Chapter 7: Creating News Features and Op-ed
For starters, the major difference between a regular news release and feature story is that news releases tend to just stick to the basics whereas feature stories go a lot further. Feature stories provide: additional background information, create more human interest and appeal and have the ability to produce understanding in a imaginative way. Writing feature stories definitely appeals to me a lot more than writing a news release. I have always been on the creative side and don’t like things that can be perceived as boring. My brain has never been the best at thinking logically and analytically when it comes to expressing ideas, more often than not I rely heavily on my intuition and creativity. Although feature stories appear to be more “fluff” news, they still provide the audience with facts.
It is essential that all feature stories have the potential to do the following:
- Provide more information to the consumer
- Give background and context about organizations
- Provide behind-the-scenes perspective
- Give a human dimension to situations and events
- Generate publicity for standard products and services
Because of my aspiration to be a publicist upon graduating college, learning about what a feature story is interesting to me. As a publicist, I will have to possess the ability to create entertaining stories about my clients to boost thier public appeal. Although it will probably take a while for me to have the opportunity to represent people and manage thier image to the public, I will still be able to polish my skills in feature stories at a lot of other PR jobs.
According to Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques 6th ed. by Dennis Wilcox, An op-ed is an article that presents a variety of views on current news events, governmental policies, pending legislation, and social issues. Op-ed’s are a great tool for reaching the “influentials” of a community.
A few tips for writing an effective op-ed are:
- Focus on one central idea or theme
- 400-750 word articles are preferred by daily newspapers
- Never deviate from your principal point
- Use short, declarative sentences
- Avoid using passive tense, active verbs are more powerful
- Never use “I”