A narrative is a story that has a beginning, middle and end. It engages the reader’s mind and heart. It shows actors moving across its stage, revealing their characters through their actions and their speech. At its heart, a narrative contains a mystery or a question-something that compels the reader to keep reading and find out what happens.
A traditional news feature starts with an anecdote or scene, moves to a nut graph that tells the reader where the story is going and then spends the rest of the piece explaining and supporting the nut graph.
A narrative, on the other hand, lets the story unfold through character, scene and action-usually without summing up the story and telling readers what it’s about. A narrative also attaches a little story to a big story — it is built around theme.
In journalism, a Nut graph is a paragraph, particularly in a feature story, that explains the news value of the story. […] ie, “in a nutshell” paragraph
News Feature v. Narrative: What’s the Difference?
Rebecca Allen — January 9, 2006
In a Nutshell, People like Stories.