Year 2- Feature Writing

What is a feature?

A feature is a longer piece of writing than a news story. It is everything that is not a news article. Features come in many different types and are widely used in magazines, newspapers and online.

A feature will often cover an issue in greater depth than a news story would do; or it might look at an ongoing story from a different angle.

News Story v Feature

Infographic explaining differences between news stories and features

An infographic explaining differences between news stories and features

A feature is also thematic, it needs to be shaped around a central theme. It needs to be interesting and finely focused. A feature will have an element of topicality, a Peg which is relevant and up to date e.g. the birth /death of someone famous, book/film launch etc.

Features are not meant to deliver the news first hand. Their function is to humanise, to add colour, to educate, to entertain, to illuminate. They often recap major news previously reported.

Features often:

  • profile people who make the news
  • explain events that move or shape the news
  • analyse what is happening in the world, nation or community
  • teach an audience how to do something
  • suggest better ways to live
  • examine trends
  • entertain

Types of feature

Personality profiles– bring an audience closer to a person in or out of the news. Anyone who’s interesting and newsworthy. Behind-the scenes look, warts and all.

News feature a feature article that focuses on a topic of interest in the news. Tend to focus on the people in the stories. e.g. heart disease in the news would focus on facts and stats whereas in a feature maybe come from individual perspective, their struggles etc.

Spot feature focus on breaking news events. Sidebar to main news focusing on certain aspects of the event.

Human interest stories– shows a subject’s oddity or practical, emotional or entertainment value.

Trend stories– examines people, things or organisations that are having an impact on society. What’s new, fresh and exciting. Light, quick, easy to read, capturing the spirit of whatever new trend is being discussed.

In-depth or Live-In– through extensive research and interviews provide a detailed account of a particular place and associated people…e.g. homeless shelters, camps, hospitals, prisons etc.

Backgrounder/analysis piece adds meaning to current issues in the news by explaining them further. Bring an audience up to date explaining how a country, organisation, person happens to be where it is now.

 

 

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Evaluation of news story

To find a newsworthy story in a small town like Hornsea is not always easy but the simplest way to go about it is by talking to people. I used to work at the local Tesco which is a great place to find out about what’s happening. There was an advert posted there about the proposed beach clean-ups so I decided to look into it. An ex-colleague directed me to the Facebook page and told me about Tesco’s participation in the project.

The story may not be breaking news headlines but it coincided well with Mark Zuckerberg’s latest announcements of a new mission for Facebook. I think that it highlights the need for positive community support and action. It is a story of local relevance which touches on a global issue.

The story would be published by an East Coast newspaper such as the ‘Bridlington Free Press’ but could also be part of a story on similar events throughout the UK or as an example of the importance of Facebook communities.

 

Evaluation of council story

In order to find material for my council story I visited the Hornsea Town Council web page. As well as providing information on local events and attractions it is an invaluable source to discover future plans and proposals.

The redevelopment of the seafront in Hornsea has been a long, on-going, contentious issue so when I saw that this was on the agenda for the April council meeting I was eager to attend. The meeting was somewhat tedious but I got chance to speak to Hornsea Councillor, Barbara Jefferson, about the proposed plans for South Promenade.

I did further research on-line to enable me to write the article. It would be suited for a publication such as the ‘Hull Daily Mail’ or any of the East Coast newspaper publications. Although it is particularly relevant to the residents of Hornsea the story includes reference to a nationwide government incentive which could appeal to a wider audience.

£3.77 million funding secured for Hornsea seafront regeneration.

Artist_s impression of redevelopment plans for Hornsea South Promenade

Artist’s impression of the redevelopment plans for Hornsea South Parade

The Department for Communities and Local Governments (DCLG)  has  awarded £3.77 million of Coast Communities funding towards plans for the regeneration of Hornsea South Promenade.

The money will fund a large part of a £4.6 million project to rejuvenate Hornsea South Promenade, incorporating the expansion of the leisure boat compound, upgrades to car parking and a new all year round café, retail space and visitor hub.

The proposals include improving the available facilities currently used by Hornsea Inshore Rescue, the Hornsea Sea Angling Club and local fisherman. As well as securing the future of the fishing industry in Hornsea the plans make provision for leisure facilities. There will be a safer environment for users and visitors and additional berths for leisure craft will be provided.

