Feature Articles about People are Popular

Features about people are always in demand. We are naturally curious, and we love to read about other people who do interesting things.

It’s uncommon to find people who don’t like to talk about themselves, if they have interesting lives. People who do interesting things or who’ve accomplished many things are proud of what they do. They love to share their news.

Artists, musicians, authors, community volunteers, consultants, and scientists are just a handful of the type of people who are newsworthy.

If you’re a good listener, write features about people who are willing to tell their story. Most likely, your interviewees will be flattered that you chose to write about them.

Once you’ve set up a time to meet with the interviewee, tell the person that you plan to take about an hour to visit. Before the interview, get together a list of questions to ask.

Even if you know the person well, always do interviews in person, not over the phone or by email. You gain so much by talking to interviewees in person, not only observation-wise, but they will open up more when they have an interviewer who is taking the time to visit and chat.

Observation is key in people features. You’re observing the demeanor of the interviewees, that is, their personality and their enthusiasm for what they do. This kind of description will greatly contribute to the article.

Questions will get interviewees prepared to talk about themselves. However, you needn’t fire away with all your questions, but they are a starting point for getting an interviewee to open up. And, you can weave your questions into the conversation at certain points.

Perhaps by the end of the interview, the interviewee will have answered all the questions you meant to ask. If this didn’t happen in the course of the interview, at that point, you can pick up with any unanswered questions.

Or, if interviewees digress during the interview, you can get them back on track with some of your questions.

Don’t make the mistake of being so impressed with interviewees, that you’re either intimidated by them or you’re gushing. Besides being courteous, maintain a professional air.

Keep in mind that interviews can last an hour and a half, at most, and this time goes very fast. At the end of the specified time, they’ll be ready to say goodbye, so you will have needed to get the answers to all your questions.

If the interviewee took control of the interview, chances are good, you didn’t get all your questions answered. The point is, always stay in control of the interview. Don’t let interviewees ramble.

Be good at note-taking, too. I prefer pencil and paper, but many interviewers prefer a laptop. Either way, learn to abbreviate words.

Finally, make sure you get your facts correct. You don’t want a reputation for inaccuracy. After the interview, when you’re at home writing your article, call the interviewee if something was unclear or doesn’t make sense. Getting a clarification is necessary.

For more information on interviewing and feature writing, in general, read my book, Beginners’ Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features. Beginners' Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features

And, if you want to branch out into column writing, read my book, You Can Be A Columnist.

Both books have been Featured Selections of Writer’s Digest Book Club.

Copyright 2016 by Charlotte Digregorio.


About Charlotte Digregorio

I publish books. I have marketed and/or published 55 titles. These books are sold in 46 countries to bookstores, libraries, universities, professional organizations, government agencies, and book clubs. In 2018, I was honored by the Governor of Illinois for my thirty-eight years of accomplishments in the literary arts, and my work to promote and advance the field by educating adults and students alike. I am the author of seven books including: Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All; Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Homes; You Can Be A Columnist; Beginners' Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features; Your Original Personal Ad; and my latest, Ripples of Air: Poems of Healing. The first four books have been adopted as supplemental texts at universities throughout the U.S., Canada, India, Pakistan, and Catalonia. They are sold in 43 countries, and are displayed in major metropolitan cultural centers. These books have been reviewed, recommended, and praised by hundreds of critics, librarians, and professors worldwide. I am also the author of a poetry collection: "Shadows of Seasons: Selected Haiku and Senryu by Charlotte Digregorio." Two of my books have been Featured Selections of Writer's Digest Book Club. I am regularly interviewed by major print, radio, and television organizations throughout the U.S. I regularly sign books at libraries, chain bookstores, and university bookstores, and do poetry readings at art centers, cafes, tea houses, and galleries. I was recently nominated for two Pushcart Prizes in poetry. I have won fifty-nine poetry awards, writing fourteen poetic forms. My poetry has been translated into eight languages. I do illustrated solo poetry exhibits 365 days a year in libraries, galleries, corporate buildings, hospitals, convention centers, and other venues. My individual poems have been displayed at supermarkets, apparel and wine shops, banks, botanic gardens, restaurants, and on public transit. I have been nominated and listed in "The International Authors and Writers Who's Who" in Cambridge, England and in the "Who's Who In Writers, Editors & Poets U.S./Canada." I hosted my own radio program, "Poetry Beat," on public broadcasting. My poetry has been featured on several library web sites including those of Shreve Memorial Library in Louisiana and Cornell University's Mann Library. My background includes positions as a feature editor and columnist at daily newspapers and as a magazine editor. I have been a public relations director for a non-profit organization. I am self-employed as a public relations/marketing consultant, having served a total of 118 clients in 23 states for the past several decades . In other professional areas, I have been on university faculties, teaching French, Italian, and Writing. I regularly give lectures and workshops on publishing, journalism, publicity, poetry, and creativity to business and professional groups, and at writer's conferences, universities, literary festivals, non-profit organizations, and libraries. I have been a writer-in-residence at universities. There have been about 400 articles written about me in the media. I have served on the Boards of writers and publishers organizations. My positions have included Board Secretary of the Northwest Association of Book Publishers. I served for five years as Midwest Regional Coordinator of The Haiku Society of America, and for two years as its Second Vice President.
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