feature story

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a newspaper or magazine article or report of a person, event, an aspect of a major event, or the like, often having a personal slant and written in an individual style.Compare follow-up (def. 3b), hard news, news story.
the main or most prominent story in a magazine.
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Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.
Also called feature.

Origin of feature story

First recorded in 1910–15

Words nearby feature story

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is a feature story?

A feature story is a factual story that is not hard news but is instead a more personal report about a person, event, or aspect of a major event. Feature stories typically appear as articles in newspapers, magazines, and other publications, but they are also frequently featured in other media, such as TV, radio, and podcasts.

Feature stories are distinguished from hard news stories, which are straightforward, factual accounts of important happenings or events—just the facts. Feature stories often involve elements of hard news, but they are intended to give readers more descriptions and details.

Feature stories are often just called features. One common type of feature story is a human-interest story. Much less commonly, the term feature story refers to the main or featured article of a publication.

Feature stories provide readers with information that they might not need to know but that they (hopefully) want to know. Perhaps the most common examples of feature stories are profiles of notable figures or average people, but there are many kinds.

Why are feature stories important in the news?

Feature stories aren’t (or shouldn’t be) any less accurate than hard news—all the facts should be true. Feature stories use a lot of the same journalistic methods to gather and present information, such as the so-called five Ws: who, what, where, when, and why (and their sidekicks how and so what). Features tend to be more descriptive and read like narratives, with a beginning, middle, and end, and they often include some kind of dialogue.

Feature stories can be about almost anything and can take almost unlimited forms. But they are always (or should be) interesting in some way to the reader, especially by answering questions that go beyond the basic facts. One of the most common, the profile, answers the question of what someone’s life is like, or what a famous person is really like. Some features explain how something happens, like how oat milk is made. Consumer features focus on a specific aspect of the marketplace, like how to pay less for college textbooks. Some features answer the question of how life has changed—for one person or for everyone—since a major event such as a war or tragedy. Trend stories highlight something that’s new, and often explain what makes it popular or important, like why everyone is saying a new slang word or using a new social app. Features can also be personal, firsthand accounts, which show what it’s like to do something or be somewhere.

Feature stories can be linked to hard news, but they don’t have to be. No matter what form they take, feature stories are meant to engage—and often entertain—readers. They are almost always told in a less formal way, with a more personal angle that focuses on the human side of a story. Where there are humans, there are always feature stories to be told.

Did you know?

Feature stories are sometimes considered an example of soft news, meaning that they’re not as important as hard news. But that doesn’t mean they’re all good news—features can be feel-good stories or personal accounts of tragedies or anything in between.

What are real-life examples of feature stories?

Feature stories are published in newspapers and magazines and on websites all the time, but they don’t need to be written. Feature stories also appear on TV, radio, podcasts, and online video reports.



What other words are related to feature story?

Quiz yourself!

Which of the following is not an example of a feature story?

A. a firsthand account of what it’s like to swim with sharks
B. a story about the origins of a fashion trend
C. a profile of a comic book artist
D. a report of a bank robbery

How to use feature story in a sentence