Reporting News and Events

Journalists train themselves to explain events by asking what we might call "reporter's questions": Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? The advantage of remembering a set of routine questions is obvious: writing reports for daily papers requires fast writing with little time for revision. Reporters actually call these reports "stories" and commonly write them in one draft, composing in their heads while driving back from the scene of the accident, fire, speech, or whatever they have been assigned to write about that day. (At least one reporter has told me that he sometimes begins composing the story on the way to the event.)

For rapid composing, nothing beats a set of second-nature questions that help sort out new information by putting it into preset categories:

Who is this story about? What is the issue here? Where did it occur? When—what time of day? Why did it happen—what caused the situation to develop as it did? And how did it happen—how did the events unfold? These questions are variations of those a lab scientist or a novelist might ask, as they attempt to provide a framework for talking about the world and what happens in it—be that piece of the world one's laboratory, one's news beat, or one's Oz or Wonderland.

On those occasions when you are asked to report something that happened in a meeting, concert, or public event, using the journalists' questions will quickly organize your information.

0 0

Post a comment