The Journalists’ Questions Technique

Drs.Bambang Dananto, M.Pd
[Alumni Universitas Sebelas Maret (UNS) Surakarta (S-2 Tahun 2010), Saat ini beliau menjadi tenaga pendidik professional mengampu mata pelajaran bahasa inggris di SMA Negeri 1 Bojonegoro sejak tahun 1983 sampai sekarang) 
In communicating information to the reader, the writer must be able to make the reader feel as if he could see the event and share his responses with the writer. Therefore, in getting the truth to be conveyed to the reader the writer should record his impression, reaction, and interpretation vividly, concretely and intelligibly enough
For this purpose, the writer uses the journalist’s questions technique that is a technique of questioning by using a set of questions which are usually used by a news reporter. The news reporter often gets started on a story by asking six questions about whatever incident he or she is covering. The six questions are introduced by the following words: who, what, where, when, how, and whywhich can be explained as follow:
Who          : What must the reader know about the person or persons involved in order to understand what happened? What objective details must be included: age, appearance, social status, economic status, family relationships? What subjective elements about the person(s) should be supplied: background, philosophy, values, and emotions?
What         : What led up to the event? In what order did the stages of the event occur? Were there any foreshadowing (prediction) of what was to come? What effect(s) did the event have, both immediate and long-range? What details must be included to convey the drama of the event to someone who was not there?
Where        : How many locations are involved? How much description of the location(s) does the reader require? What details will convey the scene?
When         : What time of day, what week, what year did the event occur? Of what significance was the date, the time of day, the weather?
How          : In what way did the incident happen? How involved a description of the process is necessary? What details are required?
Why          : Is the cause known for sure? Was there more than one cause? Was one person or thing more responsible than others? Can immediate causes be distinguished from distant ones? If there was no known cause, what interpretation can you bring to bear on event? What general conclusions can be drawn?

     This technique was chosen for teaching writing news item text because there is integration between writing skill and speaking skill and itpromotes group work or whole-class work.
In implementing the technique, the teacher provides the students with pictures or photos of current events to bring the lesson of writing more natural. Then, ask the students to create a set of questions relating to the event communicated by the photos. The teacher acts as the resource of information answers the questions. The students use the answers as the outline of their writing and develop it into a complete text following the generic structure of a news item text. The results of their writings, then, were communicated to the readers, their teacher and classmates in the classroom wall magazine.
In brief, the teacher can use the following procedures:
  • Teacher introduces the news-worthy topic and provide the class with a picture about the topic.
  • Students write questions for the teacher to make the interview organized and efficient.
  • Teacher asks the students to interview the teacher to find out information about the topic through the picture.
  • Students take notes on what the teacher says.
  • Students organize this information into a story.
  • Teacher checks the students’ drafts for their grammar, choice of words, mechanics and also the content and the organization of the ideas.
  • Teacher asks the students to re-write the draft for a finished writing.

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