Types of news elements in journalism

 

News elements are the basic questions that guide reporters in search of news. These questions are the who, what, when, where, why and how.

 

Who

This question emphasizes the news source or people involved in a story. Using an example of armed robbery attack on a bank, if the identity of the robbers is not known, how many were they when they attacked the bank? Was any person within the bank premises when the incident took place? Something about the people involved in the story has to be played up.

What

This has to do with the action in a story i.e. what happened. What is the major action which may have led to other actions in the story? What actually happened to a new generation bank in the news? Was it robbed?

When

This elicits answers on the time and day an event took place. The news value of timeliness is hinged on this question. At what time of the day did armed robbers attack a bank?

Where

This brings out the location of an event. It could be office complex, hotel, stadium, city, community, etc. Information about the venue or location of an event should be reflected in a story. If armed robbers robbed a bank, where is the bank located? In which state, city and street?

Why

This brings out the reason behind an action, i.e. what led to an action. What could be the reason behind an armed robbery attack in a bank at a particular moment? Could it be that a bullion van loaded with money just arrived the bank or could it be that a staff of the bank informed the robbers that pensioners would be paid on that day?

How

This explains the way an action took place. How did the ‘what’ which took place in the ‘where’ involving the ‘who’, take place? How did armed robbers rob a bank? Did they arrive in three Jeeps and shoot their way into the bank?

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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