Journalism genres and article types

In journalism, there are several different article or journalism types. Some of the best-known include news articles, interviews, features, reviews, columns and editorials.

A news article is the most important article type in journalism. Its purpose is to convey information by answering the questions of what, where, when, how, why and who as neutrally and objectively as possible. The purpose of news is to tell people what has happened.

The form of a news article is highly standardised and regularly referred to as a downward-facing triangle structure. The most important information is located at the beginning of the news article and, from there onwards, less and less important background information is provided. The style has become so standard, that the last chapter or chapters of a news article can be removed during the layout without it hampering the ease of understanding the article. The most important message in a news article is called a news lead. It is a brief, concise description of the article’s content.

The most important message in a news article is called a news lead.

In its simplest form, an interview can be in a question-answer format, where both the reporter’s questions and the interviewee’s answers are quoted directly.

A feature article is a longer article type than a news article. A feature should be fact-based, objective and accurate, but the genre also allows for more creative expression than a news article. While containing elements of news, feature writing provides scope, depth, and interpretation of trends, events, topics or people. It aims to humanise, add colour, educate, entertain and illuminate. Types of features can be, for example, news features on a topical phenomenon including the use of several independent sources, profiles and reportages.

A feature should be fact-based, objective and accurate, but the genre also allows more creative expression than a news article.

Columns, editorials and reviews are even more subjective article types than features. They can and usually do include openly personal opinions from the writer. Nevertheless, a good review not only presents the critic’s opinions, but the critic’s expertise is put into practice, for example to analyse a piece of art or culture and place it in a larger context or tradition. Likewise, a good column is not just a rant composed of the writer’s thoughts but a well justified argument on a topical issue.

Article types and genres: A Summary

Article types of journalism include

  • News articles
  • Features
  • Portraits
  • Reportages
  • Interviews
  • Editorials
  • Columns
  • Reviews
  • Essays.

Journalism genres include

  • News journalism
  • Culture journalism
  • Celebrity/people journalism
  • Investigative journalism
  • Gonzo journalism
  • Citizen journalism.

Reflection: Please come up with short descriptions of the concepts above. Can you name more article types or genres?

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This article was updated on January 8th 2020