“You want to report, not interview your thumb,” he stated.
Getting Down to Writing
Mr. Barnes by no means outlines his information or characteristic articles, however as a substitute works off his notes, which he’ll seek the advice of as he’s writing.
He gathers all of his notes from his interviews and analysis, each typed and handwritten, and inputs the perfect quotes, details and figures right into a Microsoft Word doc. Unlike a information article, a characteristic might contain a number of makes an attempt at a compelling first few sentences — referred to as the lede — and numerous rewriting. “I’ve been known to fixate on a lede for much longer than I should,” he stated.
Structurally, a information article is far more simple than a characteristic: In a information article, an important and well timed data seems within the first few sentences, with the remaining details typically offered in descending order of significance. In a characteristic, in contrast, the author typically delays the revelation of sure particulars so as to construct suspense.
Landing on the Voice
Another distinction, Mr. Barnes stated, is the voice that he interjects — or doesn’t — into an article. A information article is normally devoid of private taste, whereas a characteristic could be saturated with it. He says he typically tries to “self-censor” his voice in a information article. In a characteristic, there may be room for extra lyrical description; Mr. Barnes is in a position to dwell on how a topic clothes, talks and reacts to his questions.
Working on Edits
The enhancing course of additionally differs. With options, it may well contain numerous fine-tuning: Ledes could also be thrown out and paragraphs rewritten. With a information article, an editor acts extra like a security web than a pruner or a polisher, guaranteeing that reporters on deadline aren’t overlooking necessary data or related questions, and that they aren’t committing any apparent factual errors.
Enjoying Both Forms
The biggest problem in writing a information article, in Mr. Barnes’s opinion, is reaching each pace and accuracy on deadline. Features current a unique conundrum: A author should rigorously condense hours of interviews and analysis right into a gripping-yet-accurate narrative that doesn’t get slowed down with superfluous data.
Though Mr. Barnes says he enjoys each varieties, he’s at all times had a transparent desire.
“I’m a feature writer who’s somehow managed not to get fired as a business reporter for 20 years,” he stated.