News writing and features are different styles of writing that you find in any publication around the world, whether they are newspapers, magazines or websites.
There are many distinctions between the two sets of writing genres because they perform different functions.
The factors that determined whether an article is fit for news or features include: time, writing style, the writer, location and length. There are other differences but these are the main ones.
When you learn how to write like a journalist, you would come across both types of writing styles. All journalists are expected to be competent at news writing and crafting features, though some do specialize, as we shall see later.
1. Time: news articles are time-dependent and must therefore be released as soon as possible after an event, speech, occurrence, interview or incident that has news value. Features, however, are more refined articles and are written to be
timeless. For instance, if a runner breaks the 100 meters world record, the news should be sent out within minutes, if not seconds, after his achievement. One or two days later, it would no longer be news. However, a profile of the runner
with his background, interests and life story would still provide interesting reading weeks or months after his record performance.
2. Writing style: a news story is written fast and therefore uses simple, effective words, focusing on nouns and verbs to tell the story. There is no flowery content. All you find is straightforward sentences with words at a premium.
Features offer you a bit more license to expand your writing with color, adjectives and vignettes.
3. The writer: Some writers are more comfortable bashing out news stories in a matter of minutes and struggle to sit down for more than half an hour writing long prose. Conversely, feature writers are more at ease processing their words
before spending up to three or four hours writing their article. Sometimes, it is possible to tell when a news story has been written by a feature specialist, or vice-versa, just by looking at the first paragraph. Of course, you do have writers
who are experts at both forms of writing.