contentgrrl

I am conTENT. My work is CONtent.

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.

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4 Responses to “5 Ws and H news writing questions: part 1, policy”

  1. […] 5 Ws and H news writing questions: part 1, policy […]

  2. […] 5 Ws and H news writing questions: part 1, policy […]

  3. […] 5 Ws and H news writing questions: part 1, policy […]

  4. contentgrrl said

    Found a number of great articles on the Online Journalism Blog. This one’s most relevant to my series on the 5 Ws and the H:

    Five W’s and a H that should come *after* every story (A model for the 21st century newsroom: pt3)

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