Focus: Who Did What?
1st WHO? Focus
on the key person, group or
The president, James Veritas,
a student, students, the club,
FCC, True Value, the
unemployment rate, an earthquake
2nd WHAT? Focus on the
significant action and the impact.
did what? What happened? What may
Why is this important?
should the reader care?”
criticized ... Not:
Veritas spoke … Don’t state the obvious.
May censure or plans to censure
is safer than will censure.
WHEN? Normally used. Shows
WHERE? If it’s not obvious. [If
not in opening locator.]
WHY? The audience grabber.
6th HOW? If
it’s not obvious. Keep it short and sweet here.
Place most, but not necessarily all, of
in order in one summary theme
locator.] 1st. Who?
2nd. What? 3rd. When? 5th. Why?
The Truth College student council
for criticizing the
OR Delayed Opening
 Lead: Use the summary
alone as the lead paragraph,
set-up for an inverted-pyramid news story,
starts with the most important information.
Continue with the 5-W’s-&-an-H outline.
 Delayed Opening:
After a description or an anecdote,
delayed summary sentence, sometimes called a
graph. Place the summary sentence where readers
and headline writers
easily find it.
outline or a
piece, the theme may be the
Expand the 5-W’s-&-an-H summary in the same
summary sentence about the council
planning a censure.
¶2 answers Who?: Discuss the
possible vote count
¶¶3-4-5 answers What?: Explain the
effect of the censure. Be
balanced. Provide a quote from the newspaper
mentions When? The day is in ¶1.
The meeting time.
continues with Where? Building,
are vital for future events,
not for past events.
answers Why?: Describe the
complaint. Explain any
Identify the president, if not yet
How?: Explain only if the
voting is unusual or abnormal.
More ¶s?: Use
quotes from council members about
Be wary of a source, such as a lobbyist or a public relations
representative, whose job is to promote specific positions. Seek multiple
sources. Note any relationship of a source to your publication.
Be alert to your own level of interest, which may be more or less
intense than your readers level. Write to their concerns. Dont confuse new
with important. Use your power to select quotes and information to strive
for neutrality. Be aware of your own biases.
Be wary of biased analysis, unscientific polls and inconsistency.
Correlation does not mean causation. Be cautious if no one else has the
Look carefully at other cultures. Be wary of having only one informant
represent an entire culture. Verify your impressions. Realize that you are
a visitor, not an insider.
Use accused until individuals are found guilty. Say arrested on a
charge of, not arrested for. Follow any local editing policy about using
the names of crime victims and of youthful offenders.
Consider whether a description is necessary to identify an individual.
Be on guard for offensive words and hate-speech messages that demean or
inflame people or groups. Watch identifiers: age, class, community,
disability, ethnicity, family relationship, gender, neighborhood, race,
religion, sexual preference, veteran status.
Be alert for sarcasm, irony, ridicule and bad jokes that may be
inappropriate or misunderstood.
J-Skills [newswriting & PR writing exercises]
NewsPlace.org [N.E.W.S., Sources, Tools,