Unlike news stories which are dictated by strict style guidelines and time and space considerations a feature article is more flexibile. Having an increased number of options makes a draft plan essential to the creative process. Features may inform, entertain, persuade or amuse. A feature article goes beyond the factual brief of news and broadens the scope of the subject – features “offer an opportunity to tell the story behind the story.” This places responsibility on the writer to determine what the “story behind the story” is, why it’s worth telling and how best to tell it. Approaching the topic of the effect of new communications technologies on youth culture in the United Kingdom there are numerous possible angles. The first job of the writer is to decide which one to choose and where to pitch the idea.
A feature’s tone and content can vary widely depending on the target market. For example, an analysis of new communications technologies for a mobile phone trade magazine would be very different from one written for a pop culture magazine. For the purpose of this plan the target is a broadsheet newspaper, so the article will be addressed to a general audience who know some information about youth culture and technology, but who may not have considered the impact of one on the other. The first question to ask, and answer, is why will they care? The theme of this feature takes a cultural analysis perspective. In social discourse “language is linked with practice, truth is constructed, and power exercised,” The importance of new communications technologies on youth culture is that the truths they construct and the power they exercise will become a part of the cultural landscape as they grow up.
A focused target and robust theme are the essential building blocks of a feature. Next comes research. In this case, define the subject (does “youth” mean 14-18 years old? 16-20?) and then focus on getting the raw data: information on the types of new technology,...
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