Return to Journalism Merit Badge Page



Please arrive with ample time prior to the start time of your class for registration.  Remember there will be others checking in as well and depending on the size of the class and the event the class is being held in conjunction with that registration may take a little time.

You should bring a blue card filled out properly for this class. (Scoutmaster Bucky Online participants - you should have forwarded your Blue card to Scoutmaster Bucky prior to the class via email or postal mail Scoutmaster Bucky - 5724 Aldrich Avenue South  Minneapolis, Minnesota  55419.) If you are not familiar with how to fill out a blue card, you should familiarize yourself with Scoutmaster Bucky's "How To Fill Out A Blue Card" document. Click here for Scoutmaster Bucky's "How To Fill Out A Blue Card".  Remember it is a Scout's responsibility to take care of their own blue card from beginning to end.

Your Scout Uniform is required to be worn for attending this Merit Badge session.   If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact Brian Reiners; Scoutmaster Bucky via email or on the phone at 612-483-0665.

Reviewing the merit badge pamphlet PRIOR to attending and doing preparation work will insure that Scouts get the most out of these class opportunities. The merit badge pamphlet is a wealth of information that can make earning a merit badge a lot easier. It contains many of the answers and solutions needed or can at least provide directions as to where one can find the answers.  It is NOT acceptable to come unprepared to a Scoutmaster Bucky event.

You can (and should) use the Scoutmaster Bucky Journalism Merit Badge Workbook to help get a head start and organize your preparation work. You can download the Scoutmaster Bucky Journalism Merit Badge Workbook by clicking here.  If this link is not working please check the internet for other merit badge workbook options.

It should be noted that this merit badge class is not meant for those who just want to come and see what they can get done. It is possible to complete this merit badge by being properly prepared and having done the preparation work prior to the class. Preparation is a MUST.





Things to remember to bring for this Merit Badge Class:

1. Merit Badge Blue Card properly filled out and signed off by your Scoutmaster

2. Journalism Merit Badge Pamphlet

3. Scout Uniform

4. Writing instruments and paper, along with any other pertinent equipment necessary to complete their journalistic-style for the project requirements in Requirement 4.

5. Supporting documentation or project work pertinent to this merit badge which may also include a Merit Badge Workbook for reference with notes

6. A positive Scouting focus and attitude

Following is an outline of the class to help you prepare.  Note that Scouts will be signed off only on those requirements that the Merit Badge Counselor determines meets the requirements; no more no less  This Merit Badge should not be expected to be earned without preparation and work


1. Explain what freedom of the press is and how the First Amendment guarantees that you can voice your opinion. In your discussion, tell how to distinguish between fact and opinion, and explain the terms libel, slander, defamation, fair comment and criticism, public figure, privacy, and malice. Discuss how these matters relate to ethics in journalism.

Scouts should have this written out to show the counselor that some thought and research has gone into this requirement and Scouts should be prepared to discuss their findings.  Scouts will not automatically be signed off on this requirement just for attending as the requirement states that they must discuss a number of items and will be required to partake in group and/or individual discussion to obtain credit.

2. Do either a OR b:


1. All on the same day, read a local newspaper, a national newspaper, a newsmagazine, and (with your parent’s permission) an online news source. From each source, clip, read, and compare a story about the same event. Tell your counselor how long each story is and how fair and accurate the stories are in presenting different points of view. Tell how each source handled the story differently, depending on its purpose or audience.

2. Visit a newspaper or magazine office. Ask for a tour of the various divisions (editorial, business, and printing). During your tour, talk to an executive from the business side about management’s relations with reporters, editors, and photographers and what makes a “good” newspaper or magazine.


1. All on the same day, watch a local and national network newscast, listen to a radio newscast, and (with your parent’s permission) view a national broadcast news source online. List the different news items and features presented, the different elements used, and the time in minutes and seconds and the online space devoted to each story. Compare the story lists, and discuss whether the stories are fair and accurate. Explain why different news outlets treated the stories differently and/or presented a different point of view.

