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Articles

The art of article writing has many aspects and applications. Articles are nonfictional compositions, usually written for newspapers, magazines, journals, websites, and other types of publications. Chapters or sections of books can even be written as stand-alone articles, lending themselves to use as sample articles in other publications as a marketing tool.

Articles are divided into two broad categories, though there are many articles that cross the line between them. These are the news article and the feature article. For the most part, straight news stories focus on time-sensitive breaking news and events. Feature articles generally target topics of human-interest value or that lend themselves to the writer being able to provide more breadth or depth to the article, historical context, or other supportive background information.

An Overview of News Articles

News articles are articles that focus on the what, who, why, where, when, and how of important events and current changes in issues. They are usually found in newspapers, newsletters, magazines or websites that discuss recent or current events. Their topic can be of general interest (such as articles in the daily newspaper) or on specific topics (think articles in monthly magazines, newsletters or journals). News articles can contain many elements. Photographs of the event or subject of the article are among the most common and, coupled with an eye-catching headline, can prompt interest in the reader to examine the article more closely. Using a mix of descriptive text, eyewitness interviews (typically including quotes from the eyewitness), investigative report, debates and more, the journalist (as news writers are called) attempts to relate what happened, why it happened, where it happened, when it happened, who was behind it, and how the event occurred. Additionally, the writer may have to do research for materials supporting any comments, views or opinions related to the news event.

Unlike most writing, newspaper journalists must write in an inverted pyramid, placing the most important information in the first few paragraphs, typically including information that would normally go into the conclusion of an essay or report. In the news industry, space is at a premium. Due to the time constraints in the news industry, there is seldom time to have the writer rewrite an article if it is too long. As frequently occurs, a journalist may find the last few lines or even entire paragraphs deleted to make the article fit into the space available. By writing in an inverted pyramid format, the destructive impact of this practice is minimized.

An Overview of Feature Articles

Feature articles are also nonfiction, but focus on informing, teaching or entertaining the reader. They may include literary conventions found in fiction: dialogue, plot lines and acting characters. A wide range of literary forms fall under its broad umbrella, usually centering around human interests: columns, essays, exposés, how-to, and many others.

