Creating News Features and Op-Ed

17 Oct

Chapter 7 Reading Notes COMM 4333


Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques

The Value of Features

Feature Story provides additional background information, generates human interest and creates understanding in a more imaginative way.

  • Provides information to consumer
  • Gives background ad context about organizations
  • Provides behind-the scenes perspective
  • gives human dimension to events
  • Generates publicity for standard products and services.

Service journalism – “news you can use” where t publishes tips about a topic.

Planning  News Feature

  1. Conceptualize how something lends itself to feature treatment.
  2. Consider if information would be interesting to audience.
  3. Helps achieve organizational objectives.

Ways to Proceed

  • Write general feature and distribute it to variety of publications
  • Phone editor and outline subject in 60 seconds (query)
  • Submit a proposal (for popular magazines)
  • Do not write a feature at all and give a journalist the idea to write about it.
  • Post feature on organization’s website for possible downloading

Types of Features

  1. Case Study – used for product publicity of how consumer benefitted from product.
  2. Application Story – focuses on how consumer can use a product or service in innovative ways.
  3. Research Study – surveys and polls or scientific studies to show some aspect of contemporary lifestyles or common situation at the workplace.
  4. Backgrounder – focuses on problem and how it was solve by an organization, or a product or it can explain how a technology has evolved over the years.
  5. Personality Profile – people like to read about people. Ex. celebrity stories, “movers and shakers”
  6. Historical Piece – anniversaries, major changes, centennials and other events.

Parts of a Feature

  • The Headline – 20 words or less, informational and play on words headlines.
  • The Lead – tells the basic facts in a nutshell. Name of organization and key summary points.
  • The Body – does not have to use the inverted pyramid. Use direct quotes, examples, descriptive words and present information in an entertaining way.
  • The Summary – most important part of feature. It must be complete and clear.
  • Photos and Graphics – adds appeal. (infographics – computer generated artwork that shows table sand charts.

Feature stories can be placed in newspapers, general magazines, speciality and trade magazines and internal publication.

Writing an Op-Ed – opposite editor page used to present a variety of views on the current issues, government policies, pending legislation and social issues.

  • Avoid using “I”
  • Be timely
  • No mass mailings
  • have clear editorial viewpoint

Next best thing is letter to the editor. They are shorter than op-ed pieces. focus on rebutting an editorial, clarifying information mentioned in a news story or column, or adding information that might not have been in original story.


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