The final feature, which is worth 200 points, is a 1,000-word trend
story or profile. You should interview at least three different people for the
story. Interview them in person so that you can make observations and use
description in your stories. Do not use Skype or e-mail. If possible, collect
statistics from reliable sources to buttress your story.
HERE ARE SOME GUIDELINES:
The difference between news stories and features: “The news writer tells you the bridge fell in and how many cars fell off. The feature writer tells you what it was like to have been there: ‘When Joe Smith began to walk across the bridge, it began to tremble, and he grabbed the railing’” –Jules Loh
Show people doing things.
Let them talk.
Underwrite. Let the action and the dialogue carry the piece.
Keep the piece moving.
Good stories come from good material. Good material comes from good reporting.
Where Do Ideas Originate?
IDEAS ARE EVERYWHERE!
Anyone who purchased (at my Garage Sale last week) a small white canister with blue flowers, please call me. It contains remains of a dearly departed family member.
Observations: Noticing trends and changes
Sources: friends, physical and human sources, acquaintances, officials
Reading: papers, magazines, books, official documents
Conflicts and controversies
Surfing the Internet
A good theme can always be expressed in a simple sentence or two: “If you can’t write your idea on the back of a business card, you don’t have a clear idea.”
You should be able to summarize your story idea in one sentence, 25 words or less.
Use your theme to plan whom you intend to interview, in what environment, and the questions you want to ask.
Once you have gathered your material (human and physical sources) through interviews, observations and research, read through your notes and write an outline, or use index cards to organize your story.
Do Not Use Wikipedia to do research for your Final Features. In fact, as we have talked about in class, be very careful when using the Internet. Sources such as the New York Times and .gov, .org, .edu are more reliable than most other sources.
Use a delayed lead for the opener. This should include a scene setter or anecdote and a nut graph. The nut graph will tell the reader what your story is about. Ideally, your story should also have a news peg: an event, decision or trend that makes your story timely and relevant.
Keep it simple.
Use high-quality quotes, not throw-away quotes.
Provide important and relevant background and statistics.
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