Friday, February 13, 2009

Feature Presentation

With a society that has a shortening attention span it is essential for writers to grasp the public's attention in a creative and interesting way. 

Sometimes visual aids such as pictures may draw a person to an article in a paper or magazine, but what happens when there are no pictures to attract readers.  

Writers have to figure out a catchy way to lure potential readers to their article with a great feature lead. If a writer is capable of getting a person to read the feature lead than there is a greater chance that the person will read the entire article. Feature leads introduce the article and give a snippet of what to expect of the article. 

Feature leads differ from the traditional hard news summary leads because it enables the writer to be more creative. Instead of giving the the classic who, what, when, where, why, and how, which are the elements of a summary lead in a news story, feature leads have more flexibility and does not attempt to compress the 5 W's and H into one sentence.

An example of a feature lead is presented in an article titled Shaq's Last Hurrah by the Washington Post sports columnist, Michael Wilbon. His article discusses NBA player Shaquille O' Neal possible retirement.

He entices the readers to his article with a story telling like fashion. His feature lead states, 
"First, Shaq was in a suit. He was the only all-star in a suit. And a tie. And it was a special occasion that needed to be formally observed." 

Another example of a feature lead is also seen in a Washington Post article titled You Gotta Love the First Lady. No, Really, You Have No Choice.
Staff Writer, Robin Givhan begins her article with, "The rise of first lady Michelle Obama as an icon--of fashion, black womanhood, working motherhood and middle-class success--has propelled her onto a pedestal that would surely give the average person vertigo." The article continues to discuss Michelle Obama as a person and how she's a role model for women.

Overall, feature leads offer interesting and descriptive ways to begin an article.

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