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Feature and Column Writing

COLUMN WRITING IN MODERN AGE:Diversity of thought, Individuality

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Feature and Column Writing ­ MCM 514
VU
LESSON 20
COLUMN WRITING IN MODERN AGE
The present day columnists are very important part of the journalism. With the passage, they are being
given more and more importance. See at the newspapers, where the editors are giving more space to the
columnists on the Op-Ed pages especially. They are considered to be part and parcel of the political
journalism.
Besides, news and analysis by the article writers, columnists have been able to carve out an important
niche for themselves. Resultantly, people follow their favourite columnist whenever they switch over
from one newspaper to another; hence goes the readership with them to that particular newspaper. This
also substantiates the reason that the editors give a lot of importance to the established columnists, as they
are not fetching their own readership with them, rather big names among the columnist, also bring better
reputation to the newspapers.
Succinctly, columnists have become an important ingredient of the political journalism. Nevertheless, it
does not mean that they do not write on other issues.
Columns
Columns and columnists are synonymous to each other. In certain cases, both of them have become so
popular with the readers that if the name of one is slipped out of the reader, he can recall him with the
other. For instance, if the name of the writer is forgotten, people do remember them by recalling the name
of the column. Hence, these both go side by side.
In no way, we can undermine the importance of the columnist for newspapers. Earlier, the vernacular or
Urdu newspaper columnists used to well-known, but with the passage of time, English columnists have
created their own space, and they have become equally important. Now, English columnists are being
translated in Urdu and are regularly printed. However, this has not happened from Urdu to English so far.
Nevertheless, sometimes it is also done.
Columnists and columns
Diversity of thought
The popularity of the columnists can be attributed to the fact `diversity of thought', as the columnists are
not always writing about one subject. Even if they are writing about one subject, then they make it certain
that their ideas do not seemed to be copied from each other. Consequently, we find many aspects of a
single subject, while many writers are following the same editorial policy of the newspaper.
Hence, while reading many columns, the reader can find diversity of thought about the same subject. On
the other hand, these writers are also following different editorial policies about the same subject.
Consequently, one can also find columns, both pro and anti-government, pro one political party or against
a political or democratic dispensation.
Moreover, they are found tackling the same subject from different angles, which adds to the beauty of the
columns. Secondly, the columnists always adapt well to the changing circumstances, and develop their
write-ups accordingly. For instance, in case of curbs on the media and if they are being considered to be a
threat to democracy, then they change their style, but always stick to the truth and the editorial policy of
the newspaper.
So the columnists bring of diversity of thought to their columns, which always bring in the element of
unpredictability causing constant interest for the readers.
Individuality
Despite the fact that in given circumstances, hardly more than two subjects are considered to be hot for
discussions, but the columnist always keep their individuality intact by discussing the subjects from
divergent angles. Hence the columnists are constantly keeping their name as an individual's name, and
will resent to be labeled someone copying thoughts of others.
No doubt, they are considered to well-read people, who are having their own genuine thoughts about a
particular subject. Plus, inspiration a few of them might take from others, but always rely upon their own
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Feature and Column Writing ­ MCM 514
VU
ideas. Consequently, we see that all of them might condemning or approving the same thing, but they will
be writing from their own particular perspective; hence keeping their individuality intact.
Hired by newspapers
Most sought-after writers
At the moment, most of the columnists are kind of freelancers ­ those who are contributing columns
regularly ­ but they are the most sought-after writers, as the editors want that a particular writer should be
writing for his newspaper. No doubt, such writers do have a large following of the readers, who ultimately
go for that writer, and resultantly, the readership of the newspaper is enhanced.
Recently, there has been virtually a competition among editors of hiring columnists, while the other was
trying to keep them with his newspaper. This competition is pretty stiff among the editors of the Urdu
writers.
Highly-paid writers
The columnists are highly-paid writers, and their perks are increasing every year. Now an ordinary
columnist is being paid at least six figures by the editors, whereas the top writers are earning far more
than this. Today's columnist besides having good status in the society, he is also well-off, whereas he is
being more and more every day.
Subject variety
On all possible subjects
The columnists write on every subject ­ from individual cases to personal ones, from society to politics,
from environment to endangered species ­ you name one subject and you will numerous writers writing
on that particular subject. So there is a variety of subjects a reader can read.
But politics takes lead
However, despite variance of subjects, we find that most of the columnists are writing about politics. It is
primarily because of two reasons. First, all well-known columnists are political writers; hence as every
one tries to be popular one, so he follows the same subject. Secondly, as Pakistan has been politically
volatile country, and its people are politically motivated masses, hence there is a huge room for a political
writer to be accepted by the readers.
Hence, we find more and more people writing on politics, which have gained popularity.
