Visual Communications: Feature Planning Writing and Making Decisions.

For this week, the tutorial consisted of feature writing and planning our article. As a budding journalist, it is essential that I know who to write a feature article; not only so that I can do this for my double page spread, but also for the future purposes. As I have already had various articles published both in print and online (for themetonline), I was aware that there is a certain structure that every journalist should follow when writing an article. Usually, when planning an article I don’t tend to worry too much about the word count; as I feel this restraints the message I want to come across to readers. I prefer to write down the main points that I want to cover, and then they usually progress in paragraphs themselves. Due to this, I tend to go over word counts very easily as I’m so used to writing long essays or articles; so it was good for me to understand the concept of feature writing a little better with this tutorial.

Feartures:

Idea:

  • A good feature always answers a question (possible one that the reader has never considered.

Things to Consider:

  • Audience
  • What?
  • Why?
  • Who?
  • Type of Coverage
  • What Tone?

The Basics:

  • How many words?
  • How many pictures?
  • Box Outs?
  • Cross Heads?
  • Pull Quotes?
  • Pictures?
  • To go with what section?
  • Do you need product shots?
  • Can you get stock shots? (in-house photographer?)
  • Illustrations?

Other Things to Consider:

Not every feature has to be earth-shattering news, but it has to fit the publication.

Working Title:

Try to avoid questions in the headline, if your feature is a headline that is ok as long as it is not in the headline.

Task One:

Think of a feature you would like to write, decide on this content: What is it about, Why is it interesting, What value does it offer to the reader, what angle will you take?

Feature: Comic Cons, They are a Changing!

What is it about: Is Comic Con becoming less about Comics and more about advertisement from Hollywood?

Why is it interesting: Comic Con is not what it used to be, the massive decrease of comic content included in the convention has dropped dramatically over the years due to the increase of other pop-culture content such as tv/film and games. Does this mean that in the future the convention will simply just be a symbol of mainstream pop-culture and be rid of its original roots altogether?

What does it offer the reader: It offers the truth of how much the convention has changed and possible makes the reader wonder what the future will hold for the convention? It could make them question how much the convention has embraced the mainstream despite its obscure beginning.

What angel will you take? This article will be angled more like an investigation, stating the facts of how it started and how much it has changed over the years. It is up to the reader to decide how they feel about the matter.

Better Feature Writing:

  • Don’t write anything first
  • Make Notes
  • Research
  • Compartmentalise everything
  • Planning makes perfect

Plan Word Count:

  • 200 word intro
  • 600 word body copy
  • 100 word conclusion

Refer to the aims of the feature often and ask how what you’ve written applies to it.

Editorial Decision Making:

  • Is it relevant?
  • Will it appeal?
  • Can ads sell off the back of it?
  • Can we afford it?
  • Is it worth the time?
  • Is it the right thing to do?

I found this tutorial to be very helpful, it made me consider a more thorough approach to my article writing when it came to planning my word count in detail. It also taught me that I need to be a bit more ruthless when it comes to make decisions about the points I make in my article what message I want to come across. As I am currently writing my double page spread article, this will aid me greatly along with the research I have been doing.

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