For a journalism writing instructor, working a projector is a challenge, despite his facility on social media.
On his first day teaching Writing Strategies, a prerequisite required by Florida International University’s
journalism program, Alfred Soto had never seen a projector before, and he said he had to learn how to
use it—five minutes before class.
“I saw this old thing and those fluorescent lights and I was, like, what? What year is this?” Soto said.
“I’ve never had to improvise so quickly.
NUT GRAF: Soto said that his students noticed his nervousness, but he relaxed them with jokes. On Aug,
27, 2017, he taught his first section of Writing Strategies using the new curriculum.
LEAD: As a girl, Jeanette Nunez drew her comic strips. Her older brother Julio had introduced her to
“Ghost in the Shell,” a feature length Japanese manga film from 1995. From that point she said
animation became her passion.
“I’d draw dogs with human characteristics,” Nunez said. “My grandma thought something was wrong
with me. She thought I should’ve been doing homework.”
NUT GRAF: When she learned that Florida International University had an anime club, she said she went
to Campus Life to learn more. The Japanese Animation Club, which meets every Wednesday from 4 p.m.
to 6 p.m., has members as obsessed with anime as Nunez.
Levels of Achievement
Needs Minor Editing (8 points)
Needs Substantial Editing (6 points)
Needs Major Editing and/or Revision (4 points))
You followed the assigned format
(narrative, inverted pyramid, feature,
broadcast script, press release, ad).
You made one mistake in your use of the
assigned format. (For example, the lede in
an inverted pyramid exceeded the correct
word count, or an item of information was
missing from a press release.)
You made two mistakes in your use of the
assigned format. (For example, multiple
required items were missing from a press
release or multiple paragraphs in an inverted
pyramid news story were too long.)
You made three or more mistakes in your use of
the assigned format. (For example, the lede in
an inverted pyramid omitted 3 or more of the 5
ws or a press release did not include three or
more required items.)
You organized and developed your Ideas
and information well. You arranged
relevant details appropriately for the
You made one mistake in organization.
(For example, an inverted pyramid included
a less important detail before a more
important aspect of the story.)
You made two or more mistakes in
organization. (For example, in the body copy of
your ad, you failed to answer several imporant
questions raised in the headline.)
Your made three or more mistakes in
oganization. (For example, you waited until the
end of your inverted pyramid story to include 3
of the 5 ws.)
You used well-placed and relevant direct
and indirect quotations from
knowledgeable sources and attributed
You made one mistake in use or attribution
You made only limited use of direct or indirect
quotations from knowledgeable sources and/or
made two mistakes in use or attribution of
You failed to include any appropriate direct or
indirect quotations from knowledgeable sources
and/or made three or more mistakes in
attribution of quotes.
Use of Appropriate
You chose the appropriate voice and
used it consistently. You used first or
second person only where appropriate
and maintained objectivity where
You made one mistake in use of voice.
You made two mistakes in use of voice.
You made three or more mistakes in use of
Typos, Spelling and
Your writing was free of typos,
misspellings and errors in word choice.
Your writing contained one typo, misspelling
or error in word choice.
Your writing contained two typos, misspellings
or errors in word choice.
Your writing contained three or more typos,
misspellings or errors in word choice.
You used tense appropriately and
consistently, avoiding confusing tense
You made one mistake in use of tense.
You made two mistakes in use of tense.
You made three or more mistakes in use of
Your punctation was error-free.
You made one mistake in punctuation.
You made two mistakes in punctuation.
You made three or more mistakes in
You used appropriate pronoun case.
You made one mistake in pronoun case.
You made two mistakes in pronoun case.
You made three or more mistakes in case.
You made no errors in subject/verb
You made one mistake in subject/verb
You made two mistakes in subject/verb
You made three or more mistakes in
Your writing was clear, concise, and
Your writing was clear and concise. Bring it
to life with more vibrant, concrete detail.
Your writing was adequate. Work to make it
more interesting with clearer, more vibrant
Writing and word choice need significant
development to bring your work to a publishable
Ready for Publication (10 points)
Assignment 3: Off Campus Feature Story
A feature story can be defined in different ways. Sometimes it is the light story the “human
interest” piece that makes a reader smile, laugh, or just feel good. Other times, the feature
story grows out of news. It is a serious piece that makes the reader think about something
important—maybe even feel frustrated, or cry. The key is that the stories interest readers.