  • Columns
    The most commonly thought of feature article is the column. Columns typically have a single theme to them, such as weekly cooking and advice columns. Columns can be the exclusive content of one particular publication, as is typical of magazines, or may be syndicated to multiple publications.
  • Op-Ed
    Op-Eds are columns that are run opposite the editorial page. They are frequently written either by staff writers or popularly known commentary journalists. Op-Eds are a response to current events or editorial comments, reflecting items and issues that are currently newsworthy. The most common are political op-eds, but their topic can range the entire breadth of public, social, economic, and environmental issues.
  • Exposé
    This type of article uses in-depth reporting that requires heavy research, documentation and investigation of the subject. They usually expose corruption and scandals in the business or political arenas or that involve celebrity figures such as athletes or actors. Another name for them is “investigative article.” Frequently viewed as “yellow journalism,” exposes serve a vital function in our society, revealing problems within our society that must be corrected or otherwise acted upon.
  • Human Interest Stories
    Human Interest Stories are articles that involve local events and personalities. These are sold to daily and weekly newspapers usually, though some are of a nature that makes them perfect for magazines. Anecdotes and personal experiences can be just as supportive of an article idea as rote facts and statistics. Human interest stories are also called “true-life” stories.
  • Personal Experience
    Personal experience articles allow the writer to relate an event that he or she has personally experienced. Childhood memories are a well-known form of personal experience article. These are closely related to human-interest stories in that they often cover the same kinds of events and personalities, just in a first-person form.
  • Personality Profiles
    Personality profiles are articles that focus on a specific individual or group, presenting information on a professional or personal level (sometimes both) that reveals revelations or inspirational information about them.
  • Interviews
    Interviews are a special type of article presenting a conversation between individuals, directed by the journalist. They are used primarily to expose the personal opinions, experiences or expertise of the person or persons being interviewed.
  • How-To
    How-to articles communicate to the reader how to do something. They provide systematic information, instructing the reader how to do a specific task in a step-by-step manner. These articles frequently lead to future books for the writer.
  • Service
    Service articles focus on a specific product or service or on the comparisons between several products or services. The article outlines the features and presents them in such a way as to allow consumers to make purchasing decisions from a knowledgeable position.
  • Travel Literature
    These articles build in the mind of the reader the attractiveness of a particular place or region by describing the landscape, atmosphere, and people of the place or region. They are slanted somewhat to encourage the reader to visit the location or take a vacation there.
  • Seasonals
    Articles written about a holiday, a particular season, or an annual observance are referred to as seasonals. They should be ready and submitted significantly in advance of the publication date. For magazines, this can be a matter of months, but only a few weeks for newspapers, the exact time dictated by the event and by the policies of the publication
  • Sidebars
    Sidebars are short features that accompany or compliment the main news story or magazine article. It can contain elaborations of the human-interest aspects of the main article, explain important facets of the article in detail or provides information such as statistics or lists of resources that would not fit directly into the body of the article, but which are still important to the article. They are kept separate from the main article by a box or colored section to one side of the article or at the bottom of the page.
  • Essay
    An essay is a short, literary article in which a writer develops a specific theme or expresses an idea. Essays differ from op-eds and columns in that they seldom express the opinion of the writer and from fillers (see below) in that they can be significantly longer.
  • Fillers
    Fillers are essentially mini articles. They range from 250 to 300 words and are used to fill in extra space on the page of a magazine or newspaper. They may or may not be related to another article on the page or in the magazine but will normally be on a subject related to the nature of the magazine or newspaper.
  • Evergreens
    An evergreen is a special type of article. It is written in such a way that an editor can hold it for months and publish it when needed. They require little or no updating, avoiding time-sensitive context for the most part. Exceptions might be seasonal articles that can be used a year or more later, sometimes even being reprinted each year for an event or holiday.

Other types of articles

There are other types of articles that appear in specific context. Each of them requires particular handling and are related to one or more type of articles already described.

  • Academic papers
    Academic papers are articles written for publication in academic, industrial or occupational journals. The status of academics and occupational professionals is often influenced or dictated by the number and quality of articles they have published and on how frequently their articles are cited by the authors of books or other articles.
  • Blogs
    Blog articles can be professionally written articles like those in a newspaper or magazine or simply entries comparable to diary notes of personal feelings, experiences or opinions. This mixture often leads to the view that blogs are not serious journalistic endeavors, though many bloggers would beg to differ.
  • Encyclopedia Entries
    These are carefully target articles on a particular subject, fact, event, or person that is presented not for entertainment, but simply for the presentation of the facts surrounding it. They can be general overviews or, particularly in a topic-narrowed encyclopedia, specific details about the subject, event, fact or person useful for general research.
  • Marketing
    Marketing articles are used to draw potential customers to a commercial website, product or service. Such articles seldom bother with a pretense for the information being presented.
  • Usenet and Discussion Group Entries
    Articles written for these environments can be as diverse as articles written for other media, but most often serve to express personal opinions or viewpoints on the topic of discussion. Writing articles for these environments can be used to attract readers to an organization’s or individual’s website for additional information on the topic discussed.

How Our Company Can Help

Our company engages many highly talented, professional writers who are use to preparing assignments of every description. Fully versed in research and writing techniques, they are ready and willing to prepare from one to scores of articles, each written to your unique needs and specifications or written creatively, based only on a general topic or concept. Their skill and professionalism releases you to worry about issues that are more important. Having extensive experience in preparing documents in academic and professional environments, they know the importance of appropriate citations and are careful to keep track of each related source with information that has been incorporated into an article. Literally, you have little to fear, once we are on the job.

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