Put the 5 W’s to work for you
Oops. Have you ever sent out a notice and forgotten some key detail? The journalist’s 5 W’s can help ensure you don’t forget to include the obvious. (At least it always seems obvious to the person who calls you after you hit "send"!)
To check that your text has all the key details, read through it one last time and ask yourself if the text answers these crucial questions:
- Who (For example: Who does your information apply to? Who is responsible for the project? Who has made the determination? Who will be impacted? Who was involved? Who said?)
- What (For example: What is your project? What happened? What do you want your audience to know?)
- Where (For example: Where is your event? Where did it take place?)
- When (For example: When is your event? When will your policy take effect?)
- Why (For example: Why are you doing this project or making this change? Why is this happening?)
For the record, the 5 Ws are often accompanied by a " how." Including information about how your project will be implemented or how something happened will lead to a more complete story.
If your report, email or story answers these questions, you are more likely to be sure you’re supplying your reader with complete information.
July 20, 2011
Published Jul. 20, 2011