Extra! Read All About It!

Who? What? When? Where? Why?

The words listed above are the 5 Ws of journalism. Wikipedia says there are five Ws and one H in basic information-gathering. Mr. Wikipedia says that these basic questions must be answered, if I am to successfully present a full and complete story.

Like many of you, I appreciate Mr. Wikipedia and often listen to his advice, but in this case, I think I’ll pass on the H. Today I’ve decided to just stick with the Ws.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking . . . “I wonder why no H?”

Then you thought . . . “I wonder if he has something against Hs?”

Then you probably went on to think . . .“What could an H have done to make Tom want to drop it from his line of questioning?”

As you start to completely lose your grasp of reality, you think . . .“What am I  M I S S I N G ?” “Why is Tom refusing to ask the H question?”

Well, there are actually many childish and somewhat immature responses I could give, such as. . . “You need to SIMMADOWNAOW! (See link for correct pronunciation.)

After you settled down, I’d suggest that . . . “You have WAY too much time on your hands. I mean WAY, WAY too much time.”

Then I’d tell you . . . “Don’t be silly. H has never done anything to me.” (Well, there was that time back in 1983, but I won’t go into that here.)

Then I’d go on to say . . . “If you have this much time on your hands, you should consider taking up quilting.”

You know what they say about idle hands . . .

Because we are BFFs, I need to be honest and upfront with you. I decided not to use the H question for design reasons. I felt that the H broke the rythm of the headline and I just couldn’t deal with it. I also felt confident that I could tell this story without H’s help.

The way I look at it, the Ws are like the Jackson 5 of questions. The W’s are the best of the best. They’ve got style, grace, rythm and a whole lotta flare. They really don’t need ANY help from that wannabe H.

If you’ll recall, the Jackson 5 didn’t need Latoya’s help to sell a million-bazillion albums, so I figure the Ws don’t need H’s (outta tune, headband wearing, wouldn’t have a career if it wasn’t for her brothers) assistance to cover all the questions.

Nope, . . . they can do it all . . . they’re superstars!

Yessirebob, . . . they’ve got it covered . . . like Perry Mason on a donut.

No loose ends here . . . Nope, . . . no . . . loose . . . ends . . .
(Damn you Mr. Wikipedia for sewing your seeds of doubt.)

Okay, I confess. I was a little concerned after I removed the H from the list of questions. I contemplated the H’s removal for hours—seconds actually—and was left wondering if its removal would spoil my chances of winning a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting.

I know. I know. I said I’d come to terms with not using it, but . . . Latoya . . . Jackson 5 . . . successful . . . no help needed . . . H didn’t matter . . . blah, blah, blah. I know. I said it—but I still had this nagging feeling.

I sat and stared at the headline, looking for an answer to my predicament—that didn’t include H. The headline needed something to complete it. It needed a special something that would give you and the Pulitzer Prize committee confidence that I had answered all the questions in my story—including the H.

The headline needed to be a visual acknowledgment that the highest levels of editorial integrity had been reached. It needed something that would give you—and them—the confidence to know that every stone had been turned and no question had been left unanswered.

What elaborately constructed visual tool could I use to convey these complex and convoluted ideas? What Rube Goldbergesk mechanism could I use that would fully illustrate the multilayered and multifaceted—yet sketchy details—to my readers?

That’s when it hit me. The answer was staring me right in the face . . . buttons.

“Why buttons you ask?” To that question, I would have to reply (Visualize my head tilting back slightly and an accompanying chortle.) . . . “Why not buttons?”

Whew, thank goodness I resolved that issue. Now we can go on with the story.

What? It’s not resolved for you? Really?

It doesn’t even make sense? . . . Hmmmm . . . That’s ashamed, because it made complete sense to me. Oh well, . . . whatcha gonna do?

Are you getting upset again? Now, don’t do that. Let’s just drop it. Remember, I have a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative report I’m trying to write, so I need to get started.

Okay . . . Now where was I? Oh, I know . . .

Because I am  a likely Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist—and this is REALLY BIG NEWS—I thought I should cover the story like a true reporter—and not ramble on like I usually do.

(10 minutes have passed.)

I’m sorry. I was getting a little teary-eyed. It’s just . . . It’s just . . . This is such an important moment for me, I’m starting to get chocked up. I sincerely appreciate you being here. You are my ROCK. Thanks for letting me lean on you. You really are the BEST BFF EVER!!!!!

Okay, I think I’m ready.

Oh, . . . wait a minute. Before I get started, I need to check my notes. I don’t want to do this wrong. A Pulitzer prize is hanging in the balance.

(10 minutes have passed. I’m a slow reader.)

Whew . . . sorry about that. I’m so nervous. Is it hot in here?
Gimme a second. I think I’ll check the thermostat. Must be 110-degrees in here.

