The FAJA Points trace their roots to ancient times. In the days of the ancient Greeks and Romans, before paper was used, people organized their thoughts to deliver speeches by using a system of “starting points” to ask questions about the topic and the material they would use to deliver it. You may have learned in another class that one system was called stasis, or starting points; a second was called topoi, or topic points.
Remember that the FAJA Points are just that—starting points. They are also thinking points that help you quickly find the focus of your piece. Professionals become so accustomed to these questions that after a short time they begin to use the questions like automatic tools they can quickly put to work. Whether you are working as a journalist, a public relations practitioner, or an advertising copy writer, the FAJA Points serve as valuable tools in your writer’s toolbox.
Katrina Sweet works for a small-town newspaper located in the Midwest. Called to the scene of a major car–truck accident on the nearby interstate highway, she arrives and surveys the situation. As she pulls out her notebook, she knows she has to begin to ask questions, establish the facts, and get the details right within a few short minutes. Her story is due within an hour. To begin, Sweet focuses her mind on the fact questions from the FAJA Points.