News articles and features can be both very similar, and very different to one another. News stories often all follow the same basic formula, including the renowned 5 W’s and a H: who, what, where, when, why and how (Whittaker, 2008). A feature, can be very similar to this, simply expanding on the why aspect of the article, whether that is, for example, through research into the backstory, or looking back retrospectively at an old news story. However, a feature could be the complete opposite of a news article; an opinion piece, like a column or a review.
A main difference between the two article types, is its complexity. A news story aims to keep it short and sweet, with sense of “speed and urgency to it” (Featherstone, Pape, 2006, p.59), whereas a feature wants to be detailed, and wants to read with a flow, like a narrative story.
The peg in news stories and features in another key differences. Where the peg of a news story wants to be the news itself, and needs to be within the opening paragraph to the piece, the peg for a feature can become apparent far further into the piece, and can come from any chosen angle (Featherstone, Pape, 2006).
The person and tense that the two articles are written in also differ. News stories should always be written in third person – it needs to remain objective and purely fact-based, and should also be written in past tense. However, a feature can be written in either third or first person, depending on the type of feature being written, and can be written in either present and past tenses (Featherstone, Pape, 2006).
Whittaker, J. (2008) Magazine Production. Oxon: Routledge.
Featherstone, S. Pape, S. (2006) Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction. Sage.