Three common types of feature stories are:
1. Fad or Trend: What are people doing? Wearing? Saying? Listening to? What is
popular, and why?
2. Personality Profile: What individual (or group) has an interesting—and untold—story?
3. Topic/Issue: What are people concerned about? What should they be concerned
Assignment: Identify a fad or trend, person or group, topic/issue for your feature
story. REVIEW section 6.3: Writing Feature Stories in your textbook. Review the structure,
characteristics, and parts of a feature story before you begin to write.
Make sure you do some research also on your topic and you MUST conduct at least 2
REMAIN objective (the impersonal reporter) and organize your article in an interest
centered format. Don’t forget to include a headline in your story.
Word count: 400.
Please use Times New Roman 12pt double-spaced.
DO NOT WRITE AN ESSAY OR SUMMARY OF THE TOPIC. THIS IS NOT A
RESEACH PAPER IT IS AN ARTICLE. REFER TO THE AP STYLEBOOK FOR THE
CORRECT WAY TO USE QUOTES AND ATTRIBUTIONS THROUGHOUT YOUR
6.3: Writing Feature Stories
Differentiating feature stories from news stories is misleading. The two actually have a
great deal in common. The difference is in emphasis. The styles that are commonly used
for feature stories assume that the reader has more time to read. They still require a
central theme. The writer must be able to summarize the point of the story. But the
writing may require that the reader go further to fully understand the point of the story.
Of course, that means that the writer must sustain interest for a longer period of time.
Feature writing is a way for both readers and writers to get away from the “relevant facts
only” approach of most news stories. Feature stories generally contain more detail and
description. They go beyond most news stories by trying to discover the interesting or
important side of an event that may not be covered by the six basic news values.
Feature stories are also a way of humanizing the news, of breathing life into a
publication. Most feature articles center on people and their activities and interests. A
good way for a feature writer to approach the job is to believe that every person is
worth at least one good feature story.
Feature stories vary not only in content but also in structure. Following is a brief
discussion of some of the structures a feature writer may use. Feature stories have no
single structure that is used most of the time. Feature writers are free to adapt whatever
structure is suitable to the story they are trying to tell.
This style usually begins with a story of some kind and usually follows with a
statement of facts to support the point of the story. Quotations, anecdotes,
and facts then are interwoven throughout the story. The trick is to keep the
quotes and anecdotes relevant to the point of focus and to keep the story
interesting without making it trite.
Suspended Interest Features
This style is often used for producing some special effect. It is usually used for
a short story with a punch line, but sometimes it is drawn out into a much
longer story. In either case, the style requires the writer to lead readers
through a series of paragraphs that may raise questions in the readers’ minds
while keeping readers interested in solving the puzzle. At the end, the story is
resolved in an unexpected way.
A profile feature story centers on a single person. One approach to a profile is
to write a general description of the person’s life, past and present. Usually,
this narrative begins with the birth of the person and ends with the present.
Another approach is to zero in on a specific aspect of the person’s life and
weave a story around that particular theme. In doing this, the writer can
include biographical and background information about the person but can
stay focused on the chosen subject.
Question and Answer
This simple style is used for a specific effect. An explanatory paragraph usually
starts the story. Then the interviewer’s questions are followed by the
interviewee’s answers, word for word. Using this style requires articulate
participants in the interview. Sometimes, however, it makes clear how
inarticulate an interviewee is about a topic. In any case, it is effective for
showing the reader an unfiltered view of the interviewee’s use of language.
6.3.1: Characteristics of Feature Writing
To the reader, the feature story seems to have a more relaxed style of writing than a
news story. It may be easier to read than a news story and, because of its content, it may
be more entertaining. Feature writers, however, work just as hard and are just as
disciplined as news writers. They may work under a slightly different set of rules than
news writers, but the goals of feature writers are essentially the same as news writers: to
tell a story accurately and to write well.
