Writing Literary Features

Writing Literary Features

Writing Literary Features

Writing Literary Features

Excerpt

"Every story doesn't lend itself to creative writing," Everett S. Allen (1979), the editorial page editor of the New Bedford, Massachusetts, Standard-Times, once wrote, "but there ought to be someone on every newpaper who recognizes such a story when it comes along and who can do something about it -- who can create a piece that is an invitation to the reader not simply because of what it says, but also because of the manner in which it says it" (p. 5). Such a person would no doubt write the story using literary techniques. This book shows beginning journalists what many of those techniques are and how they are applied in newspaper writing.

Although I have titled this book Writing Literary Features, I would argue that modern journalists should not categorize stories as hard news or feature or literary feature, but should recognize that given the complex nature of life, the modern journalist needs a variety of writing approaches to satisfactorily explain the world to readers. Most of the stories in this book did not come from the feature pages of newspapers but from the news sections, yet they read like feature stories.

Writing should be viewed as what journalists do to shape the results of their reporting. If the facts best lend themselves to hard news (the inverted pyramid), that is the way the story should be written. But if the facts demand an essay or editorial or a literary feature, then that is the way the story should be written. Content and function -- not the section the story will appear in the newspaper -- should dictate form.

This book can be used in more than one course. For feature writing courses, Writing Literary Features can serve as the main text. One of this book's strengths is the attention it pays to how the reporters gathered the information that they eventually put into a literary shape. Writing Literary Features is equally useful in a . . .

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