Councillor Jane Evison, of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “This is excellent news for the town of Hornsea and demonstrates the council’s commitment to regenerating our coastal communities for the benefit of both residents and visitors.”

She added: “When complete, this scheme will strengthen Hornsea’s reputation as a must-visit tourist destination.”

The plans, which received permission in 2016, were developed alongside the Hornsea Area Regeneration Partnership and the existing users of the site. They were funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and are being finalised.

Earlier this year Hornsea joined a national network of Coastal Community Teams. This is part of a government incentive to revive England’s seaside towns. Over 100 local teams have been set up to help coordinate regeneration projects.

The town received £10,000 to develop funding plans for infrastructure investments and to pilot new events.

The CCT will draw on a broad range of expertise to help develop the plan to improve the offer of Hornsea’s seafront by incorporating sport, play and artistic activities along the promenade and green spaces.

Hornsea joins Withernsea, Goole and Bridlington, who have CCTs.

Councillor Barbara Jefferson, chairman of the Hornsea Area Regeneration Partnership (HARP), said: “The CCT will help develop and deliver key parts of the town’s regeneration efforts and the HARP Board looks forward to working with its volunteers, local businesses and council representatives.

“Hornsea is one of the Holderness Coast’s most vibrant towns and is a great place for residents to live in and for visitors to come and see. The CCT will help deliver on the priorities of local people as well as develop the tourism offer.”

 

Community clean-up campaign to rid Hornsea beach of litter.

H Beach litter pick up

People in Hornsea are being invited to take part in a mass community clean-up of the town’s beaches this summer.

The popular beach spot is a favourite for tourists and residents, particularly in the summer months. But with the increase in visitor numbers there is also an increase in the quantity of litter being left strewn on the beach.

A group of residents are planning to tackle the issue head-on, with organised cleans-ups to take place on Sunday July 16th and Wednesday July 25th.

Mum of two Clare Harris, who planned the events, said, “I came to live in Hornsea five years ago and one of the first things that struck me was that the beach and sea-front were really clean. I’d like to keep it that way, it is everybody’s responsibility.”

Clare has organised the events on Facebook. She has set up a community page which coincides well with Zuckerberg’s recent unveiling of Facebook’s updated purpose: The importance of connecting people through “meaningful communities online which can also translate to the physical world”.

Clare summed this up: “Hopefully there can be a nice social side to these events as well because we are bringing the community together. I see a lot of people moaning online about the litter, so rather than just moaning I think we should do something positive about it.” Clare hopes the idea will catch on and become a regular activity.

Her incentive has had an extremely positive response, with many pledging to take part in the events. Since putting the word out about the clean-up she has been offered support from Tesco who will donate bottled water, bin bags and gloves. The town council will help by providing litter pickers and equipment. They have also assured the disposal of the collected rubbish.

Members of the Hornsea Inshore Rescue team have promised to join the litter clearing group. Chairman, Sue Hickson-Moray said, ” We think this is a great idea and we look forward to getting involved. It will help to make Hornsea nicer for those who live here. Maybe it will make the people who drop litter  feel guilty with all of these good people getting together to clear it up.”

Recent surveys have shown that there are almost 160 plastic bottles for every mile of UK shoreline and that tackling littering is serious business but that doesn’t mean that beach clean-ups can’t be fun.

 

Debris left from a BBQ on Hornsea beach and plastic washed up on the shore.

Press releases

Press releases are sent by the company, theatre, events /sports club to get their story out there. Some ponts to remember are :

  • do not use on face value
  • can be biased as they have their own agenda, read the release with a critical eye
  • check facts and figures and also names and spelling
  • don’t just use the quotations
  • should be used as a source or starting point
  • look at original reports
  • make the story your own
  • follow up, interview those involved, get in touch with person who wrote the press release
  • find authority figure on the subject
  • is it newsworthy? If it’s purely promotional forget it.
  • ask the Editor how much can be used
  • could you put a local angle on a national press release
  • is there a human element
  • what’s missing?
  • is it balanced, is it true, where did it come from?

