Public Relations Writing: Lesson #1 - page 2

Before we get into the theory part, let's begin writing. Or rather, pre-writing. First, read this story about an actual news event.

Click here to read the story, then click "BACK" to return here.

Take a moment and THINK. Imagine you're watching a short news story or infomercial -- a two-minute film clip -- about this subject. As you imagine this story on TV, answer the following questions.

First, if it were a short film

    Who would it be about? Who would be the star of the show? Who is doing something newsworthy? Who is the indispensable factor without whom there would be no story?

    What is the important thing that he or she (or they) is doing? What action, right now, are they taking that makes this an interesting story?

    Where did it happen? Is this a local story?

    When did it happen? ...this week? today?

    Why is this significant or newsworthy? We know Who did What and now we need to know why or how it matters.

Second, who do you think got this into the newspaper? Did some intrepid reporter just happen upon this story? Or might one or more of the people or institutions mentioned in the article have made an effort to get coverage. Think about this and then reconsider your choice for a "Who" (and "What").

These are what journalists call the 5W's. They are the FACTS of the story, and they are what makes this a good story, or a dud. You will learn to identify the 5W's of any story, as you develop your MESSAGE strategy.

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