Features section

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Feuilleton ( French for "leaves", German pronunciation [ fœjətõ: ], stress on the first or last syllable) denotes a journalistic branch, a section in the newspaper , a certain literary genre or a journalistic form of presentation .

Since the middle of the 19th century, the arts section of a newspaper has been one of the five classic sections, alongside politics , economics , the local section and the sports section . It contains articles on topics such as literature , theater , music , visual arts and film .

The features section as a department


In Germany, Feuilleton traditionally describes journalistic reporting on cultural events, developments and innovations. For the cultural section of German newspapers , the concept of the feature section has established itself insofar as it describes a specific place in which reports , essays , comments and critical reviews can be found. The features section as a journalistic form of representation describes "in a very personal way the little things and trivialities of life and tries to win a humanly moving, edifying side from them".


In the features section, mainly cultural topics such as art and philosophy are dealt with ( book , film , exhibition reviews ). The features section also often takes on topics such as pop culture or - often in an essayistic style - politics , economics , technology and natural sciences . Political standpoints sometimes supplement the daily reports in the other classic departments.

Text types

Various journalistic genres can be found in the features section (cultural section). These include report , essay , glossary , interview , comment , message , report , review (sometimes also called criticism ) and portrait . Each of the types of text has a different purpose. Feature articles are often characterized by an opinion-based spelling. Mostly it is judged or interpreted subjectively, the author presents his point of view.

Origin and history

Classic features section

A page from the Finnish Swedish newspaper Helsingfors Dagblad (February 27, 1889), with a feature section at the bottom.

Forms of feature pages existed long before this term was used. Even the first newspapers contained critical book and theater reviews and published poems or extracts from novels. The concept of the feuilleton comes from the time of the French Revolution . At the end of the 18th century (1789) a leaflet with theater news and reviews was added to the Journal des Débats . The author , journalist and above all cultural critic Julien Louis Geoffroy called his column, in which he mainly discussed theater productions and books, “features”. These were so popular that they were included in the main sheet, in the lower third of the page, separated by a thick line. This is where the saying “bottom line” comes from; a column that the taz still has today - albeit for ironic contributions. This line made it easier for the reader to find this popular rubric and to separate it from the newspaper and collect it, as was popular at the time. At that time, the reviewers were paid very poorly - if at all - and, given the high book prices at the time, they had to send the books back or only received a discount when buying the respective book.

In the 19th century, newspapers in the German-speaking area also undertook this shift to the main paper.

Some famous musicians wrote music reviews for the feature pages, such as Richard Wagner or Engelbert Humperdinck for the Frankfurter Zeitung . Famous and successful scientists also wrote feature sections. For example, Paul Ehrlich , Justus Liebig and Alexander von Humboldt explained their findings and research here.

At the beginning of the 20th century, serial novels were increasingly published in the features section. These were very popular with readers and were very useful for the publisher in two ways. Firstly, the readers were bound to the respective newspaper and, secondly, they were an inexpensive means of filling the gaps in the paper. At that time, theater reviews were particularly popular, especially in the big cities. There were some very well-known full-time theater critics such as Siegfried Jacobsohn , Alfred Kerr or Alfred Polgar .

Modern features section

In addition to Heinrich Heine , who wrote in the feature section of the Allgemeine Zeitung , Ludwig Börne is also considered to be the founder of modern columnism . In addition to the Berliner Tagblatt, the Frankfurter Zeitung , which brought together many big names in the 1920s (e.g. Joseph Roth , Walter Benjamin and Siegfried Kracauer ), can serve as a model for the modern feature pages of the 20th century . In Austria, the feature section of the Neue Freie Presse had a style-defining significance with authors such as Theodor Herzl , Hugo von Hofmannsthal , Felix Salten , Alice Schalk , Arthur Schnitzler , Bertha von Suttner and Stefan Zweig .

The national newspapers always have culture departments with a few permanent editors. These newspapers often boast of their feature sections. According to Schneider / Raue, they are downright proud of the fact that their texts are not understandable for the whole population, so their feature pages are deliberately not intended for the majority. Not every newspaper has its own culture section or its own feature section; There is seldom an independent culture section, especially for local newspapers. The online culture magazine Perlentaucher summarizes the features of the major German-language newspapers on a daily basis .

Columnism as a critical term

The feature section or feature section is often a term with a clearly negative connotation that assumes an arrogant, irrelevant or distorted gesture. Hermann Hesse, for example, criticizes his time in Das Glasperlenspiel under the catchphrase “Age of Feuilletonismus” as a phase of arbitrariness in cultural creation.

Strong anti-Semitic tendencies spread particularly in the bourgeois feature pages of the Belle Époque . At the time of National Socialism , the features section was used for cultural policy and was primarily intended to shape the identity of society and to influence its taste in a normative manner.

Columnist style

The columnist style is “literary, conversational or humorous”. He uses rhetorical figures as well as word figures. Some examples of this are metaphors , parallelism , anaphors , epiphers , antitheses , climax , hyperbola , irony .

See also


  • Hildegard Kernmayer, Simone Jung (ed.): Feuilleton. Writing at the interface between journalism and literature. Transcript, Bielefeld 2017, ISBN 978-3-8376-3722-9 .
  • Erhard Schütz : Real false splendor. Small writings on literature. Verbrecher-Verlag, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-940426-93-2 .
  • Rudolf Stöber: German press history. From the beginning to the present (= UTB 2716 Media and Communication Studies, History, Literary Studies ). 2nd, revised edition. UVK Verlags-Gesellschaft, Konstanz 2005, ISBN 3-8252-2716-2 .
  • Heinz Pürer , Meinrad Rahofer, Claus Reitan (eds.): Practical journalism. Press, radio, television, online (= practical journalism. Volume 9). Including CD-ROM with journalistic examples. 5th, completely new edition. UVK Verlags-Gesellschaft, Konstanz 2004, ISBN 3-89669-458-8 .
  • Wolf Schneider , Paul-Josef Raue : The new manual of journalism (= rororo 61569 non-fiction book ). Completely revised and expanded new edition. Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 2003, ISBN 3-499-61569-X .
  • Kai Kauffmann, Erhard Schütz (ed.): The long history of the small form. Contributions to column research. Weidler, Berlin 2000, ISBN 3-89693-140-7 .≈
  • Gunter Reus: Department: Features. Cultural journalism for mass media (= series of practical journalism. Volume 22). 2nd, revised edition. UVK-Medien, Konstanz 1999, ISBN 3-89669-245-3 .
  • Hellmuth Karasek : The bottom line - features on the German large feature pages . In: Spiegel special . No. 1 , 1995, p. 99-101 ( spiegel.de ).
  • Almut Todorow: The feature section of the "Frankfurter Zeitung" in the Weimar Republic. To lay the foundations for rhetorical media research (= rhetoric research. Volume 8). Niemeyer, Tübingen 1994, ISBN 3-484-68008-3 (also: Tübingen, University, habilitation paper, 1994).
  • Werner Rahmelow: To the beginnings of the columnist style. (Investigations on Heine). Schimkus, Hamburg 1936 (Freiburg (Breisgau), University, phil. Dissertation, from January 15, 1937).
  • Ernst Eckstein : Contributions to the history of the feature pages. 2 vols. Hartknoch, Leipzig, 1876.

Web links

Wiktionary: Feuilleton  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. a b Claudia Mast (Ed.): ABC of Journalism . UVK, Konstanz 2004, ISBN 3-89669-419-7 , p. 355.