Explore the role of a feature writer and the key ingredients to use in your own writing to create a stand-out feature article.

Feature Writing
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • 100% online

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  • Included in an ExpertTrack

    Course 3 of 3
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Learn how to write a feature article

This four-week course will help you explore the feature landscape to help you understand the crucial difference between a news story and a feature.

You’ll learn how feature writers get their ideas as you discover the importance of research and valuable sources. With this understanding, you’ll put what you have learned into practice and complete an exercise to get the ideas flowing for your own feature.

Explore the vital ingredients for first-class feature articles

Delving into the key components of a feature article, you’ll learn the best techniques for interviewing people to help take your ideas and turn them into long-form pieces.

You’ll think about the value of originality and some of the ethical dilemmas you could face as a feature writer.

You’ll also examine different types of features to understand their common principles before being guided through a practical exercise to help you learn key structural tips.

Discover the art of writing an opinion piece

Finally, you’ll explore the opinionated side of journalism – reviews, opinion columns, and news-based blogs.

Having already explored the value of impartiality in journalism, you’ll understand the ethical and legal difficulties you could face when producing opinion pieces.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    Feature writing

    • Welcome to feature writing

      Let’s look at what’s coming up in this course, which is designed to get you thinking about fascinating features - what they are, how they are made and how to come up with ideas for your own.

    • What is a feature?

      Let’s break down what makes something a feature in journalism and see which ones you have enjoyed.

    • Where do features appear?

      Let’s explore the features landscape and think about where they appear. We will also hear from an experienced magazine editor and feature writer about their passion for features.

    • Where do you get your ideas from?

      The ideas phase is the first step in creating a fascinating feature – but where do journalists get their ideas? In this section, we will look at this and at ways of getting our own brains buzzing.

    • Weekly wrap up

      Let’s recap what we’ve covered in this first week of the course.

  • Week 2

    Vital ingredients for feature writing

    • Welcome to Week 2

      Let’s find out what is coming up in this, the second week of the course.

    • From ideas to research

      Let’s explore how to lift your idea off the page, check it out and see if it has the potential to be transformed into a feature.

    • Pitch an idea for a feature

      Bring all your imagination and information together to create a convincing ‘pitch’ for the feature idea you have come up with – or for a fresh one. This task is part of a peer graded assignment with clear guidelines to help you.

    • Planning a longer interview

      Some features are biographical and are based on one big (‘long-form’) interview. Others include several voices or interviewees. In-depth interviews need good preparation – which is what the next steps are all about.

    • Preparing for your own long-form interview

      Good planning and preparation are vital before a big interview, on which many features are based. Here are some tips to help you prepare, plus some warnings about situations or ethical dilemmas a journalist might face.

    • Weekly wrap up

      Let’s recap on what we’ve covered in this week of the course and think about what’s coming up next.

  • Week 3

    Constructing a feature

    • Introduction to Week 3

      Let’s take a look at what’s coming up in the world of features for us this week.

    • How to construct a feature

      Planning how you want your feature to be takes time and involves analysing and pulling various elements together. Thinking time and picking the best quotes are key steps in this process and that’s what we will cover here.

    • Approaches to feature structure

      Let’s explore some different approaches to feature-writing, including narrative-style and people-centred. We will also listen to a radio feature or two and you will think about your favourite kinds of features.

    • Create an 'intro' to a feature

      It’s time to get creative and write an intro for a feature - real or imagined - to draw readers in and make sure they read on. You will be able to display your work on a padlet ‘wall’ where you can read others’ work too.

    • Weekly wrap up

      Let’s reflect on what we’ve covered in this week of the course.

  • Week 4

    Opinion columns, blogs and reviews

    • Introduction to Week 4

      Let’s get in the mood to write - and find out what’s coming up this week.

    • Shades of opinion or 'ranting reporters'?

      Let's think about the places journalistic opinions come out and your experiences of and reactions to this.

    • What makes a good opinion column?

      Let’s think about what makes an effective opinion column and hear from a sub editor working in this field. First, let’s recap on how a careful choice of words is needed to keep personal opinions out of general news stories.

    • Writing riveting reviews

      Let’s explore another area of journalism where opinions are essential - reviews. We will think about what makes a good review and how to approach writing one.

    • Ethical and legal dilemmas or problems when giving opinions

      What are some of the possible legal or ethical issues which come with writing reviews or opinion columns? Let’s take a look.

    • Write a review, opinion column or 'newsy blog'

      Put your ideas and what you’ve learned into practice by creating your own ‘newsy blog’, opinion column or review. Let your opinions and writing skills out on any topic which interests you in this Peer Grade Assignment.

    • End of Course 3

      It’s time to wrap up this course by recapping some of what you’ve learned and thinking about what other resources or paths are available for those wanting to go further in their journalism journey.

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Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore features and where they appear
  • Discuss idea-generation
  • Explain how to prepare to interview people for features
  • Describe feature construction, including narrative storytelling
  • Investigate ideas for features
  • Produce a pitch for a feature idea
  • Explore opinion columns, reviews and blogs

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for aspiring writers or journalists with an interest in media reporting.

Who developed the course?

The University of Kent

The University of Kent, the UK’s European university, is one of the country’s most dynamic universities. Established in 1965, it now has 19,850 students studying at its various campuses.

About this ExpertTrack

Develop skills to produce good journalism in a digital era and learn tips about how to consume news with a better understanding.

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