Journalistic Writing Characteristics
Basic Categories

A news article presents new information or a different angle on published information or past events. News articles should be well-researched, readable, and have impact. News articles are always attached to an issue that can be pinpointed to a particular date, as opposed to feature stories which are issue-based. 

A feature story is based upon an in-depth topic of interest to readers. Good copy should have a unique angle or area of focus, and it should reflect a strong writing style, incorporating rich detail, use of quotes, readability and thoroughness. Features include personal profiles and human interest stories.

A sports story incorporates imagination and an active, lively writing style in either advance, follow-up, summary or feature coverage of events or sports participants. Play-by-plays and clichéd narratives should be avoided.

This is the voice of the writer, not to be confused with an editorial. It can focus on items of personal nature, social issues, or happenings of the world. It can be insightful and/or critical, but not libelous. An effective opinion piece includes clarity, sound reasoning and effort to influence readers’ opinions. An opinion article, the voice of the individual, is always signed.

An editorial appears on the editorial page of the paper. It is the voice of the paper. An editorial is not a bylined personal column, but may be a signed on behalf of an editorial board.