The basic structure of the feature story is divided
into three parts: the lead, the body and the conclusion.
Any standard news or magazine-style lead maybe
used to begin a feature story. It should, however, always
be written in a reamer appropriate to the subject. Alight,
humorous lead, for example, has no place at the
beginning of a serious article designed to provoke deep
and serious thought in the reader. On the other hand, a
ponderous lead is no way to begin alight or humorous
A simple summary lead was used to begin the
A six-month renovating job on a
dilapidated 70-year-old house won
praise from a local real estate board for
a U.S. Navy captain stationed here.
The preceding lead is adequate as a starter, but
another writer used a question lead. The question lead
is often used to good effect in feature story writing.
Leads like these, when well-phrased, send the reader
along into the body in quest of an answer to such a
Ever hear of a hurevac?
It is a hurricane hideout. The 8,000
acres that constitute the Naval
Auxiliary Air Station Meridian, Miss.,
are a rolling woodland, and it would
seem they would be unaffected by the
hurricane season hundreds of miles
away from Florida. Such, however, is
not the case.
Note that in feature writing, the lead often consists
of more than a single paragraph Sometimes the lead
runs for several paragraphs. Take the following feature
lead for example:
Fifteen months ago, a young Greek
Cypriot landed in New York and took a
job in a Brooklyn factory devoted to the
manufacture of electrical appliances.
When he landed, he could speak
only a few words of English and that in
a thick accent.
Today that young man is Fireman
Andreas Kalivakis, serving as an
electrician aboard a U.S. Navy
w a r s h i p . H i s a c c e n t i s f a s t
disappearing; his English vocabulary is
excellent and he is the owner of a new
certificate indicating he has passed all
the tests required to prove he has the
equivalent of a U.S. high school
That lead stands the test for feature story leads; it
grasps the readers interest immediately and makes the
reader want to read more. A Marine Corps release
excited the curiosity of the casual reader with the
following lead, then added a startling transition that
prepared the reader to take pleasure in completing the
Okinawa is far from the green hills
of the United States, but an
old-fashioned American-style still is in
daily operation there alongside the
radio section of Headquarters
Company, Ninth Marine Regiment,
Third Marine Division.
The still, however, doesnt produce
alcoholic beverages it produces
pure, distilled water.
Often a lazy journalist relying on the belief that
sailors are naturally interested in articles concerning
their food, pay and equipment will hang a dull lead
on stories about those subjects. However, professional
writers will give their best to those stories, because they
know these stories will be read by the greatest number
of people and be of service to them.
A dramatic example of wide interest to food comes
from the guided-missile destroyer USS Semmes. Annual
competition for the Ney Award for the best mess afloat
sparked an enterprising skipper to support wider
dissemination of his ships cooking secrets. Semmes
published a cookbook of Navy recipes, cut to
manageable portions, and the whole country took note.
Food editors featured the story in papers in New
York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis,
St. Louis and Boston, as well as Charleston, S.C.,
Dayton, Ohio, Evansville, Ind. and Norfolk and
Portsmouth, Va. Also, numerous network and local
radio/television stations made wide use of the feature