Who? What? When? Where? Why? Oh, and How?

1 Dec

Learning the five Ws and one H will greatly help you in your writing as a journalist and are among the most important pieces of information a journalist needs to consider while writing a story.

According to Geoff Livingston, a public relations strategist and co-founder of Zoetica, “The five Ws (and H) of journalism represent the critical core of story research.”

The point of these questions is to get you thinking about what the news is, who if affects and so forth. These questions help you outline what information you will need for your story, where to find that information and what questions to ask in order to obtain that information from your sources.

One of the main purposes of these questions is to provide you will all of the information from the news so you can write a killer lead for your story. Nothing draws a reader in like a fantastic lead.

So what exactly are these important questions that journalists should be asking themselves?

  • Who does the news affect?
  • What is the news?
  • When did it take place?
  • Where did this news happen?
  • Why did it happen?
  • How did it happen?

Asking yourself these six simple questions is sure to get you to the heart of the news and on the right track to producing a great story.


“I keep six honest serving-men, (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When, and How and Where and Who.”

-Rudyard Kipling


One Response to “Who? What? When? Where? Why? Oh, and How?”

  1. Geoff Livingston December 1, 2010 at 11:59 PM #

    Thanks for reading the post. I’m glad you found it useful. I think these Qs make us better readers, too!

    Best wishes,


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