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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.
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"If you feel the decorative impulse coming on, lie down until it goes away."

I just love that sentence.
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"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.
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"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.
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"Limit yourself to a manageable slice of the subject."

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

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