24 Learning Features with Owen Daugherty

Owen Dougherty
Owen Daugherty

Owen Daugherty went from Ohio State’s Lantern to an internship with the Columbus Dispatch, before heading to The Hill. 

What were your biggest initial struggles/challenges with writing features?

Not overpowering the story and letting the interviewee tell the story through me, not the other way around.

How have you worked through them and what advice do you offer students to do the same?

Listen! Always listen to the interview subject. I do my best to not go into an interview with preconceived notions. Human nature is to have stereotypes and hear answers through our lens, but for feature writing, I do my best to let those go and just listen.

What are some examples of where features went well or went badly, and what did you learn?
My first feature writing experience went poorly because I tried to fit the subject’s story in the framework I had already predetermined in my head. I also had not done enough research on the topic or the subject and had not done enough reading of others’ features work to be comfortable and confident in my own writing.

What is one specific story experience where your growth in the genre showed?
I had a great experience interviewing a subject that was clearly passionate and invested in what they were talking about, which lent itself so well to a terrific feature.

Telling the story through the subject and providing the necessary context and filler made for a solid feature.

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