• Traveling the world, creating photos and videos of news events…
  • Working with military units as a photojournalist covering world events and situations...
  • Using your camera, video camera, written words, or your own voice to tell the truth behind current events…

Do any of these activities sound like fun? If so, then this SPARK is for you!

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Exploring 4-H

Exploring 4-H Journalism

Spark Activity: Discover & Explore

WHAT topics are interesting you? Do you enjoy entertainment, the environment, science, everyday news? WHERE would you like to go? Do you want to cover local events or would you rather travel across the world? What communication MEDIUM do you want to focus on? Would you rather take photos, create videos, write stories, or be in front of a news camera? If you could cover three events/news stories or topics in the next three years, what would they be and what medium would you use?

Make a list of your interests – everything you love to learn about, tell others about, and with what medium. Do you like to write, talk, or create photos or videos? Reach for the stars and include EVERYTHING! From covering your local 4-H club events to international 4-H events and more! The sky is the limit.

Create your Wish List. Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? What is your ultimate goal? Do you want to tell the story of hikers crossing the Appalachian Trail, the decline of fishing in Alaska, the volcanic activity in Yellowstone National Park?

Create your road map to get there. Determine what knowledge, skills, and equipment you need. What do you already have or know how to do? What do you still need to learn? How can you earn the money to buy the equipment?

Look for events you want to cover! If you can’t find events, find a topic. Do research and create a news story about it. Find a local 4-H event that’s of interest to you. Contact the host and ask if you can cover the event, write about it, take photos or videos. After, share the story online! Don’t forget to make sure you have permission to post the media.

4-H Project Levels and Goals
  • Determine your interests
  • Create your Wish List
  • Create your roadmap – what you need to know, be able to do, and equipment you need
  • Learn what journalists do and the education required
  • Start simple and local and “grow” from there
  • Challenge yourself
  • Look to the future
  • Learn the different careers available to a journalist
  • Go on your lifetime adventure and cover stories about it
  • Contact organizations that hire journalists and learn about internship opportunities they offer
  • Share your story/report with local journalists and get their feedback
Put Your Project Into Action

Show Your Skills

  • Portfolio of stories that you’ve “written” through stories, photos, or videos
  • Website you’ve developed to tell a “story”
  • Display showcasing different types of careers in journalism

Service and Leadership

  • Work with local 4-H clubs to help tell their story to the public
  • Find a community cause or event that needs reporting; write a story, take photos, and submit it to the news outlets locally
  • Become a Teen Teacher and work with younger kids and teach them basic journalism skills
  • Work with other youth to create a fundraiser and be the journalist covering the event
  • Ask a local journalist to speak to a group of youth about their work and the importance of local news


  • Think of a topic you love; create a blog
  • Be a photojournalist, create relevant photos and sell them online
  • Become a ‘stinger’ for a local media outlet, reporting local events and happenings

Technology Connection

  • Create a free website using Weebly to create a website of your news stories, photos, and videos
  • Connecting with a Mentor
  • Check with your family, friends, or local 4-H staff to see if they know anyone in the industry
  • Reach out to professors at local colleges to see if they have a class you can visit


  • Visit your local 4-H website or contact your leaders to see what events are going on locally; cover the ones that interest you
  • Visit websites of local businesses you are interested in, contact the owner/manager and see what events are going on locally; cover the ones that interest you
reporter on site speaking into camera holding microphone
  • Reporter
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Social Media Coordinator
  • Freelance Writer
  • News Producer
  • Digital Strategist
Start a Conversation
  • What do you notice when you look at different media channels or businesses?
  • Do they cover events the same way?
  • If not, why do you think it’s that way?
  • Do you think the news is covering the event accurately and without bias? Why or why not?

4-H Spark Sheets are a collaborative effort of 4-H staff, volunteers, alumni, and teens from across Illinois. A big thanks to the many contributors and reviewers!