A GUIDE TO WRITING ONLINE FEATURES
The following guide will provide links to all the necessary information you will need to write an online feature on BUzz, as well as provide links to articles to use as inspiration & suggest tools to create multimedia elements for your story.
News Story vs Online Feature
The stylistic differences between a standard news story and an online feature:
LENGTH: An online feature usually has a much higher word count than a standard news story.
LAYOUT: Due to its length, Journalists will often think of way to break-up and section text.
EMBEDS: Online features will often contain multiple embedding elements that add extra depth to the story.
INTERACTIVE: In recent times, new organisations have been working on making their online features more interactive.
View the Advanced Styling options available in Buzz
Feature journalism is often associated with glossy magazines and newspaper weekend sections where readers are invited to spend time, relax and take pleasure in their reading. The dominant discourses of feature journalism therefore seem to contrast with the discourse of online communication as it so far has been portrayed in research on the practice of online journalism and the evolving role of the online journalist. – The shaping of an online feature journalist
The newspaper might no longer be the preferred medium for feature as new sub-genres of feature journalism continue to emerge online. – What is feature Journalism?
The New York Times debuted a new multimedia feature Thursday so beautiful it has a lot of people wondering — especially those inside the New York Times — if the mainstream media is about to forgo words and pictures for a whole lot more. – What the New York Times’s ‘Snow Fall’ Means to Online Journalism’s Future
In print, decades of design language have helped publications draw extra attention of readers. But news web design has mostly been straitjacketed in rigid templates. A few news sites are trying to break out. – The future of the feature: Breaking out of templates to build customised reading experiences.
Online Feature Examples
New York Times: Snowfall
New York Times: The Russia Left Behind
Pitchfork: Cover Story – Passion Pit
Pitchfork: Cover Story – Bat for Lashes
ESPN: The Long Strange Trip of Dock Ellis
Seattle Times: Indian Coffee
Chicago Tribune: His Saving Grace
Washington Post: The Prophets of Oakridge
Washington Post: Cycling’s Road Forward
Washington Post: Washington: A World Apart
The Verge: Cyborg America
Short of the Week: Has Hollywood Lost its Way
BBC: Salvaging the Costa Concordia
The Weather Channel: Red Alert
Our Time: Creatives
Data Vis (Maps): Maps Engine Lite
Data Vis (Maps): StoryMaps
Data Vis (Maps): CartoDB
Data Vis (Charts): Infogram
Timeline: Timeline JS
Social Media Storify
Social Media Twitter Widget
Social Media Embed Tweet
Interactive Images Thinglink
Online Feature Exercise
Using the article on left, create a standard news post on The Breaker, making sure to:
- Add a Headline (no longer than 62 characters)
- Make the opening paragraph bold
- Insert 2 headings into the article
- Format at least one quote to display as a ‘Blockquote’
- Add at least 3 hyperlinks
- Insert a ‘Featured Image’
- Assign to a ‘Category’
- Insert relevant ‘Tags’
- Write an ‘Excerpt’ (no longer than 156 characters)
- Save and preview your article
- Pick a Keyword and test this article for SEO
Now lets turn it into an Online Feature using the extra materials:
- Make the Post ‘Full Width’
- Insert the Header image
- Embed the Video in a column layout
- Insert the ‘Day in the Life’ list in a column
- Save and preview your post
Lets create some value added materials using the Data supplied:
- Create a Map using the ‘UK Fishing Ports’ data.
- Embed the Map into a Column layout.
- Create a Data Visualisation using the ‘Size of UK Fishing Fleet’ spreadsheet.
- Embed the Data Visualisation into a Column layout.
- Create a Twitter Widget for @NFFO_UK
- Embed the Twitter Widget into a Column layout.
If you get time, also have a go at:
View an example of how your post could look (you’ll need to be logged into BUzz to see this post).