Both media
Urdu columnists
Urdu columnists are more known among the masses, which is primarily due to two reasons. First, a large
scale readership (every literate Pakistan reads Urdu newspapers) and secondly, their appeal to the
emotions. Hence the Urdu columnists are more popular among the masses.
English columnists
As English newspapers do not have widespread readership and these newspaper have a limited influence,
which is only among the highly educated people, so the English columnists are not that popular in
comparison to the Urdu writers. However, they have on readership, which is loyal to them.
Orientation of columnists
Mostly political
As mentioned earlier, the columnists are writing on politics. However, the society or the social issues
come next to politics. Nevertheless, all subjects pertaining to the interest of the readers are discussed in
columns.
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Table of Contents:
  1. IMPORTANCE OF LANGUAGE:Feature writing, Explanation of the definition
  2. SOURCES OF MATERIAL:Commemorations, Science and Technology
  3. INTERNET USAGE IN FEATURE WRITING:Be very careful, Website checklist
  4. WHAT MAKES A GOOD FEATURE?:Meeting demands of readers
  5. DEMANDS OF A FEATURE:Entertainment and Interest, Both sides of picture
  6. CONDUCTING AND WRITING OF INTERVIEWS:Kinds of interviews
  7. WRITING NOVELTY INTROS:Punch or astonisher intros, Direct quotation intros
  8. STRUCTURE OF FEATURES:Intro or Lead, Transition, Body
  9. SELECTION OF PICTURES, ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAPS:Sources
  10. FEATURES AND EDITORIAL POLICY:Slanting or angling feature
  11. HUMAN INTEREST AND FEATURE WRITING:Obtaining facts, Knowing how to write
  12. NEWSPAPER FEATURE STORY:The Business Story, The Medical Story
  13. THE NEWSPAPER FEATURE STORY IDEA:Conflict, Human interest
  14. MAGAZINE FEATURE VERSUS DAILIES:Feature versus Editorial, An overview
  15. WRITING THE SPECIALISED FEATURE STORY:The Deadline Feature Sidebar
  16. MODERN FEATURE AND ITS TREATMENT:Readers’ constraints
  17. MODERN FEATURE WRITING TECHNIQUE:The Blundell Technique
  18. ADVICE TO FEATURE WRITERS:A guide to better writing, Love Writing
  19. COLUMN WRITING:Definition, Various definitions, Why most powerful?
  20. COLUMN WRITING IN MODERN AGE:Diversity of thought, Individuality
  21. ENGLISH AND URDU COLUMNISTS:More of anecdotal, Letting readers know
  22. TYPES OF COLUMNS:Reporting-in-Depth Columns, Gossip Columns
  23. OBJECTIVES AND IMPORTANCE OF COLUMNS:Friendly atmosphere, Analysis
  24. WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIALS AND BASIC POINTS THAT GO IN TO THE FORMING OF A COLUMN?
  25. STYLE:General and a specialised writing, How can a columnist improve it?
  26. GENERAL STYLE OF THE COLUMN:Unified Style, Anecdotal Style, Departmental Style
  27. STRUCTURE OF A COLUMN:Intro or lead, Main body, Conclusion
  28. COLUMN WRITING TIPS:Write with conviction, Purpose, Content
  29. SELECTION OF A TOPIC:Close to your heart, Things keeping in Queue
  30. QUALITIES OF A COLUMN WRITER:Personal, Professional, Highly Educated
  31. WHAT MUST BE PRACTISED BY A COLUMNIST?:Pleasantness, Fluency
  32. SOURCES OF MATERIAL OF COLUMNS:Constant factors, Interview
  33. USEFUL WRITING DEVICES:Be specific, Use Characterisation, Describe scenes
  34. COMMON WRITING PROBLEMS:Eliminate clichés, Don’t misuse words
  35. WRITING THE COLUMN:Certain thumb rules, After writing the column
  36. ARTICLE WRITING:Introduction, Definition, Contents, Main Segments, Main body
  37. HOW TO WRITE AN ARTICLE?:It is more efficient, It is more believable
  38. TYPES AND SUBJECTS OF ARTICLE:Interview articles, Utility articles
  39. FIVE COMMANDMENTS, NO PROFESSIONAL FORGETS:Use Key Words
  40. ARTICLES WRITING MISTAKES:Plagiarising or 'buying articles, Rambling
  41. WRITING THE ARTICLE:Various parts of article, The topic sentence
  42. What to do when you have written the article?:Writing the first draft
  43. TEN STANDARD ARTICLE FORMATS:The informative articles
  44. LEGAL AND ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR WRITERS:Libel, Doctoring Quotes
  45. REVISION:Importance of language, Feature writing, Sources of material