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WXXI Reporter Gives Journalism Students Tips on Feature Stories

Hunter student Mona Saidi asks WXXI News reporter April Franklin how long it usually takes for a journalist to complete a story. Franklin said she has trouble hitting the 4 p.m. daily deadline.

“The best way to find feature story ideas is to follow your own passions,” WXXI News reporter April Franklin told MEDPL 2021 Reporting and Writing I students.

Franklin visited Professor Khristopher Brooks’ class and discussed how she develops feature pieces as a general assignment reporter for the NPR affiliate in Rochester, New York. During the visit, Franklin said it’s easy to get overwhelmed when pondering a feature story idea. You can combat that feeling by sharpening the story angle, Franklin told students. 

“You can have a good idea, but I think you have to really centralize it because there might be other stories within that one story that you can always revisit when it comes to features,” she said. 

Editors often give reporters a longer deadline for feature stories because newsrooms want those pieces well reported, Franklin said. Feature stories also take longer to publish because newsrooms develop other components to attract readers. At WXXI, “we’re also thinking about visuals for our website,” Franklin said. 

“We want to make sure that the content we’re producing people are going to be interested in seeing it,” she said. 

Before joining WXXI News, Franklin spent 12 years as a medical technician at a local hospital. Years at the hospital helped Franklin realize she wanted to tell stories of people who don’t have their voices heard. Anyone pursuing a journalism career should look to do the same, she said. 

“It’s not hard to find stories in general,” Franklin said. “If you’re a curious person, there’s a story everywhere.”

Hunter student Grace Littell asks WXXI News reporter April Franklin how to turn news interviews into comfortable conversations. Ask questions like you’re getting to know the person, Franklin answered. 

Our Journalism Concentration & Minor

The Hunter College journalism program is offered as a concentration or a minor within the Department of Film & Media Studies. Its curriculum is built around production courses in journalism and analytical courses in media studies. Learn more about our course requirements.

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