Chapter 6: Feature Writing

35 Feature article organization

The content in a feature article isn’t necessarily presented as an inverted pyramid; instead, the organization may depend on the writer’s style and the story angle. Nevertheless, all of the information in a feature article should be presented in a logical and coherent fashion that allows the reader to easily follow the narrative.

As previously stated, the nut graph follows the lead. This paragraph connects the lead to the overall story and conveys the story’s significance to the readers (Scanlan, 2003).

The nut graph comes from a commonly used formula for writing features, known as the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) formula (International Center for Journalists, 2016). The formula was named after the well-known and respected publication, which created the term “nut graph” and mastered feature news writing (Rich, 2016).

The formula consists of beginning the story with feature-style leads to grab the reader’s attention, followed by the nut graph (Scanlan, 2003). After this comes a longer body of the story that provides the usual background, facts, quotes, and so on. The formula then specifies a return to the opening focus at the end of the story using another descriptive passage or anecdote, also known as the “circle kicker” (Rich, 2016). This could be, for example, an update on what eventually happened to the main character or how the event or issue turned out. This blog post provides a detailed example of the WSJ formula.

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