What Makes for a TOP Reporter?
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Oh, the Places You Can Go!

Young Reporter Alex Koss meets a burrowing owl at Liberty Wildlife, a rehabilitation center.
Young Reporter Alex Koss meets a burrowing

owl at Liberty Wildlife, a rehabilitation center.

Opportunity knocks—this could be your day. Be a Young Reporter and start right away! You’ll have a pen and pad. You get a press pass, too. Ask questions and write stories for kids just like you!

You’re not on your own. Bear is there with you. With editors and advisers, we’re your news crew!

Any kid in grades 2 through 8 can join Bear’s award-winning Young Reporters Program! It takes time and effort, but the benefits can be amazing. As a Young Reporter, your writing will improve as your stories are professionally edited and published regularly on the pages of Bear Essential News! 

1. Getting Started

Young Reporters choose the stories that they cover, which means your first job is to come up with a story idea. A good writer keeps his or her readers in mind. So ask yourself, will Bear readers be interested in this story? 

As a reporter, you are the eyes and ears of the newspaper. You can cover news that’s happening around you—at school, on your sports team or club, or in your community. Some of your best stories will come from things that really interest you.

2. When Being Nosy Isn’t a Bad Thing!

When it comes to digging up facts, being nosy is a good thing. Reporters can ask those in the know questions to get the facts they need. And they don’t back down from asking the tough question that’s on everyone’s mind.

As a Young Reporter, you’ll develop your “nose for news.” Like a bloodhound, you’ll be able to sniff out a news story from a mile away! And if you really love a challenge, consider becoming an investigative reporter. These tough journalists use their sources and good old-fashioned research to break important stories. Remember, a good reporter doesn’t give up just because a story might be hard to get!

3. Keep Up with the News

Many story ideas come from the news, so read the newspaper, watch TV news, listen to news on the radio and go online for ideas. Maybe your favorite singing sensation is coming to town, so set up an interview! Most news is written for adults, but keep an eye or an ear out for something you can turn into a story for young readers who are around your age!

4. Stick with the Facts!

Young Reporter Press Badge

In journalism, you gather the same facts every time—the 5 W’s & H, which stands for WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY and HOW.

Unlike fiction writing or creative writing, top reporters always stick to the facts for their news stories. You can gather the 5 W’s and H through research, by interviewing someone who’s in the know (like an expert in the field) or by covering an event firsthand (that means going where the action is).

5. Writing the News

The first paragraph of a news story is called the “lead,” which is where a good reporter grabs the reader’s attention.Play up the most exciting or hard-hitting facts in your lead. Or start with a question to intrigue your reader. Using humor can be a good hook, too!After you’ve gathered the 5W’s & H of your story, it’s time get writing! Keep your news writing simple and straightforward. Remember that young readers can have short attention spans, so you need to keep your words interesting and get to the point.

For subsequent paragraphs, go into other, finer details that are important to your story. Journalists call this the“inverted pyramid” style of writing, where the most important facts are up at the top of the story, and the less important details follow.

Bear’s First Cub Reporters

Young Reporter Bailey Todd interviews Danica Patrick!
Young Reporter Bailey Todd interviews Danica Patrick!


A cub reporter is someone who’s new to journalism. Bear Essential first published news stories written by kid reporters back in September 1981, when the Tucson-based newspaper expanded to schools in Phoenix!

This first batch of aspiring young writers covered all sorts of news. They shared stories about interesting school projects and events. They wrote about happenings in the community. Some enjoyed covering subjects like science, space or the environment.

Later, our reporters started landing big stories, like meeting the president, interviewing pro athletes, and getting to know movie stars and singing sensations!

And we don’t expect our Young Reporters to hand in perfect stories—after all, everybody has to get their start somewhere. With its very helpful editors, Bear Essential News is the perfect publication to get you started!

Get Your Young Reporters Sign Up Form Today!

Young Reporter logo

All new Young Reporters need to mail in a completed sign-up form that's signed by a parent. You can print out the form online by visiting here. Be sure to pick the tab at the top of the forms section that best matches where you live in Arizona.

Mail your completed and signed form to:


2525 E. Broadway Blvd., Suite 102 • Tucson, AZ 85716