(10 minutes have passed. I’m a slow thermostat reader.)

Okay, I’m back! (I’m taking a deep breath.) Now, I think I’m FINALLY ready to begin.

The first question Mr. Wikipedia says I must answer is  . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This concludes Part 1 of my ground-breaking investigative report.
Stay tuned for more seam exposing details.


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16 Responses to “Extra! Read All About It!”

  1. Kathy Colvin Says:

    Okay, that is a really evil cliffhanger! Do you know what it does to your readers? What a way to begin the weekend!

    Can’t wait to hear the breaking news…..

    • Tom Russell Says:


      I don’t know what you’re referring to. I did everything Mr. Wikipedia said to do. I guess I need to go back and reread his instructions.

      I must have missed something. I’ll have to go and review my notes. Are you sure I didn’t follow the rules?

      Oh never mind. I trust you. Give me a minute and I’ll try again.

  2. Penny Says:

    That is so hilarious….. toss the H and get on with it! Ohh, and simmadownaoh is an SNL BEST!!! Loved Sheri O. the best as the cheerleader with Will Ferrell!!! Look, I am trying to give you a compliment and I digress…. 😉 Can’t wait to see the next installment…. tgif!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Penny, Get on with it? I thought that’s what I did. I’m confused.

      I’m sure Mr. Wikipedia has some sage advice that will help me get my reporting on the right track. I’ve scheduled a conference call with him for later today. I’m sure he’ll have a few pointers I can use.

      I love Cheri too. The cheerleaders were some of the best SNL characters EVER!!!

  3. jayardi Says:

    • • • And yet …

    YOU, still haven’t told us a thing.

    tsk, tsk, there goes your Pulitzer.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      What? I wrote almost a thousand words—and you didn’t l learn anything new?

      What? You mean NOTHING new?

      Hmmmmm . . . I need to read the article again. Maybe I forgot to answer one of the W questions. Give me a minute or two and I’ll get back with you.

      Oh, I don’t know . . . I think there is already some Pulitzer buzz surrounding this story. Just look at the comments I’ve gotten so far.

      Oh yeah, people are talking. 🙂

  4. Thearica Burroughs Says:

    Who: One of Us!!
    What: Sharing Your Button Haul!
    When: In 7 days!
    Where: Right here on your blog!
    Why: Cause you LOVE us!!! That’s WHY!!


    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Thearica, Well said.

      You are correct. The buttons shown are some of the new ones I received from Mom and Bill.

      You are right again . . . Because I LOVE you.

  5. Dot Collins Says:

    you are so funny!! You are definitely my favorite author!! Dot

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Dot! I’m glad that a hard news story like this can still make you smile.

      As I write this note, I can see your smile as clear as day. If you know anyone on the Pulitzer committee, please send them a link to my blog.

      I think they will be left speechless by my thought-provoking initial coverage.

      Hope you have a wonderful day. Stay cool.

  6. Jackie Says:

    No Way! No Sir! You Did Not……Get me soooooo ready to ….
    (visualize this…Me leaning over my computer, contemplating a bib for drule safty. My face 2 inches from my monitor.CRACKING UP out loud (cops on donuts…too funny!) when I put my right palm on the right side of my chin and just as I get down to the thermostat, pulling my left palm up to position it under my left chin, WHEN…….I missed the desk and YOU Mister you LEFT ME HANGING ! ONCE AGIN !) you truly have a gift of GAB. love you !

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Well, hi there. It’s so good to hear from you.

      I can visualize all of that. Thanks for sharing the laugh with me. You are too funny.

      I miss seeing your smile. We need to get together some time. Are you going the next guild meeting? Maybe we could have coffee one day or better yet . . . cheesecake.

      Lemme know when you have some free time. I’d love to see you.

  7. jessica Says:

    Wait a minute…! Get back here, Tom, and share MORE! lol

    I won’t sleep tonight… I just know it!
    …who, what, when, where, why.
    …who, what, when, where, why.
    …who, what, when, where, why.
    … and, no H?…??

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Jessica, Get back here? I don’t know what you mean. I wrote almost a thousand words. I’m sure I covered some of those Ws.

      Really? You mean I didn’t cover any of them in this full-frontal, no-holds-barred, exposé?

      Hmmmmm. Maybe I need to reread the article. Are you sure? I mean, really sure that I didn’t tell you any news?

      Mr. Wikipedia is going to be so mad at me.

      I NEED to fix this now! Jayardi may be right. My Pulitzer is in jeopardy. I MUST FIX THIS!!!!!!!!!!!

      (Visualize me running around in circles screaming like my hair is on fire.)

  8. jessica Says:

    You are so funny!

    And now, after a good night’s sleep, I got it! You are right ( even write…lol) … it is very BIG NEWS!!! (insert fireworks here!)

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