Most newspaper articles break down into two categories:
- News articles
- Feature articles
You will also find opinion pieces, like editorials and book and movie reviews. But this lesson deals strictly with news and feature articles.
Here's how you can tell the difference between a news story and a feature story.
- News articles cover the basics of current events. They answer the questions: who, what, where, how, and when?
- Feature articles are longer and more in depth than regular news articles. They cover one subject from multiple angles and are written in a more creative, entertaining format. Although a news story can be creative and entertaining, too. Check out the examples below.
It is important to remember that both news and features demand the same level of research and reporting.
Read examples of news and feature articles from the Scholastic Kids Press Corps. Read them all, then write your own articles modeled after them.
The Basic Story Outline
The best way to structure a newspaper article is to first write an outline. Review your research and notes. Then jot down ideas for the following six sections. Remember, this is just a foundation upon which to build your story.
I. Lead sentence
Grab and hook your reader right away.
Which facts and figures will ground your story? You have to tell your readers where and when this story is happening.
III. Opening quotation
What will give the reader a sense of the people involved and what they are thinking?
IV. Main body
What is at the heart of your story?
V. Closing quotation
Find something that sums the article up in a few words.
VI. Conclusion (optional—the closing quote may do the job)
What is a memorable way to end your story? The end quote is a good way to sum things up. That doesn’t always work. If you are quoting more than one person with different points of view in your story, you cannot end with a quote from just one of them. Giving one of your interviewees the last word can tilt the story in their favor. In this age of the Internet, you can also end your story with a link to more information or even your own behind-the-scenes blog post.
Now It’s Your Turn
STEP 1: Read an article from the Scholastic Kids Press Corps and fill in the following blanks:
What is the…?
Remember, not ALL of these elements may be represented in the story, or even in one place.
STEP 2: Now, using your research and notes, write an outline for your own article.
Remember, your first version of a story is a first draft, not a finished article. Here a few good tips for turning in a quality story to your editor/teacher.
- Read the story at least one time for comprehension. You want to make sure your writing tells a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Also, check to make sure you have at least two good quotes in it if at all possible.
- Go back over your draft to check for spelling and punctuation errors.
- Now, read it out loud. This will help you catch any awkward phrases, or sentences that don’t sound right.
- Once your piece is polished, turn it in to your editor. Be sure you have a slug or headline (which tells the subject of the story), a date, and your byline.
ASNE Lesson Plans for Feature Writing
Feature Writing Lesson – Day One
Feature Writing PowerPoint – Day One
Feature Story Prompter
Feature Writing Lesson – Day Two
Feature Writing PowerPoint – Day Two
Feature Story Planner
Other Lesson Plans
- Feature Writing: Where do I begin? Writing an effective feature story
A unit that explores the writing of the feature story in-depth and looks at the different types of feature stories — profiles, backgrounders, etc. Students write a draft and a final paper as part of the unit.
How to teach students to use all five senses to gather detail for a feature story.
- Basic Feature Interviewing
Teaching student reporters to develop skills to interview for details, anecdotes and quotes for feature stories.
- Finding Compelling Stories in your Community
Teach your students to find compelling stories in their community.
- Generating Feature Ideas
Recognizing a feature story isn’t the same as coming up with one. This lesson helps students brainstorm ideas based on the news.
- Feature Writing: Finding Significance in the Lives Around You
The goal of this project is to expose students to nonfiction that reports emotional experience and transcends the conventions of news writing. Students will report and write their own features.