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October 23, 2005

AP Guide to News Writing (Ch.11)

"In features, the immediacy of the event is secondary...Compelling features supplement the straight news content in timely and topical ways: they illuminate events, offer perspective, explanation and interpretation, record trends, tell people about people.

Before reading this chapter I thought of features as almost unworthy of publication. I thought that they were only the simple anecdotes about someone's dog that nobody cared about. I learned, especially from reading the examples at the end of the chapter, that features can be very poignant and relative to current news.
"If you feel the decorative impulse coming on, lie down until it goes away."

I just love that sentence.
"Moving from the general to the particular is seldom as effective in feature writing as the other way around... Whenever possible, raise the curtain on a human actor and human action, not a juiceless stage setting."

I see the value of including certain anecdotes to draw in the reader, and make the article more emphatic.
"Start your reporting and interviewing with an open mind. In time, and by dint of legwork and research, the story will assume a natural shape...At first, cast your net wide. You never know what facts and details, peripheral when you haul them in, will turn into treasure when you write."

I have experienced this first-hand. I wrote on article for the Setonian Online about the maintenance project to replace the natural gas lines under parking lot A. I did not know exactly what angle or direction to take, but once I started interviewing people the pieces came together.
"Limit yourself to a manageable slice of the subject."

Posted by DavidDenninger at October 23, 2005 03:55 PM


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