Guest Post by Judy Douglass C2012

Questions are bread and butter for a journalist.

In my years of journalism training and experience we had six specific questions drilled into us:  the five W’s and an H.

First we had to get the facts:  Who, What, When, Where.

Then we moved on to the most important question:  Why?

And sometimes we asked the H question:  How?

When reporting, it is important to get the facts right, and to seek to understand not only what happened, but why.

The same is true in the rest of life:  in families, with friends, with coworkers, as leaders.

Before we jump to conclusions or make decisions, we need to ask some questions.

Who?  Who is involved?  Who is affected?  Who else might shed light?

What?  What happened?  What led up to it?  What are the results, outcomes, consequences?

When?  Though this is not always needful information, it is good to ask.  When did this situation begin?   When did it become a concern?  When did efforts to resolve it begin?

Where?  Also not always essential, but sometimes knowing where things happened, where the people involved were can be helpful for resolution.

Why?  Don’t skip this one.  Make the effort to go deeper, to understand motives and actions and emotions.  Let people express their own thoughts and responses—the why’s as they see them.

How?  In resolving interpersonal situations, how is important.  First, how did this happen, or get to this point?  What led up to the current reality?  And then, how do we resolve this, move forward, find a win-win?

Though I rarely report on news stories now, I use these questions every day.  With my family, in my ministry, in every day relationships and decisions, who, what, when, where, why and how enable me to live in reality and relationship.

What about you?  Do you get the facts, the why and the how as you make decisions?

Judy Douglass is a writer, speaker and encourager.  She partners with her husband, Steve, to lead Campus Crusade for Christ International.  A former magazine editor and author of five books, Judy travels the globe to love and encourage staff to believe God for the more He wants to do in and through them.  She writes at Kindling ( and tweets @Jeedoo417

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3 thoughts on “Do You Have All the Facts You Need?

  1. Jann says:

    So good to be reminded of these questions. Great post by Judy! I have learned so much from her and feel grateful for all the input she has had in my life and others through her writing and speaking! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hats off to Judy and Jann! I have learned so much from both of you!

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