Creating News Features and Op-Ed

Chapter 7: Creating News Features and Op-Ed by Dennis L. Wilcox

Book: Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques – Sixth Edition

Feature Storyprovide additional background information, generate human interest, and create understanding in a more imaginative way.

Features are considered “soft news” rather than “hard news.”

Feature stories come in all shapes and sizes which all have the potential to:

  1. Provide more information to the customer
  2. Give background and context about organizations
  3. Provide behind-the-scenes perspective
  4. Give a human dimension to situations and events
  5. Generate publicity for standard products and services

The concept of publishing consumer tips and “news you can see” is referred to as service journalism.

Camera ready news releases and features already formatted in column format. Editors insert the material into the layout and prepare the page for offset printing. Camera-ready copy also is called a repro proof.

A Proposal Outline that explains why the magazine should publish the entire article, should include this: 

  • Tentative title of the article
  • Subject and theme
  • Significance. Why is the topic important? Why should readers know about it?
  • Major points.
  • Description of photos and graphics available.

Case study– frequently used in product publicity. They often tell how individual customers have benefited from a company’s product or service or how another organization has used the product or service to improve efficiency or profits.

Application story– focuses on primarily on how consumers can use the product or a service in new and innovative ways.

Research Study– about some aspects of contemporary lifestyles or a common situation in the workplace.

Backgrounders– compliance of information about an organization, a problem, a situation, an event, or a major development. It is given to media to provide a factual basis for news to be published or broadcast.

Personality profiles– in feature writing, a story that focuses on a person of public interest to stimulate reader awareness of that person and/or the organization, product, or service the person represents.

Historical Piece– is a 200-word feature distributed by Fisher Nuts title “The Humble Peanut Has History as Essential Food.”

THE LEAD: News releases usually have a summary lead that tells the basic facts in a nutshell. The name of the organization is in the lead, and readers will get the key information even if the summary is all they read.

Infographics- computer generated artwork used to display statistics in the form of tables and charts.

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