local hero”?

If I were going to interview a sports or entertainment figure for a feature story then the questions would depend on the person, the publication that I was writing for, and the topic of the story. The questions would be dependent on the person as I would want to use broad questions for a local hero and more specific questions for a well-known figure. The publication that I would be writing for would also influence my questions as different publications have diverse audiences and I would want the interview to be appealing to the target audiences. The topic of the story would also influence my questions as I would want the questions to provide interesting information that would fit well with my story. For instance if my story was on the beginning of an actor’s career then the questions would be:

  1. What first inspired you to become an actor?
  2. Was there any one person who inspired or supported you in becoming an actor?
  3. What did you do in order to give yourself the skills you needed to become an actor?

For a local hero my questions could potentially be something like:

  1. How do you feel about being called a local-hero?
  2. In your own words, can you describe what you did that makes you a local-hero?
  3. What advice would you give someone who was in the situation you were in?

For a well-known actor:

  1. What advice would you give to young adults who wish to become actors?
  2. Was there ever another career you considered before becoming an actor?
  3. What inspires you when you acquire a new acting role?

Review one of your local newspapers or local news channel websites. How can you determine what content was prepared as a feature story? Do you think that these features were generated by public relations practitioners? Explain your position.

One local new story that I found was on how Boynton Beach, Florida, is considering new rule to help breweries expand; the story is called “Boynton Beach Considering New Rules to Help Breweries Expand”. “Boynton Beach Considering New Rules to Help Breweries Expand” is a feature story as it contains a strong lead, background information, quotes, and it is a human interest story. The story is considered soft news because it is not a time sensitive story. I personally do not believe that it was written by a public relations practitioner as it is mostly unbiased and does not favor one side over the other; instead the story just focuses on the ways the new laws could help local breweries expand. The style of the story leads me to believe that it was written by a journalist.

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