Personality sketch or profile Some writers make a distinction -between the personality sketch and the profile. The sketch attempts to convey a sense of the total person, with emphasis on overall achievements, lifestyle and philosophy. The profile, usually a magazine piece, now depends a great deal on photographs to tell the story. Often it examines only one or two aspects of the person in depth, because profiles are generally based on news pegs. Entertainment sections of newspapers and magazines use personality frequently. Television programmed such as Entertainment Tonelessly heavily on them as well.
These often zero in on the little-known, the odd or unusual .aspects of the story subject. While the emphasis is on informing or educating the audience, the information presented is not necessarily timely or immediate. Such stories are popular, for they provide the audience with information to tuck away for future reference. Like the news feature, informative features are often packaged with a main news story.
Holidays are often the occasion for the appearance of these pieces. Each year copy is generated about Aids, Thanksgiving. Likewise, national events such as Labour Day, Memorial Day, the celebration of statehood, the anniversary of the founding of a major business, a school or an organization also inspire historical features. The writer’s prime concern should be to make the historical chronicle relevant to a contemporary public.
Many personal-experience features recount the accomplishments of an individual or group. The disabled Vietnam veteran who rolls across the state in wheelchair to raise funds for charity, the junior high school student who’ spells prestidigitation correctly and wins the county spelling bee and the chance to go on to the state competition these are examples of stories which, though not timely, capture audience interest.
Descriptive features center on places the public can visit and events they can take part in or enjoy as spectators. Almost every community has tourist spots, historic buildings or sites, recreational areas, pageants, festivals, unusual restaurants. Such stories are cyclic. They can be written and rewritten almost every year, for there’s always a new audience looking for places to go and things to do or a vicarious experience if they can’t go and do. The purpose of these features is to provide specific facts: about the weather, costs, special events and the like. They’re usually found in the travel and entertainment sections of newspaper and magazines and in the feature segments of radio and TV programs.
These are popular because people have more leisure time, want to save money, and want to experience the thrill of creative work. Subjects such as flower arranging, building patio furniture, improving your golf or tennis game, buying at discount stores, using home computers, installing solar systems–all have appeal. You are limited in how-to articles only by your own limitations in understanding the subject, and there are usually authorities around who can provide the technical expertise. The secret to a successful how-to feature is in its reward for the Audience.
A project or a suggestion that’s too complicated, too expensive or too time-consuming is likely to lose the audience.
For better generic label, stories that don’t fit any speCific category are called enterprise features. “This and that” stories can be written about the everyday occurrences in our lives. You look at a Carly common situation but ask “Why?” and a story results. As you cook breakfast you may wonder why some people call the utensil a skillet and others refer to it as a frying pan. “You’re on the way to a feature about regional slang. Ideas can develop from something you read or heard on radio or TV, or picked up in classes or casual conversations. The list is as long as your curiosity. A classmate might mention having “math phobia.” Is that real? When you find something people are talking about and would like to know more about, you have a feature. Then it’s a matter of finding sources who can talk with some knowledge about the subject.