What Are the Five W's of Journalism?


Quick Answer

The five W's of journalism are who, what, when, where and why. The five W's are designed to help journalists write complete news articles. Journalists ask themselves these questions to get a full and accurate report in an interview or news story.

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What Are the Five W's of Journalism?
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Full Answer

When answering the question of who was involved, the journalist can include known participants and investigate to learn additional details.

The second W, or what, requires the journalist to record the event that occurred. This question is often the most important part of the story because it informs readers about what happened, including any interesting details.

The third W, or when, specifies when the event took place. Journalists can include this to give readers a time frame. The answer to "when" can be anything from a specific date to a period of months or even years.

Journalists can answer the fourth W, or where, with a specific answer by pinpointing the location of a single, specific event. If the topic is general, such as an article about the effects of education, the "where" may be an entire country or continent.

The fifth W, why, asks why the story is important or why the event happened. Journalists can include preceding events, additional back story and opinions of interviewees to form the answer to this question.

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