It is important to write news articles in your local paper. It is a great way to keep parents, leaders and community members informed about your club. It also promotes 4-H in your community to anyone that does not know or is curious about 4-H. News articles create club morale by recognizing members and leaders for all their hard work and accomplishments. It is a great way for members to feel proud of their efforts. It only takes a few minutes to type up your club’s activities and most newspapers are more than willing to report the local 4-H news. Here are some helpful tips on how to get started and a sample article is included for your interest.
Write or recap activities and experiences in your club. Remember you are trying to tell others about the 4-H program and how great and fun it is to be a part of.
- Promote all the upcoming events such as parties or trips that members or leaders will be attending.
- Use people’s names. Give members or leaders credit if they have done something spectacular. The club and its members should be recognized for their work. Double check to make sure you have spelled all names correctly.
- Peak the audiences interest by having a unique and strong lead sentence. This grabs the reader’s attention. Try starting off the article with an event that everyone enjoyed or skills a member learned while doing their 4-H project. An exciting title is also a great way to start a news article.
- Write in the 1st person, such as I, you, we and us. This makes the article personal and more interesting. Readers would rather read facts and experiences than an opinion.
- Try to answer the six basic questions in your article: who, what, where, when, why and how. This will guarantee that the article is written thoroughly with all the important information.
- Use complete sentences and simple vocabulary. Readers tend to skim lists if it is too long or too difficult to read.
- Keep it brief and to the point. Readers want something that is quick and easy. An article should be no longer than 250 words, or one page typed and double spaced. Newspapers only have a limited amount of space, and your article may be chopped or eliminated completely.
- Ensure you use correct punctuation, grammar and spelling. Have someone read it over before submitting it to the newspaper (computers do not catch everything).
- Avoid mentioning routine details like reading the minutes or repeating the 4-H pledge. These are redundant and the reader is not interested in this detail.
- Watch what you include. Some papers may not submit your article if include thank yous or upcoming fundraisers. There are usually special spots designated for these types of acknowledgements and advertisements. Check with your local newspaper regarding their rules and regulations.
- Write the article immediately following the meeting. If you do not write it now, you probably will not write it at all. The information is fresh in your mind and will be easier to write now than later down the road.
Sample News Article
Wow, what an exciting Riverside 4-H Club Christmas Party on December 20th! We all met at the Elmwood Care Home to sing some Christmas carols with the seniors. We then traveled to the Brown’s farm by sleigh-ride after singing carols throughout the town. When we arrived we roasted hot dogs over a bonfire outside in the snow. We headed inside to warm up with hot chocolate and started our meeting.
This month was the Beginning Chefs’ project group turn to speak about their projects and what they have learned so far. Sally Hunter and Ronny Manny mention they learned proper hand washing techniques. They also mention they learned the difference between wet and dry ingredients.
We had a guest speaker, Jack Parker. He talked on how to prepare a proper speech. I am sure this will be beneficial to us all when we go to write our speech for communications night in February. We finished the night off with games and cookies. Our next meeting will be January 18th at the bowling alley.