5 Ws and H news writing questions: part 1, policy
Posted by contentgrrl on January 22, 2008
Writing is an art, but that is not to say there is no science to it. You can use a tried-and-true formula to get started with researching, interviewing, and organizing basic news according to the 5 Ws and the H.
The questions below work for news on policy, including election candidate campaigns, federal/state legislation and regulation, city codes, commercial company acquisitions/launches/divestitures, departmental initiatives, insurance coverage limits, financial transaction agreements, mechanical maintenance requirements, club by-laws, school board requirements, even classroom or household rules.
- Who is making the policy?
- Who are the political movers and shakers creating the pressure that drives this policy?
- Who are the critics and detractors?
- Whom does the policy affect, or who is accountable for results?
- What action must be taken?
- What conditions will trigger the need to act in accordance with the policy?
- What are the consequences of inaction?
- What are the consequences of failure?
- What alternatives were considered?
- When is the deadline or stages and phases?
- Where in space or organization is the jurisdiction of this policy?
- Where might be the boundaries or grey areas?
- Why is this new?
- Why was the particular action selected (what pros and cons)
- How do they know the policy was necessary?
- How will they know when the policy is successful?
Next, we’ll look at how these questions can play out for other types of news stories: events, accidents, and discoveries.