Genre 3: Feature Articles

Generic characteristics of feature articles are that they present their stories as universal rather than time-bound, they often include human interest elements, their structure tends to be narrative rather than the inverted pyramid, which means that the point of closure is towards the end of feature articles rather than the beginning, and they present a subjective rather than objective point of view. The two feature articles in the 2012 data set are typical of the genre. Both, coincidentally, report on New Orleans, and its renaissance since Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill. One contains a typical example of categorisation.

After the storms, New Orleans endured the 2008 economic crash and the

BP oil spill. (Sarasota Herald Tribune [Florida], 27.4.2012)

The text is presented from a first-person perspective: the journalist intrudes upon the story, making her visit and her family part of the commentary (“As my sister and brother-in-law and I drove there from the airport”) and structuring the report around a comparison between New Orleans and her home town of Saratoga. The article closes with (has as its point of closure) its key argument.

There it is: the sense of place that sets a city apart from all the rest. Maybe

we, too, will get there someday.

The article is illustrative of two related shifts from the news texts of 2010: in the type of reporting from impersonal and objective news reports to more evaluative and personal reports of various kinds such as editorials, reviews and feature articles; and in the absorption of the BP story into other stories, where it both illustrates and forms part of particular phe- nomena—in this case, the tribulations undergone by New Orleans that form the backdrop to a good news recovery story.

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