Readers Write: Journalism 101

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When I was in elementary school, we routinely turned in reports on current events as part of the social studies curriculum. To complete the assignments, we were taught to use the five Ws of journalism: Describe the who, what, where, when and why of the issue.

I’d forgotten all about that aspect of my youth until I read a short article on page B1 of the Town Crier’s March 23 issue entitled “Local farmer’s market resumes March 19.”

Right off the bat, there’s a glaring discrepancy in the “when” of the report because it uses the future tense to report on an event that had apparently already occured. This confusing disparity was further amplified by the omission of the operating times and whether the farmer’s market is (or was?) a one-time event, or will be on-going. And if so, for how long?

The article also leaves out the “where” of the happening. If the point of the piece is to drive potential customers to the market, they’ll need to know where it is. I looked for a correction in the March 30 issue of the Town Crier but didn’t find any (I apologize if it’s there and I missed it).

In any event, I’ve read the Town Crier every week for the past 22 years and I would give most of the articles an ‘A’ and a few of them a ‘B.’ This one, however, missed two of the five Ws so it only gets a score of 60 percent.

Is that a ‘D’ or an ‘F’? You decide.

Steve Chadwick
Fern Valley

Editor’s note: We appreciate Mr. Chadwick’s Journalism 101 advice and, of course, he is correct that key information was omitted in our article. We had tried calling Ms. Nunez a number of times to get that information but she did not respond.

When we did reach her recently, she apologized for not getting back to us.

We wrote the article Mr. Chadwick referenced, even without facts we had been seeking, so as to call attention to her March 19 first Farmers’ Market.

According to Nunez, whatever we wrote was enough for her to sell all but a few of her vendor slots. She thanked us for that.

Now for the details. The Farmer’s Market is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays, in the parking lot in front of the Town Baker and runs (weather permitting) through the end of November. The produce vendor will return the second week in April is out because of illness, but the event inlcludes live music.

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