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The Importance of the five W’s and one H in journalism reporting – Mr. William Nyarko

Mr. William Nyarko, Executive Director, ACILA

“In every story, the lead is very important”. Mr. William Nyarko was telling participant at two day seminar organized by Africa Centre for International Law and Accountability (ACILA) on the theme “Investigative Formation”.

The seminar was held on the 23 – 24 June, 2017 at ACILA near Accra Community School, Abelenkpe. ACILA’s Executive Director welcomed

all the thirty (30) participants.

Mr. William Nyarko was talking on the topic, “From an idea to investigation and reporting for impact” when he told the participants about the importance of the five (5) W’s and the H.

According to Mr. Nyarko, the five (5) W’s stands for: what, when, who, where and which whiles the H is How. He noted that, to be a very good journalist, you need to use these words in every story you write for the reader to get the meaning very clear.

He also added that, to get a very strong or good lead, you need to bring in all the five W’s and the H, like ‘what’ is the story talking about, ‘when’ did the story happened, ‘who’ is the story talking about, ‘where’ did the story happened, ‘ which’ specific area, and how did the story happened. A lot of journalist has the idea but how to put it on paper is their problem. He said.

He decided to test the writing skills of participants. He gave the participants a case study to present on the day two. This is the case study.

“You are a repeater for the Serachlight. A source at the Kotaka international Airport has told you that president Akuffo Addo has bought a presidential jet, a Gulfstream V arrived in Ghana on June 18th2017.

  1. Explain why you think this tip off could be started at an investigatory story.
  2. Outline the steps you will take to investigate the story.
  3. Assume that, you have confirmed the information provided by the source. Write the story for publication by your media organization the Searchlight”.

The participant put it upon themselves to write the story although the time was not enough effort. During the presentation, it was panel discussion make good use of the five (5) W’s and H,

On the topic “From an Idea to Investigate and reporting for impact”. Mr. Nyarko also taught the participants how to plan for investigative story after getting a tip off. He discussed the steps with the participants. He noted that, the first step is to get story idea, then, you deal with hypothesis, the hypothesis will help you to get more information about the story, the necessary documents and a lot more. Also you develop plan for the story. When, to go for information.

After that, the budget of the story. The amount of money you need to undertake the investigation. Now the investigation makes a follow up until you achieve your aim. The participants were very excited to get this in-depth knowledge about an investigation story.

The ACILA Investigative Journalism Seminar was blessed with a lot of prominent people. Some are journalist, lawyer, investigative journalist, lectures and many more.

Dr. Sikanku, Lecturer of Communications, Ghana Institute of journalism. Talk about “New media and online Journalism”. He told the participants that, without online journalism, an investigative journalist will find his or her job very difficult. Dr Etse added that, young journalist should make good use of online media, because it is not expensive, easy to access, etc.

Mr. Kwatey Nartey, Senior Broadcaster Journalist, Investigative Desk, Multimedia Group limited, and Mr Gabriel O.T Ashong, Broadcast Journalist, Metro TV, talk about “Investigative panel discussion. Mr. William Narko was the moderator. These gentlemen shared their experience how they started as investigative journalist. Mr. Kwatey Nartey talk about “The Rebel Land” how he came about it Mr. Gabriel O.T Ashong also, told the “Street Children” which won him an award. They all encouraged participants to work hard, because hard work pays.

“Media law and Ethical Reporting” was treated by Mr. Zakaria Tanko, Head of Print Journalism Department, Ghana institute of journalism. He was very emphatic to participants to weigh the difference between rights, freedom and responsibilities. Any journalist should respect the Supreme Law of the country. This will make their work very easy. Journalist should not use their freedom to infringe on peoples rights.

Ms Esther Armah, Awards – Winning International Journalist, Media Communication Lectures, Webster University and host of the “spin” on Starr Fm talked about “International Reporting”.

She differentiates between challenges and choices. Ms Esther Armah advised the participants to write simple sentences in their story. Also, they should always train regularly and use the five W’s and the H. All participants should start something on their own.

A private talk with ACILA, Executive Director, he will organize another seminar on the five (5) W’s and H. All the participants was very happy for such an opportunity.


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