Feature & Comment writing

Đăng lúc: Thứ ba - 06/06/2017 09:00

Feature or not, remember this:
- Think: why would anyone want to read this?
- 5Ws and an H
- No single sources & clear attribution
- Balance
- So what? 
* George Orwell’ rules: 6 rules for perfect prose
- Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. 
- Never use a long word where a short one will do. 
- If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. 
- Never use the passive where you can use the active. 
- Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday word equivalent. 
- Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous. 
* The intro
- This will always be the first test of readers’ interest
- Should be interesting and informative, and where possible enticing. 
- Avoiding unnecessary information, names, numbers, attribution and other clutter.
- The hardest part 
* Content
- Background. We should remind our readers of what has happened before. Some of them might have just come back from abroad or annual leave. Or Mars.
- Scale. You can’t write everything about an issue. Pick angles and focus. 
- Context. We should tell our readers what other things are going on that influence or are influenced by the thing we are writing about. 
* Conclusion
- Short and brief
- Recap the main points of your piece
- Close-ended or open-ended
- Remember IELTS essay?
* Feature writing
- What is a “feature”?
+ NOT an opinion
+ Is an attempt to look dispassionately, at the evidence and provide some kind of answer to a topical question.
- News makes newspapers newspaper, features make it well-respected.
- Features in Vietnam’s media: Thời báo Kinh tế Sài Gòn (kinh tế), Tuổi trẻ (chính trị-xã hội), Tuần Việt Nam (chính trị-xã hội).
* Key ingredients
- Define the KEY QUESTION it is trying to answer (Bad question = bad feature) 
- It has a  STRUCTURE: and it’s easy to flow. 
- It has FOCUSED CONTENT. But include what is necessary. Remember you write for someone from Mars. 
- It has a GRIPPING INTRO. You have only one chance to draw in readers.  Do whatever allowed. 
- It has a readable STYLE. Clear. Simple. Fresh and original.
- It has a PAYOFF that feels like an ending. Question arisen must be answered. 
* Remember:
- No opinion
- Use reason only
- Back up by creditable sources and evidence 
* Comment writing
- It IS a reasoned argument designed to convince the reader to hold a particular opinion or support a particular course of action.
- It is NOT a chance for you to ride a hobby-horse, let off steam about an issue that is irking you, or vent all your prejudices.
- How is it different from news and features?
- The news story tells you what happened, and placed the event in context.
- The feature examined the issues at stake.
- The Comment is the newspaper, or magazine’s conclusion as to what all that means. 
- The point of view is to create a level for the newspaper
* How to write it?
- Give contexts. Comments must be a stand-alone piece.
- Reviewing other views, stating why those are wrong (IELTS test, anyone?)
does NOT need such a strong, or original, or provocative intro as the feature.
- BUILD THE CASE in a steady, methodical way
- Presenting the EVIDENCE without which your Comment will convince nobody.
- You can’t get away with a week ending. Put all your energy on that. 
* What is the key?
- Personality
- New thinking
- New insight. 
* Personal views
- Keep it short and readable. Preferably less than 800 words.
- Break a paragraph after 3-4 sentences (BBC style).
- Well-structured.
- Link up a wide range of issues and knowledge.
- Make sense of the world, not just describe it. 
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