In journalism, the five Ws are: ‘Who’, ‘What’, ‘When’, ‘Where’, and ‘Why’. Keeping them in mind helps address the basic questions that every story should be able to answer. And each of them should have a factual answer – they can’t be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
They probably seem obvious when you read them, but I find they act as a really useful checklist to make sure I remember the important details in my writing.
Here are some examples of the kinds of questions you should be asking, and answering, in your articles:
Who: Who is the story about? Share who’s impacted and whether that’s positively or negatively.
What: What’s happening/happened? Provide factual details. Explain what it means for the reader, if appropriate.
Where: Where is it taking place? Or where did it happen?
When: When is it happening? Or when did it happen? Give clear detail appropriate to the article.
Why: Why is it happening? Or why did it happen? Why is it important and why should readers care?
Enjoy writing – I hope the five Ws prove to be useful for you too!