The main difference that sets features apart from news stories is the greater amount of
detail and description in feature stories. Whereas the news story writer wishes to
transmit a basic set of facts to the reader as quickly as possible, the feature writer tries
to enhance those facts with details and description so that the reader will be able to see
a more complete picture of an event or a person. For instance, while the news writer
might refer to “a desk” in a news story, the feature writer will want to go beyond that
simple reference by telling the reader something more—“a mahogany desk” or “a dark
mahogany desk.” Better yet, the writer might rely on verbs to enhance the descriptions
of the subject: “A large, soft executive chair enveloped him as he sat behind a dark
The three major kinds of descriptions that should be contained in a feature story are
description of actions, description of people, and description of places. All of these are
important to a good feature story, but the description that makes for the strongest
writing is generally the description of action. Telling about events, telling what has
happened, telling what people are doing—these things make compelling reading.
Descriptions of this type help readers to see a story, not just read about it. In addition,
feature writers should make sure that readers see the people in their stories, just as the
writers themselves have seen the people. Feature writers also need to describe the
places where the stories occur. Readers need an idea of the surroundings of a story to
draw a complete picture in their minds.
A couple of tips will help writers to attain more vivid descriptions in their stories. One is
the reliance on nouns and verbs. Beginning writers sometimes believe that they should
use as many adjectives and adverbs as possible to enhance their writing, and, in doing
so, they rely on dull and overused nouns and verbs. That approach is a wrong turn on
the road to producing lively, descriptive writing. A second tip for writers is to remember
the five senses. Often writers simply describe the way things look, and they forget about
the way things sound, feel, taste, or smell. Incorporating the five senses into a story will
help make a description come alive for a reader.
Feature stories often contain more quotations and dialogue than news stories. News
writers use direct quotations to enhance and illuminate the facts they are trying to
present. Feature writers go beyond this by using quotations to say something about the
people who are in their stories. Quoted material is generally used much more freely in
feature stories, although, as in news stories, dumping a load of quotes on a reader
without a break often puts too heavy a burden on the reader. Dialogue and dialect are
other devices a feature writer may use if the story calls for them.
One of the charms of feature writing for many writers is that the writer can put more of
himself or herself into a story. Whereas in news stories writers stay out of sight as much
as they can, feature writers are somewhat freer to inject themselves and their opinions
into a story. Although feature writers do have more latitude in this regard, they must use
this latitude wisely and make sure that a feature story does not become a story about
themselves rather than about the subject they are trying to cover.
6.3.2: Parts of a Feature Story
Feature stories generally have four parts: a lead, an engine paragraph, a body, and an
ending. Each needs special handling by the writer.
As in a news story, the lead of a feature story is its most important part. Feature writers
are not bound by the one-sentence, 30-word lead paragraph structure that news writers
must often follow. A lead in a feature story may be several sentences or paragraphs
long. From the beginning sentence, however, the feature writer must capture the
reader’s attention and give the reader some information of substance—or at least
promise some information of substance. A news writer can depend on the story’s
subject to compel the reader’s interest. A feature writer must sell the reader on the
subject in the first few words or sentences.
A good lead uses the first words or sentences of a story to build interest in the story’s
subject, but the reader must soon discover some benefit for reading the story. That’s
why the writer should build a lead toward some initial point that the story is to make,
something that will hook the reader for the rest of the story.
The engine paragraph (also called the fat paragraph, the snapper, or the why paragraph)
gives the reader this payoff and sets the stage for the rest of the story. It puts the story
in some context for the reader and tells the reader why the rest of the story should be
The body of the feature story is the middle of the story that expands and details the
subjects introduced in the lead. The body should answer every question that was raised
in the lead, and it should fulfill every expectation that the lead raised within the reader.
Unfortunately, like products bought in a store, features often promise more than they
deliver. They tell the reader in the lead that the information they contain will be of
interest or help to the reader, but they might turn out to be neither interesting nor
helpful. The body should contain the substance of the article, and it should be what the
reader has been led to expect.
News writers using the inverted pyramid generally do not have to worry about the
ending of their stories. Feature writers need to take care how a story ends. The ending
of a story may be used to put the story in some perspective, to answer any lingering
questions that a reader may have or to make a final point about the story’s subject. The
major point about an ending is that a writer should not allow a story to go on too long.
Like any other writer, the feature writer should stop writing when there is nothing of
substance left to say.
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