Here is an example of a press release for Hull City of Culture 2017 :

PRESS RELEASE

FLYING HIGH:

HULL TO BE TOUCHED BY ANGELS IN SPECTACULAR AERIAL SHOW!

Hull 2017 and the Yorkshire Festival will bring Gratte Ciel’s ‘Place des Anges’ to the city, marking the finale of Yorkshire Festival and the opening of Amy Johnson Festival

An aerial spectacle that has wowed crowds in locations across the globe will be flying into Hull this summer.

‘Place des Anges’ will take place in the skies above the city centre this July. The show  will provide a jaw-dropping contribution to both the finale of Welcome to Yorkshire’s Yorkshire Festival (June 16 – 3 July) and an extraordinary opening to Amy Johnson Festival, which begins in Hull on Friday July 1.

The stunning display on Saturday July 2 will feature aerial performers ‘flying’ across the night sky on invisible zip lines, transforming the area above Hull College in Queens  Gardens into ‘Angels’ Place’.

Thousands of free tickets are available for the show – which has previously been  performed in in Australia, South Africa and London – to witness the angels appear at nightfall, as they gradually emerge in the sky above the college.

The show will culminate in an extraordinary display of feather fireworks, creating an enormous, feather ‘blizzard’ to transform the ground below.

Place des Anges is a free, ticketed event. Those wishing to register interest for the event should visit hull2017.co.uk/placedesanges to be the first to find out how to secure a free ticket when they are released in June.

Martin Green, CEO and director of Hull 2017, said: “I am so excited to be presenting the extraordinary Place des Anges as the finale of the Yorkshire Festival and to open the Amy Johnson Festival. Place des Anges is a breath-taking piece of aerial spectacle that creates  a real sense of magic and wonder. It will appeal to people of all ages, and has to be seen to be believed.

“This event is just one of many in an incredible line-up of cultural events this summer. I’m expecting demand for the free tickets to be extremely high as we prepare to stage the nations’ cultural festival in 2017.”

Yorkshire Festival’s Artistic Director, Matt Burman, said: “We are thrilled to be presenting Place des Anges as part of the epic, bold and game-changing Yorkshire Festival 2016. Expect the unexpected with world-class performances, UK and world premieres and exclusives, and even an attempt to break a world record. The Festival will reach the  whole of our great, beautiful county across 18 days this June and July. Make sure you come and be part of it!”

Place des Anges also marks the beginning of the new Amy Johnson Festival. From July 1  to September 6, the festival will celebrate the life, achievements and legacy of one of Hull’s most famous daughters, through an ambitious international programme of the arts and engineering sciences, appealing to all interests and ages.

Rick Welton, director of Amy Johnson Festival, said: “Place des Anges is a fabulous way to launch the festival. It will be a fantastic curtain-raiser for two months of celebration when, in collaboration with the 2017 team, we’ll be telling the world about the remarkable life of Hull’s aviation heroine.”

-ENDS-

For further information please contact: Laura O’Donnell at Autumn – laura@autumncomms.com / 07800 890324

Images: Caption details

NOTES TO EDITORS

About Place des Anges

Place des Anges is created and performed by French theatre producers Gratte Ciel. It was previously performed in London’s Piccadilly Circus on behalf of the Mayor of London and the London 2012 Festival. It has also appeared in Perth, Australia; Durban, South Africa; Marseilles, France; Barcelona, Spain.

About Hull UK City of Culture 2017

Hull secured the title of UK City of Culture 2017 in November 2013. Hull is only the second city to hold the title, and the first in England. The vision of the Hull 2017 Culture Company, the delivery organisation of the project, is “to deliver 365 days of transformative culture in 2017 through a range of diverse and high-profile events and projects”. Following on from the Olympics and Paralympics, Commonwealth Games and the Tour de France in Yorkshire, Hull 2017 is the next major event in the nation’s cultural calendar.

The Culture Company is an independent organisation with charitable status, funded both publicly and privately. It has an £18m funding target, with key contributions coming from: Principal Partners

– Arts Council England, BBC, Hull City Council, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Yorkshire Water, KWL, KCOM the University of Hull and Spirit of 2012; Major Partners – Sewell Group, BP, the British Council and Wykeland Group.

