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WRIT 1122–Unit 3        Feature Article

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(1,500 words or more): Feature Article. Feature articles are human interest stories focusing, for example, on particular people, trends, or events. Your assignment is to write a feature article on a topic of your choice. This feature should incorporate interviews as a central research method and may also incorporate information from texts and observation. Direct your writing towards a particular audience and publication venue. Although a Works Cited list is not expected for feature articles, please include an MLA Works Cited list at the end of your piece, citing your interviews as well as secondary sources, so I can evaluate the research on which your article is based. You can consult the following MLA style guide for formatting: Do not include in-text citations in the article itself, since these would not be expected for a journalistic piece.

(One paragraph to one page) Query to the Editor of your Intended Publication: Please accompany your feature article with a query letter directed towards the imagined editor of your intended publication venue. Most magazines choose their feature articles from many submissions. To get published, you are typically expected to write a query summarizing your article’s central idea and explaining what makes your piece different from others on the same or a similar subject.

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Please paste your query to the editor, feature article, and Works Cited list into a single Microsoft Word compatible document and submit electronically under Canvas Assignments by Friday, 3/1.


Note on format: I would generally like your formal writing to be typed and double-spaced, in 12 point font. For the feature, you may optionally format the piece to look like an actual article for your intended publication. You may also add images or multimedia elements such as audio.


Here is some general background about writing feature articles:


Evaluation Criteria:

  1. Innovative and compelling approach to the subject: Is there a significant central story? Do you make it clear to readers why the subject matters?Do you approach your subject from a creative new angle that might potentially make editors interested in publishing your piece? If used, do visual or multimedia elements contribute to your piece?
  2. Research: Is your article based on effective research? Have you incorporated effective data from one or more substantial interviews, including both direct quotes and summary with contextualization? If relevant, have you studied and incorporated reliable secondary sources or fieldwork observations about this subject? Are your sources acknowledged through a Works Cited list included at the end of your feature article?
  • Style, Structure, and Mechanics: Do you use an effective style and structure that match the expectations for the feature article genre and keep readers engaged? For example, does the feature have a strong lead, make good use of description, effectively incorporate quotes from interviews or information from sources, and end with an effective conclusion? Is the organization and development of the article effective? Is your feature mechanically correct?
  1. Query: Does your accompanying query letter explain to potential editors what makes your article innovative and appealing to readers of your target publication?



Daily Schedule for Unit 3:


Week 6:


Tues. 2/12

Intro. to Feature Articles/Family and Community History Features


  • Read Diana Marcum’s Pulitzer Prize winning feature “Dreams Die in Drought”

  • Read interview with Marcum

A Conversation with Pulitzer Prize Winner Diana Marcum

  • Read Onishi’s “A Generation in Japan Faces a Lonely Death”

  • Read Reader Responses to Onishi’s article:



Thurs. 2/14

Portraying an Individual: Profile Features


  • Read Michael Finkel’s “The Blind Man Who Taught Himself to See”:

  • Read Adam Lujan’sDU Clarion senior profile of Brittany Morris:

Senior profile: Brittany Morris

Week 7          

Tues. 2/19       Features about Technology/Practice with Focus Groups as Interview Method

Writing Homework:  Post on Canvas a brief discussion of your intended interview article topic and a description of your interviewees. Also list some interview questions that you plan to use to start the discussion with your interviewee(s).

Reading Homework:

Read the Pulitzer prize winning article “Group Portrait with Television” by David Finkel of the Washington Post:

Read “Thinking Outside the Bots: A Visit to Seoul Brings Our Writer Face to Face with the Future of Robots”


Thurs. 2/21     No Class. I will be at the SWPACA Conference in Albuquerque. Take the time to complete your feature article interviews and to work on your article.



Week 8

Tues. 2/26       Combining Writing with Multimodal Elements/Writing the Query Letter

Writing Homework: Post your work in progress preliminary draft of your Feature Article on Canvas.

Reading Homework:

  1. Read John Branch’s “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek” (Follow link to article “The Day a Mountain Moved (Snow Fall)”.

  1. Read Sarah Schweitzer’s “Chasing Bayla”


Thurs. 2/28     Peer Reviews: Post Full Draft of Feature Article with Query Letter on Canvas Before Class.

Fri. 3/1            Feature Article with Query Letter Due on Canvas by Midnight 

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