Presentation on theme: "Feature Stories. Into the Wild (Again) BY RICK BASSRICK BASS August 26, 2010 Rick Bass retraces the steps of an eccentric explorer in British Columbia."— Presentation transcript:
Into the Wild (Again) BY RICK BASSRICK BASS August 26, 2010 Rick Bass retraces the steps of an eccentric explorer in British Columbia The names of the mountain lakes and rivers are the names of our horses -- Tuchodi, Gataga. I have come by floatplane into a mountainous land nearly the size of Ireland, with not a single road within that landmass -- 16 million acres -- and will saddle up and ride on, farther into the wildest country in North America. There's an outrageous beauty to be viewed in any direction, one that was once familiar to our species and is still probably hard-wired into us, but a beauty few have ever experienced in this life. It is the beauty of seeing such a grandness of scale that the longer you look at the high basins and immense mountain ranges and braided, glinting rivers rushing down from the snowfields, the bigger the country gets. You watch mesmerized as the big rivers scour and sculpt lush valley bottoms, as the luminous silver-blue-green waters carry uncountable trillions of tons of sediment north to the Arctic Ocean. The country gets in your mind and in your heart, and then it grows, expanding every hour, every day. We're not the first to fall in love with the vast wilderness of Muskwa-Kechika in northern British Columbia. The Kaska tribe has lived and hunted here for roughly 9,000 years, since soon after the ice began going away. (Nor is all of the ice yet gone; magnificent ice caps and glaciers still shroud the highest reaches of the Muskwa-Kechika, serrated ice- and snow-teeth gleaming to the horizon in all directions.) http://www.onearth.org/article/into-the-wild-again
Features 3 Longer shelf life than a news story. Can be published later and still retain a high level of audience interest. Relies less on timeliness and more on human interest compared to hard news stories.
Writing the Lead A summary may not be the best lead. A lead block of one or two paragraphs often begins a feature Rather than put the news elements of the story in the lead, the feature writer uses the first two or three paragraphs to set a mood, to arouse readers, to invite them inside.
Types of feature leads Big Fact – 1 or 2 big facts in a short, snappy, astonishing or explosive statements Question – arouse interest without a definite answer from the reader Suspended Interest – create question(s) in the readers mind (climax or answer comes later) Direct Address – Speak directly to the readers to attract & build interest (You) Quotation – direct or indirect quotes from an identified source (when and where usually later)
Nut Graph The So What paragraph. Usually in the third of fourth paragraph. Explains the reason the story is being written.
Body of the Feature Provides vital information while it educates, entertains, and emotionally ties an audience to the subject Important components include: Background information The thread of the story Dialogue Voice
Background Information A paragraph or two of background should be placed high in the story to bring the audience up-to-date.
The Thread of the Story Connects the beginning, body and conclusion of the story. Because a feature generally runs longer than a news story, it is effective to weave a thread throughout the story, which connects the lead to the body and to the conclusion. This thread can be a single person, and event or a thing, and it usually highlights the theme.
Dialogue May be used to keep a story moving In feature reporting, it must be accurate (do not let your opinions in!) Can give readers strong mental images and keep them attached to the writing and to the storys key players
Establish a Voice The signature or personal style of each writer. Voice is the personality of the writer and can be used to inject color, tone, and subtle emotional commentary into the story. Voice should be used subtly.
Wrapping it Up The ending will wrap up the story and come back to the lead, often with a quotation or a surprising climax. Often, a feature ends where the lead started, with a single person or event.
Feature Writing Does not have to be written in the inverted pyramid format Written to hook the reader and draw them into the story.
Block Style Instead of using the inverted pyramid, use block style. 1 Introduction 2 Nut (Newsworthy Point) 3 Supporting Information 4 Conclusion/ Wrap Up
Observations Feature stories allow you to integrate details that are observed…not just spoken. Sprinkle direct quotations, observations and additional background throughout the story.
Choosing the Theme Has the story been done before? Is the story of interest to the audience? Does the story have holding power (emotional appeal)? What makes the story worthy of being reported? The theme answers the question So what?
The final paragraph should complete the story. The best ways to do this are to refer back to the lead or use a quote to refer to the future. Remember
The story should reflect the subject's character and personality. Feature stories should contain many direct quotes. many direct quotes. At minimum, features should be one-half direct quotes. one-half direct quotes.
Write creatively, use color and imagination, make people come ALIVE with your feature writing. Be careful to avoid becoming too sugar- coated or editorializing, however… This is when you speak your opinion. The story should only focus on those interviewed, not the reporter.
Unlike in standard news writing, contractions may be used to give an informal tone. Isnt that great!
If the journalist were writing a news story, it might begin something like this: Twenty-one teachers from across northwestern Arkansas gathered at the University of Arkansas October 12-21 to learn techniques used to teach writing. The rest of the story would continue this pattern with the most important information always taking precedence over the less important information, even if it is more interesting. This is a basic news lead. It gives the facts It gives the facts the who, what, when, where, why and how of the story.
If this were to be written as a feature story, however, the lead might look more like this: Teacher Jason Lueth cried as he composed a poem about his grandmother at the keyboard of a Macintosh computer in the basement of the University of Arkansas Arts and Sciences building recently. The purpose of this feature lead is to draw the reader in that is, to make him or her curious. What was he crying about? Why in a computer lab? I want to know more!
Remember… After the feature lead is written, move on to compose the rest of the story. A feature may take nearly any format, but should be written in third person with many first person quotes, as in any news story.
News OR Feature Broadcast stories can be both news or feature. However, The video projects you complete will m ost likely be features.
Broadcast Present information in a manner that is more conversational. May focus on events, situations, people or activities. Depends upon the audience. Who do you want to show your story to?
Being more conversational Be careful not to distract your audience. You will distract your audience if you are not grammatically correct or mispronounce names, etc. Make sure you use the words in the correct way. Some words are spelled the same way but have different meanings. Be specific when using these words. Example: Bass drum and a bass fish. It would be odd to the audience to hear in a story about drums a bass (like the fish) drum instead of a bass (base) drum.
Remember your goal is to tell a story to someone who knows less about what is happening than you do. Broadcast is less formal than print, but more formal than how we speak. Do not try to be superior (dont treat your audience as if they are dumb!)