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Behind the Headlines

Feature and opinion writing resources

What is a feature article?
A feature article differs in style, pace and structure from a news story. It usually picks up on a particular detail of a news story, person, event or social trend and explores that subject at length.

Our features resource is a helpful tool to identify the structural elements of a feature.
Tips for feature writing
  • Research widely - facts, statistics, different sides of the story and quotes.

  • Spend time planning your feature article and organise your ideas.

  • Don’t reveal everything at the beginning. Features have a narrative structure and draw in the reader gradually.

  • The key paragraph is the nutgraph, usually the second or third paragraph, where the feature is put in context and its significance is explained.

  • Reveal a key piece of information, quote or statistic in each paragraph and use quotes from a range of people to give a rounded view.

  • Think about the ending of the feature. It should not be a summary. A good final paragraph might include a powerful quote, a call to action or leave the reader in a different place from where you started.

  • What is an opinion article?
    Columns, comment and editorials (also known as leaders) are all types of opinion writing about issues in the news. They differ from news reports and have more emphasis on the views of the writer. The writer may be an expert on the subject, or has personal experience or insight which gives them a unique perspective.
    Tips on opinion writing
  • Be passionate and opinionated - choose a subject you feel strongly about, and then work on communicating that passion to your readers.

  • Start with what you know - you will probably write a stronger piece if you have some awareness in, or experience of, your subject. What is the point of your article? You should be able to sum it up in a couple of sentences.

  • Do your research - a strong argument is important, so too is a grasp of the facts. Your task is to persuade others, so you need to make the strongest possible case for your opinion – strong enough to persuade your opponents.

  • Construct a clear argument - reflect your opinion on your chosen subject. Remember to persuade your reader by including evidence, addressing other perspectives directly, presenting a conclusion and structuring your writing in a way that is easy to follow.

  • Hugo Young Award
    A political opinion writing competition for 16-25 year olds, created in memory of Hugo Young, a political columnist at The Guardian for almost 20 years.

    Championing the best political opinion writing amongst students and young people across the UK, this award celebrates Hugo’s legacy by encouraging fresh voices, new perspectives and great writing which, now more than ever, are essential to the future of quality, independent political journalism.

    Stay in touch

    Registered charity: 1153865