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Brain Tools: Reporter’s Formula

One of the Simplest of Brain Tools

Reporter’s Formula is also called the 5 Ws and H. It is the simplest of brain tools used to quickly gain knowledge about an event or issue. Newspaper reporters use this formula to make sure they cover basic knowledge about a news story.

It is simply a matter of asking and finding answers to these questions:

1. Who?

2. When?

3. Where?

4. What?

5. Why?

6. How?

If the reporter can answer these five questions, he or she has covered the basics of the story.

What happened?

A 16 car wreck on the freeway. No one was killed, but an egg truck spilled thousands of eggs on the freeway.

Who caused the wreck?

John Smith.


The LBJ freeway in Dallas, Texas.


John Smith, ignoring  common sense while driving, veered into another lane and clipped the egg truck while he was texting.

When? During the morning commute.

How? The texter’s car clipped the back of the egg truck which overturned causing others behind to plow into the turck spilling eggs everywhere.

By answering these simple questions, you won’t leave out the basics of any story, situation, or problem. Of all the great brain tools at your disposal this is one of the easiest to use.

 Business Brain Tool for a Quick Analysis

Use this brain tool to get a quick read on a business problem.

What is the problem? Sales are decreasing.

When? Sales have been decreasing for the past two months.

Where? Is this happening all over, in certain regions of the country, or in certain cities?

Who? Is this happening to certain salesmen, but not affecting others? Are certain districts falling off in sales because salesmen have quit and not been replaced?

Why is this happening? Is this a seasonal problem? Is there a new competitor in the market? Was there a recent price increase?

How? How can this problem be solved?

So if you ever need a fast and easy brain tool to gather some basic information the Reporter’s Formula or 5 Ws and H, fit the bill perfectly. If the information is complex, using this simple brain tools formula can simplify getting basic information quickly.

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