Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: Feature Writing (CMS 201)

 

With the unbundling of Mass Communication programme in Nigeria, the face of communication education in the country has changed. The programme has transited into a full college/faculty while individual courses have adapted to the change. While several new courses now exist in the seven new departments, some of the courses you used to know before have also taken a new shape. We have done a thorough research on what these courses offer in universities across the world; and we have provided prototype syllabus for students to study ahead. This is also to assist lecturers who might be facing new challenges with several new courses to have an idea of what the syllabus of each course offers.

 

COURSE COMPACT

Faculty: Communication and Media Studies  Department: Journalism & Media Studies

Course Code: MAC 201                                         Unit(s): 2               Semester: First

Course Title: Feature Writing

Lecturer:                                                       Programme: B.Sc.

 

 (A). BRIEF OVERVIEW OF COURSE

This course is designed to train students to have an in-depth understanding of feature article writing. It provides practical and informative knowledge on feature writing concepts, types, techniques and approaches, including how to write featurized reports for various media. It is a practical course structured to enable students to become proficient in preparing a publishable feature articles. Emphasis is on writing, analysing and marketing feature articles for offline and online newspapers and magazines. Students will also receive basic training on subject research, investigation of editorial needs, ethical and legal problems and manuscript preparation. It further provides distinctive features of good feature writing and basic steps in investigative reporting required in writing a rich feature story.

(B). COURSE OBJECTIVES/GOALS

By the end of this course, students will have learned:

  1. Meaning of basic concepts in Feature writing and magazine reporting.
  2. The difference between news stories and features
  3. Structure and contents of features
  4. How to write features
  5. The different types of features
  6. Writing featurized stories for various media (online and offline media)

  (C). METHOD OF LECTURE DELIVERY

  1. Lectures
  2. Quizzes
  3. Assignments
  4. Practical Classroom Sessions

(D). COURSE OUTLINE

1. Introduction

Definition of concepts (Feature Story, Magazine reporting)

Why journalists write feature stories

Difference between feature stories and straight news reports

Characteristics of a feature story

The importance of proper reporting and research in constructing solid features

2. Types of Feature Stories

Informative

Explanatory

Personality

Personal experience

Human interest

Direct Address

Capsule

Special event

How-to-do-it

3. Approaches to Feature Story Writing

Descriptive

Direct address

Hour glass

Narrative

4. Sources of Ideas for Feature Stories

The Media

Library

Topical issues

5. Structure of a Feature Story

The head (Caption)

The Neck (Lead)

The Body (main story content)

6. Writing a Feature Story: Basic Steps

Choosing a topic

Preliminary research

Collating materials

Outline

Writing the story

Crosschecking fact

Effective writing: color, details, anecdotes, improving quotes; leads and story beginnings.

8. Investigative Reporting for Writing Features

What is investigative reporting?

Basic steps in Investigative reporting

Investigative interviewing

Terrains of Investigative reporting

Relevance of investigative reporting skills to Feature Writing

 9. Interviewing For Feature Story Writing

Definition of Interviewing

Kinds of Interviewing

Relevance of Interviewing in Feature Story Writing

Interviewing Techniques

Using Interviews in a Feature Story

Writing the Personality Profile from an interview

 10. Class activities and Assignments

 

(E). RECOMMENDED TEXTS

Pape, S. & Featherstone, S. (2008). Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction. London: SAGE Publications.

Nwabueze, C. (2014). The Art of Investigative Reporting: A Practical Guide (2nd Edition). Owerri: Topshelve.

 

(F). IMPORTANT LINKS

The Secret To Writing Stronger Feature Articles

Writing a Feature Story! Beginner’s Guide

 

READ ALSO: Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: Intro to Communication I (CMS 101)

READ ALSO: Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: Introduction To Communication II (CMS 102)

READ ALSO: Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: History of Nigerian Media (CMS 103)

READ ALSO: Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: Traditional African Communication Systems (CMS 105)

READ ALSO: Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: Critical and Review Writing (CMS 202)

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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