Old Hickory Council - Hanging Rock District

Troop 444: Journalism Merit Badge






  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.
  2. Do either a OR b:
        A. Newspaper and magazine journalism:
            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.
        B. Radio and television journalism:
            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.
  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
  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
  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.

Journalism Worksheets for use in working on these requirements

Boy Scout Oath

On my honor, I will do my best

To do my duty to God and my Country and to obey the Scout Law;

To help other people at all times;

To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

Boy Scout Law

A Scout Is...

A Scout tells the truth.
He keeps his promises.
Honesty is part of his code of conduct.
People can depend on him.
A Scout is true to his family, Scout leaders, friends, school, and nation.LOYAL
A Scout is concerned about other people. He does things willingly for others without pay or reward.HELPFUL
A Scout is a friend to all.
He is a brother to other Scouts.
He seeks to understand others.
He respects those with ideas and customs other than his own.
A Scout is polite to everyone regardless of age or position.
He knows good manners make it easier for people to get along together.
A Scout understands there is strength in being gentle.
He treats others as he wants to be treated.
He does not hurt or kill harmless things without reason.
A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop.
He obeys the laws of his community and country.
If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobey them.
A Scout looks for the bright side of things.
He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy.
A Scout works to pay his way and to help others.
He saves for unforeseen needs.
He protects and conserves natural resources.
He carefully uses time and property.
A Scout can face danger even if he is afraid.
He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at or threaten him.
A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean.
He goes around with those who believe in living by these same ideals.
He helps keep his home and community clean.
A Scout is reverent toward God.
He is faithful in his religious duties.
He respects the beliefs of others.