2. Visit a radio or television station. Ask for a tour of the various departments, concentrating on those related to news broadcasts. During your tour, talk to the station manager or other station management executive about station operations, particularly how management and the news staff work together, and what makes a “good” station. If possible, go with a reporter to cover a news event.

NO components for Requirement 2 will be covered in this class HOWEVER Scouts who can bring documented proof of completing any of these requirements will have an opportunity to share with the counselor their accomplishments and potentially be signed off on those requirements.  It is STRONGLY recommended Scouts interested in completing this merit badge bring their work for requirement 2a or 2b with to the class.  If the work meets the satisfaction of the merit badge counselor, (saying you did it is not enough, you need to bring proof), most counselors will sign off on the requirement.


3. Discuss the differences between a hard news story and a feature story. Explain what is the “five W’s and H.” Then do ONE of the following:

a. Choose a current or an unusual event of interest to you, and write either a hard news article OR a feature article about the event. Gear the article for print OR audio OR video journalism. Share your article with your counselor.

b. With your parent’s permission and counselor’s approval, interview someone in your community who is influential because of his or her leadership, talent, career, or life experiences. Then present to your counselor either a written or oral report telling what you learned about this person.

c. With your parent’s permission and counselor’s approval, read an autobiography written by a journalist you want to learn more about. Write an article that tells what you learned about this person and the contributions this person has made to the field of journalism.

d. Attend a Scouting event and write a 200-word article (feature or hard news) about the event. Use either the inverted pyramid style or the chronological style. Review the article with your counselor, then submit it to your community newspaper or BSA local council or district newsletter for consideration.

There are two parts to this requirement and Scouts have a couple of options to complete this requirement as a part of this class. All Scouts should make sure they formulate a written answer for the discussion on hard news and feature story.  All Scouts should also have notes prepared for explaining the "five W's and H".

For the other portion of this requirement, Scouts must choose one of the 4 components and complete it.  Scouts wishing to do preparation work can choose to work on Requirement 3a ahead of time.  For Requirements 3b and 3c, Scouts may choose to work on either of these at their own risk. The requirement does state that the counselor approval is necessary, and while it does not state that the counselor has to approve it AHEAD of time, it does still state that the counselor must approve.  Scouts choosing to do pre-class work on either 3b or 3c do so at their own risk with no guarantee of acceptance by the counselor.

Time will be allocated to refine work on this requirement for those Scouts attending having done preparation work for this requirement component.  Those Scouts arriving at the class without any preparation work started for Requirement 3a, 3b, or 3c will be assigned to do Requirement 3d in the class. The Scoutmaster Bucky Event will be the event that they will be writing about for this requirement with more detailed instruction provided to them on the day of the class.  Scouts will need to submit their article to their District Webmaster, Northern Star Council Communications Department, or their local community newspaper.  It is recommended that Scouts choosing to do this option at least come prepared with submittal information (address, email, etc) for the entity they will be forwarding their article to after the class.


4. Attend a public event and do ONE of the following:

a. Write two newspaper articles about the event, one using the inverted pyramid style and one using the chronological style.

b. Using a radio or television broadcasting style write a news story, a feature story, and a critical review of the event.

c. Take a series of photographs to help tell the story of the event in pictures. Include news photos and feature photos in your presentation. Write a brief synopsis of the event as well as captions for your photos.

For this requirement, Scouts should plan on whether they want to do written journalism, photo journalism, or video journalism, as a part of the class.  Whichever one they choose they should bring the appropriate equipment.  Scouts will be given Scoutmaster Bucky Press Passes and will serve as reporters at the event.  They will visit other merit badge classes happening at that time and compose their story based on the event.  These articles, photos, or videos may be posted on the www.ScoutmasterBucky.com website after the class is complete.

Remember to bring the appropriate equipment for completing this requirement.


5. Find out about three career opportunities in journalism. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.

Scouts should review this requirement and its components and be prepared to discuss.  It is strongly recommended that Scouts bring any notes or supporting documents they may have to help show the counselor that they have prepared for discussion of these items.


this page last reviewed and updated - December 2015