Good Reporting

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Note: These notes are the personal views of the author(s) and reflect their personal experience with Indymedia. Different people may have different opinions!

The Five Ws

Any course of journalism would probably start with the Five Ws, sometimes also known as the Five Ws and one H. A good report is supposed to answer five basic questions: What happened? Where and when did it happen? Who did it or was involved? Why did it all happen and how?

Needless to say, the answers to all these questions are expected to be factual. Note also that none of them can be answered with a simple Yes or No.

The first three are fairly obvious, although your perspective would certainly affect, to a greater or lesser extent, the way you describe what happened. That's why Indymedia does not attempt to take an 'objective' and 'impartial' standpoint, the way mainstream media do to conceal their biases towards capitalism's power structures.

In reporting on major events, such as wars and big mibilisations, who and why become a real issue. Driven by their "worshipping of certainty", mainstream media often make up for not having the answer by recycling governments propaganda. So words like "terrorists", "anarchists" etc. fill in the gap of who, while phrases like "mindless violence", "rouge states" and so on give a false impression of knowing why.

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