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News and Feature Articles as Writing Genres


The proponent of this study attempted to appreciate the deeper meaning and intended message of two articles. The first one is a news article and the second one is a feature article. The process was made easier by reviewing essays regarding writing genres (Dirk 250). The same thing can be said after reading the essay discussing the writing process (Bunn 72). Thus, the aforementioned goal is accomplished by using an analytical framework based on the proponent’s understanding of writing genres, and the way the authors shaped the discourse to establish a particular tone that enhances the connection between the writer and the recipient of their respective messages.

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Purpose, Context and Intended Audience

The first article in question was a news article that was published under the USA Today banner. Mary Bowerman and Lucas Aulbach’s article entitled United Airlines Under Fire After Man is Dragged Off Overbooked Flight discussed the public backlash described the backlash after law enforcement officers and members of the airline crew dragged a man for refusing to give up his seat. The second literary output examined was a feature article developed by Farhad Manjoo under the banner of The New York Times. The said feature article discussed the same incident, and at the same time, connected with a bigger issue.

Both articles were effective in the delivery of the authors’ intended messages. In the USA Today article, the authors were able to provide critical information that satisfied the need to know more about an incident that ignited a backlash of negative criticism directed at the carrier known as United Airlines or UA (Bowerman and Aulbach). On the other hand, the author of The New York Times article was able to provide added insights into the root cause of the problem (Manjoo). In the process of explaining underlying forces and presenting a big picture perspective, the author did not only provide important information, but he was also able to entertain his readers using a dash of humor in his writing output.

The Rhetorical Devices

These two writers were able to develop well-written articles because of their keen understanding of the purpose and significance of writing genres. This was made clear by the pieces that were created following certain conventions. For example, the news article from USA Today was developed by answering questions related to what, when, and where of the news. Thus, the readers were able to get the satisfaction of reading the news, directly providing information about an important issue.

The evaluation of Manjoo’s article was not as easy. At first glance, it seems as if Manjoo was writing a news article. The piece was published under a national daily, but more importantly, the article contained one of the hottest stories of the day or in the past two to three days. Furthermore, the writer was not talking about a Christmas-themed message in the middle of summer. The output looked like a feature article, but at the same time, it came across with an urgency and relevance typically attributed to news writing. Consider for instance the time difference between the two articles. The news article from USA Today was published two days before the publication of The New York Times article. Nevertheless, the article’s length and the scope of the content discussed was something beyond the purview of a typical news article.

The decision to use the appropriate writing genres made it easier for the writers to develop the intended message because they do not have to create the message from scratch. In other words, the square format and rhetoric of a news article save time and effort. The author need not conduct extensive research regarding the background of the personalities involved, or there is no urgent need to figure out the root cause of the problem. It is also a good thing that the target audience had prior experience reading the same type of genre. As a result, expectations were easily met.

Establishing Tone and Connecting with the Audience

The use of the appropriate genre is just the initial phase in the development of an effective and well-received literary output or article. The utilization of a news article or a feature article genre serves merely as a roadmap or provides the skeletal framework that guides the process of creation. In the end, it is the writer’s talent, such as, the combination of wisdom and skill in stitching together ideas that creates a difference between an ordinary piece of writing compared to something that millions of readers are going to read all over the planet.

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In the case of the USA Today article, the effective communication process started with the creation of an apt title. In this example, the title was not only a catchy one that piqued the reader’s interest, but it also provided a preview of what they were supposed to expect. Besides, the title targeted those that have similar interest. Thus, when the author said that a certain event caused UA to be under fire, the intended audience already understood that he was not talking about the use of a certain weapon, but a phenomenon closely associated with the Internet or the viral way that messages are being transmitted and shared through the World-Wide-Web.

In the case of The New York Times feature article. It was made clear that the writer’s output was not merely a simple feature article. One can argue that it was a hybridized form that combined the elements of a news article and merged it into the feature article format. Thus, he was able to discuss a story that was relevant and very popular at the moment. At the same time, the author was prudent enough to incorporate a story that people were discussing. Thus, in one stroke, the author was able to introduce a story whose time had come. In other words, if he discussed the story about how the airline industry tried to sacrifice the quality of customer service to reduce the cost of air travel, the reception or appreciation of the article may not be as significant compared to the decision to release the same article two days after the incident occurred.


The use of an analytical framework based on the use of writing genres made it easier to discover the formula and the motivations behind the writing process and the decision to use certain words and phrases. In the review of the two articles, it was discovered that the effective use of the news article and the feature article genres made a great deal of difference when it came to delivering an appropriate message and satisfying the readers’ expectations. Also, the use of writing genres served only as of the preliminary step, it was also the writer’s skill and experience that contributed to the creation of a message that millions of readers were able to read, as these articles were accepted and published under the banners of world-class publishing organizations.

Works Cited

Bowerman, Mary, and Lucas Aulbach. “United Airlines Under Fire After Man Is Dragged Off Overbooked Flight.” USA Today. 2017. Web.

Bunn, Mike. “How to Read Like a Writer.” Writing Spaces: Readings on Writings, Vol. 2,

edited by Charles Lowe and Pavel Zemilansky, Parlor Press, 2011, pp. 71-86.

Dirk, Kerry. “Navigating Genres.” Writing Spaces: Readings on Writings, Vol. 2,

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edited by Charles Lowe and Pavel Zemilansky, Parlor Press, 2011, pp. 249-261.

Manjoo, Farhad. “How Technology Has Failed to Improve Your Airline Experience.” The New York Times. 2017, Web.

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