Notice how the four structures are focused on particular media writing tasks. Writing news largely employs the fact and analysis components. Creating opinion and editorial pieces and writing for public relations sometimes involves the judgment component. And finally, advertising focuses on persuading people to make a judgment and to take action and purchase something.
This relates to questions that identify the essential details of situations and events. Suppose that you are working as a general assignment reporter on your campus newspaper. This fall, university police have reported an unusually high number of sexual assaults in two dormitories on the west end of campus. Your editor has assigned you the story. The following questions will help focus your thinking as you begin your initial research and interviewing. We’ve noted that journalists use fact-based questions to work on straight news stories.
At the same time, however, public relations and even advertising writers also need to consider these questions in persuasive situations. Analysis questions help define and explain situations, problems, or issues. Again, these tend to be largely news oriented. Returning to the campus sexual assault scenario, you decide to do some investigative reporting. You learn that sexual assault is a major problem on many college campuses across the country and suspect it may indicate bigger societal problems behind the scenes (alcohol abuse, unhealthy sexual attitudes, or a lax university culture, for instance).