How to Write a Newspaper For Kids, By Kids

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Writing your own newspaper can be fun and can also make you some spending money! With a little time and effort, you can make a newspaper that other kids love to read.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Microsoft Publisher or a word processing program
  • $20
  • Empty glass jars with lids (spaghetti sauce jars work great)
  • A love for writing
  • You'll need a little money to pay for the first printing of your newspaper. Your parents may not want you using up all of their ink and paper, so if you're going to print it from home, you'll need about $5 for a pack of paper. You can also take your newspaper to a copy shop and get about 100 black-and-white copies for about $20.

    If you don't have any money to start with, ask your parents or other family for help. If you know anyone who owns a business, offer to put an ad for their business in your paper in exchange for money to print your first issue.

  • If you're using Microsoft Publisher, pick one of the "Newsletter Templates" to get started with. Play around with it for a while, so that you learn how everything works, and how to move things around to make your newspaper look a little different each time. The top part should look the same for every issue, but the articles and pictures should change.

    If you're using a different program, look around to see if it has newspaper or newsletter templates. If not, play with the program and see what you can do to make something that looks like a newspaper. Ask for help if you need it!

  • Write some articles. Write about things going on in your town or in your world. Ask some friends to help you - tell them you can't pay them for this issue, but that you'll put "by [their name]" on the article so that everyone can see it. If your newspaper sells well, put some of the money aside and pay the people who helped you out - this will get them to help you again in the future.

    If you have a digital camera or have a friend who has one, use it to take pictures to add to your newspaper. Just make sure the pictures look good in black-and-white, since printing color is too expensive.

    Always tell the 100% truth in every article - lying or telling rumors could get you in a lot of trouble.

  • Don't make your first issue too long. 2 pages, front and back, is long enough for your first try. When you're happy with it make sure you have a few things before you start printing:

    • A name for your newspaper that you came up with yourself. Search on the internet and make sure that no other newspaper has that name.
    • The price listed on the top of the first page of your paper, in very large numbers. 25 or 50 cents is a good price.
    • Your name listed somewhere as "Editor-and-Chief" and also in the "by" part of any article you wrote by yourself.
    • The month that you're printing the paper, such as "June 2009." Set out to make one issue a month to start out with, to give yourself lots of time.
  • Print your paper. If you're printing it at home, consider buying recycled paper instead of just regular paper. Your readers will appreciate that your paper is friendly to the environment! If you use recycled paper, make sure that your newspaper says somewhere on it "Printed on Recycled Paper" so that your readers know that.

    If you're printing at a copy shop, print out one copy of the paper at home to take into the shop. Don't bend it or get it dirty! Put it in a folder as soon as it's printed and dry, and make sure there are no typos or misspellings - it should be exactly how you want it to be, all done. Take it in, and make sure the copy shop knows how many copies you want, and that you want them in black-and-white. 50 copies should be enough for your first issue - you can always print more. Ask for a box for your copies, to keep them clean and neat.

  • Have a parent or other adult cut a slit in the top of a glass jar, big enough to fit a quarter or half-dollar coin. Print out a strip of paper that says the name of your paper and the price, and tape it onto the glass jar. Put tape over all of the paper, to make it water-proof.

    With your parent, go to businesses in your town or community. Take some copies of the paper and one of the jars with you. Ask the person at the counter if you can put your newspaper out on the counter to sell. Explain that it's a newspaper for kids, written by kids. Some people will say yes, some people will say no. Don't feel bad if they say no! If they have to ask their boss, give them your parent's phone number to call with an answer.

    Also ask the business people if they would be interested in putting an ad in the next issue of the paper. If you have a scanner, you can scan in any ad they would like and put it right in your paper. If you don't, tell them you need a high-quality graphic on a CD or emailed to your parents to put it in your newspaper. Figure out how much you want to charge for ads before you ask! $1 per issue is good for a small ad, $5 per issue for a medium one, and $10 per issue for a full-page one is good.

    Each month, go to all the places that have your paper and the jars, and collect the money from the jars and put out your new issue. This is also a good time to collect the ad money. Keep a notebook that lists all the places where you sell newspapers, and all of the places that you have to collect ad money, and how much.

  • Save the money that you earn! You will need some of it to print the next issue of your paper. You will also need some to pay friends to write articles for you, or to take pictures for you. Maybe you have a friend that can figure out how to make crossword puzzles or other games to put in your paper. Don't forget to pay yourself, too! Put some of your earnings in a savings account, so that it can grow.

Tips & Warnings

  • You'll get better with practice. Keep at it!
  • Include a mailing address where people can send "Letters to the Editor." If your parents have a Post Office box, use that, so that you don't have to use your home address. Print that address in your newspaper, so that people can write to you. Put any letters you receive in your paper, unless they are dumb or rude.
  • Have contests! Other kids love to send it stuff to art contests or writing contests, and you don't have to pay them if it's a contest.
  • If you put a game, like a crossword or wordsearch, in your paper, always put the answers in the next issue.
  • Don't deal with strangers without your parents with you.
  • Don't copy and paste articles or pictures from the internet or anywhere else. It is illegal to use pictures or writings that don't belong to you, or belong to someone who wants them in your paper.

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  • Photo Credit Newspaper Cat by doviende on flickr
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