The article is a 500-750 word essay that explores the history and/or significance of a certain food, utensil, cooking method, food trend, etc. You really have a wide open field of possible topics. Your audience is the readers of the publication to which you address the query letter (see handout for “Query Letter Basics”). We will discuss the structure of the query letter.
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You want to find a topic that is both unique and researchable. Perhaps you can find your own original perspective to a well known topic or find a unique combination of ideas. (For example, the relationship between music and food, from the jukebox to the piano bar; more focus would be needed given the word limit). You will be required to conduct research and integrate your sources.
Be sure to offer a clear thesis, remembering that this is an essay, not just a list of random findings. (“Today, music continues to surface in the world of food in both traditional and unique ways.”) Also, remember that you can really create your own article as it does not just have to be a straight historical piece or scientific one. Articles can be combinations of history and personal narrative, for instance. Avoid the mindset of writing a strict “research paper.” See the BFW examples that we will read and discuss.
Be sure to follow the AP guide for style concerns and to completely and properly give credit to the sources that you use. Be careful of plagiarism. Any plagiarism will result in a grade of 0 for the assignment. Just as in most periodicals, we will not use parenthetical documentation. Instead, we will give direct credit in our sentences. (For instance: “According to author Frank Bruni” or “The blog Smitten Kitchen provides a very creative kale recipe” ). Also, you may create your own article format using such software as Microsoft Publisher and add pictures/photographs as well.
- Keep in mind that the purpose of a feature article is to add depth and color to the news. For example, a magazine that prints a story about a new type of hearing aid in one issue may also run a feature about how this technology has changed the life of a hearing-impaired child.
- Remember that a feature does not usually follow the inverted pyramid structure of the typical news story. A feature article is written using storytelling techniques that grab the reader’s attention instead of simply providing facts.
- Use quotes and anecdotes to add color to your story. To get the best quotes, try to conduct your interviews in person whenever possible.
- Incorporate details that use all five senses. Describe how things look, feel, taste, touch, and sound to make the reader believe he or she is actually part of the story. (Courtesy of D. Hinders)
- Don’t include all of your research material. Reporters often feel obligated to include quotes from everyone they’ve interviewed and statistics from every secondary source they’ve used when researching the article. However, the best features only make use of material that is interesting and relevant.
- Although feature writers can be a bit more creative when structuring their articles, it’s still important to get the facts right. Don’t forget that your work is supposed to be nonfiction.
- the work will be going to be Turnitin