Hull 2017’s International Partners are: Aarhus, Denmark, European Capital of Culture 2017; Reykjavik, Iceland; Rotterdam, The Netherlands; and Freetown, Sierra Leone (twinned with Hull).

Useful links for background information on Hull, the UK City of Culture bid and the UK City of Culture programme:

  1. hull2017.co.uk
  2. visithullandeastyorkshire.com
  3. https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/supporting-vibrant-and-sustainable-arts-and- culture/supporting-pages/uk-city-of-culture-programm

About Yorkshire Festival 2016

  • Yorkshire Festival 2016 runs from June 16 – 3 July with preview events around the Tour de Yorkshire weekend at the end of April
  • Yorkshire Festival is backed by Welcome to Yorkshire with government funding through the Arts Council England as part of the Northern Powerhouse initiative
  • Yorkshire Festival will present hundreds of performances all over the county

About Amy Johnson Festival

2016 is the 75th anniversary of the death of Amy Johnson, Hull’s flying heroine. Born in 1903, Amy Johnson CBE was one of the most influential and inspirational women of the twentieth century. She was the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia and set a string of other records throughout her career. During the 1920s and 1930s aviation was dominated by the rich and famous and most female pilots were titled women such as Lady Heath, the Duchess of Bedford and Lady Bailey. But Amy was the first woman to gain a ground engineer’s ‘C’ licence and, whilst working a secretary, she took flying lessons. In 1929 she was awarded her pilot’s licence and just a year later set off solo for Australia!

Amy Johnson Festival will mark this anniversary and celebrate Amy’s life, achievements and legacy with an ambitious programme of the arts and engineering sciences appealing to all interests and ages.

The festival begins on July 1 and runs throughout the summer to September 6. Although centred on Hull, the festival will also see activity in Sewerby Hall, Bridlington and at other key locations in Amy’s life.

The aims of Amy Johnson Festival are:

  • To raise awareness of Amy Johnson’s achievements as an aviator, as an engineer and as a woman of her time
  • To provide opportunities for new art to be created, inspired by Amy and the wider festival themes
  • To encourage young women to consider engineering and the sciences as career choices through the presentation of positive role models and creative projects which explore technical, digital or mechanical ideas and applications
  • To introduce new audiences to great art and cultural events
  • To help set the scene for Hull UK City of Culture 2017

Full programme information for the festival will be announced in early May.

News Story, Brendon Smurthwaite

KCOM’s Community Coordinator, Brendon Smurthwaite, visits Hull College.

Brendon Smurthwaite took time out of his busy schedule as Community Coordinator for Kingston Communications, Hull, to speak to Journalist students at Hull College on Monday, 27th February.

Brendon is probably best known for his role as Press Officer for Hull Kingston Rovers Rugby League Club. He started his career as a Trainee Journalist at the Hull Daily Mail, then went on to spend 10 years at Hull City as the club’s Press Officer before joining Hull KR as Media Manager in 2011.

The session commenced with Smurthwaite recalling his early career as a Sports Journalist, working on a magazine in Sheffield. He then began working as Senior Press Officer for Hull City AFC in 2001. This was “the beginning of  the dot-com era” but preceding the creation of a website, he had a leading role in the production of 52 issues of ‘City’ magazine for Hull City fans.

His advice to budding journalists was to get as much work experience as possible. To go out there and knock on doors. He  also stressed the importance of  getting contacts, stating that it is more often not what, but who you know.

After a succesful career, spanning nearly two decades, in Sports Journalism he left Hull KR in 2015 to take up a very different role with KCOM. However, he points to “transferable skills”. Similarities with his media based position include communication, dealing with people and marketing skills. In his previous role he acted as a liaison for the club.

He spoke about some of his work on the ‘ KC in the Community ‘ programme which gives a lot to local charities, community groups, sports clubs and businesses. Recently, they donated 50 recycled mobile phones to  Preston Road Women’s Centre for the charity’s use. He has also visited many schools and colleges to talk about his experiences and views on the ‘world of work’.

Brendon considers himself to have been very ‘lucky’ in his career. He has embraced his work as Community Coordinator in order “to give something back” after all “why wouldn’t you”.