Feature (form of representation)

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The feature ( English feature “characteristic”) is a journalistic form of representation . Features contain features of both a report and documentation . While the form is widespread in the English-speaking area and is honored with significant awards ( Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing and Feature Photography ), the term has only firmly established itself in the German-speaking area in radio (" radio feature ").


Features are characterized by:

  • dramaturgical design
  • pictorial language

The feature is a special form of reporting that is more timely and repeatedly draws conclusions based on the vividly narrated facts.

“The constant change between intuition and abstraction , between description and conclusion, characterizes the form of representation, feature. A feature writer is therefore more than just a reporter : he also describes, but only to illustrate what he wants to represent or explain. "

- Walther von La Roche : Introduction to practical journalism

The feature is a form of representation that uses specific narrative examples to deal with a topic using facts. Facts are translated into pictures using small stories, scenes and quotations that correspond to the everyday knowledge of the recipient .

In the book “Introduction to Practical Journalism”, Walther von La Roche explains the difference between reportage and feature based on a story about fire alarms: “Shrill ringing, it lights up on the number desk. In the operations center of the Hamburg police, an emergency call came from alarm connection 3138 via direct line [...] The investigations show: It was a mouse that triggered the false alarm. "

This first part shows features of a report until it moves on to the second part, which explains and describes using facts (and thus completes the feature):

“Everywhere in major West German cities that have an emergency network with directly switched alarm systems in banks, shops and offices, the doorbell rings or beeps every day [...] that is by no means a rarity, but the rule. In Hamburg, false alarms were registered 2493 times last year, the alarm was regular only 162 times. "


  • Udo Zindel , Wolfgang Rein (ed.): The radio feature (= practical journalism series. Vol. 34). Book and CD with audio samples. 2nd, revised edition. UVK Verlagsgesellschaft, Konstanz 2007, ISBN 978-3-89669-499-7 .
  • Bruce Garrison: Professional Feature Writing. 5th edition Routledge, New York NY 2010, ISBN 978-0-415-99897-0 , (English).
  • Walther von La Roche : Introduction to Practical Journalism. With a detailed description of all training paths in Germany, Austria, Switzerland. 19th, revised edition, by Gabriele Hooffacker and Klaus Meier . Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2013, ISBN 978-3-658-01698-2 .
  • Christian Bleher, Peter Linden: Reportage and Feature , (= practical journalism series. Vol. 99). UVK Verlagsgesellschaft, Konstanz et al. 2015, ISBN 978-3-86764-476-1 .