News writing habits have been changing since the dawn of the Internet age. Journalists have no choice but to adapt, especially those who have spent their lives in newspapers.
While the essence of news writing and its principles will not change, how it is presented to the public is – not so much an evolution but rather redeploying old concepts in fresh roles.
We are talking here about news features. This type of writing bridges the gap between hard-hitting news and softer feature stories.
News-feature writing has been around for ages but now is the time it really must come to the fore. Only 10 years ago, people would look to newspapers as one of their primary sources of news, along with television.
Whatever happened the day before, whether it was a political rally, a tragedy or a sporting event, most people would only know about it after reading the following morning’s newspapers.
The Internet has now taken over the newspaper’s role. There are thousands of news outlets online that give you up to the minute information about anything. Events can be watched live online and forum participants could be talking about news minutes after it happens.
Its effect on newspapers has been staggering. What was once still newsworthy up to 24 hours later is now old hat because everyone has already read about it on the Internet.
Computers and other electronic platforms have stolen the hard news writing style that was once the domain of broadsheets. The answer for newspapers is to use more news-features. This type of article can still be considered an instrument of news but without the straightforward, hard-edged writing of a bulletin.
The benefits of news features are many.
News – journalists feel inadequate if they are not delivering news and news features fulfill that purpose. It is not a flowery profile or weepy feature, it is a genuine and powerful tool to tell the world what is happening.
Writing – news features employ the same structural principles used in news writing that rookies are taught when they learn how to write like a journalist. The difference is you are allowed a tad more dramatic license when putting together a news feature than you can with a news article.
Depth – writers of news features can delve deep into the story, knowing that the main news points are already out of the way. They can focus on going behind the news and giving readers a much fuller picture of the story.
Journalism is a rewarding profession and gives its exponents a wealth of news writing genres by which to test their creativity and vocabulary. However, because of the Internet, almost anyone can be a journalist because they have easy access to mass media platforms. Still, to be regarded as a true journalist, one must know the writing and ethical principles that go with the job. Fortunately, this is not difficult to do.