WHAT ARE JOURNALIST QUESTIONS?
“Journalist questions” are the “5Ws and the 1H”—who, what, when, where, and especially why and how. The who, what, when, and where are relevant to summaries while the how and why prompt you to examine the “so what?!” Use ideas from the text, your freewrite and your brainstorm and form them into questions. Through answering these questions, you can discover interesting information that you can use for writing.
WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT?
You may be asked to write about a topic or book, in which case you will need a means to generate the questions that most intrigue you. While who, what, when, and where questions are an effective means of gauging your comprehension, the why and how questions lend themselves to analysis, which is integral to any essay. After generating a list of questions, answer them. You may discover that a question generates multiple answers, some of them contradictory. Such controversy is often ripe for exploration and can lead to thought-provoking interpretations of texts. Answering complex questions is a way to form thesis statements.
HOW DO I CREATE THEM?
Look back at the text and then at your prewriting and think of the questions that were raised for you, or circle concepts or ideas you would like to know more about, and then form questions around them.
Here are some examples of the journalist questions using Douglass:
Who were the main advocates of slavery?
What were the writings that most affected Douglass?
When was the period in which Douglass lived?
Where was slavery the most prevalent?
Why was reading considered such a threat to slave-owners?
How did the slave-owners maintain control over human beings for so long?
In response to Chapter VII in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (or your most recently assigned text), create questions: