The 5 W’s of Journalism

How should a lede be written while using the 5W’s?

In any news story, the lede is what draws in the audience and should be a summary of what is to follow. The lede should incorporate as many as the 5W’s (who, what, where, when, why) as possible. For example “UW-Eau Claire residents stood outside their apartments in Chancellors Hall on University Avenue on Saturday morning at 4 a.m. when a power outage set off the halls fire alarms.” When writing up a story it is important that you tell the reader with as much information as possible. In this example, the 5W’s would include: Who– students, What-stood outside their apartments, Where-UW-Eau Claire, Chancellors Hall, When– Saturday morning at 4 a.m, Why– a power outage set off the halls fire alarms. The 5W’s are there to give the reader the information needed to know what a story holds.

The lede needs to contain the facts that are most important. When writing up your lede it is important to consider the most important facts and which ones must be in the lede and also which facts can wait until paragraph one or two. According to “Inside Reporting” by Tim Harrower, “which of the key facts deserves to start the first sentence.”

There are also differences in ledes dependent on whether it is a “hard” or a “soft” lead. A hard news story should include a complete summary of what it will incorporate. When using a soft lede the, should present the subject of the story by allusion.

According to Dictionary.com “In Journalism, who, what, when, where, and why: along with how,  the essential questions about the subject of a news story that the lede is traditionally expected to answer.” The 5W’s are questions that cannot be simply answered by just a “yes” or a “no” answer.

Ledes are a part of every journalist ‘news’ lives and it should be a skill that is perfected by journalist to help the audience connect to the content in a story. Learning how to use the 5W’s will help the journalist inform its reader about. Learning skills such as these and many others  will bring great reliability to a journalist work and will bring readers back to the journalist posts.

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This entry was posted in News coverage, Reporting, Writing tips and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The 5 W’s of Journalism

  1. Pingback: Hey! Ask A journalist! « Alexander Acosta Osorio

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