Category: Objective Test
Type: Individual


60-minute test administered during the NLC.

Objective Test Competencies: Basic Journalism Principles; Economics and Business of Journalism; Grammar & Format; Law and Ethics; History of Journalism

Skills: This event recognizes FBLA members who demonstrate knowledge of the basic principles of journalism.


Objective Test

Objective Test Guidelines

  • No materials may be brought to the testing site.
  • Electronic devices must be turned off and out of sight.
  • No calculators may be brought into the testing site; calculators will be provided.
  • Bring a writing instrument.

The general event guidelines below are applicable to all national competitive events. Please review and follow these guidelines when competing at the national level. When competing at the state level, check the state guidelines since they may differ.


  • Dues: Competitors must have paid FBLA national and state dues by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on April 1 of the current school year.
  • NLC Registration: Participants must be registered for the NLC and pay the national conference registration fee in order to participate in competitive events.
  • Deadlines: The state chair, or designee, must register each state competitor on the official online entry forms by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • Each state may submit four (4) entries in all events except LifeSmarts, Virtual Business Finance Challenge, and Virtual Business Management Challenge.
  • Each competitor can only compete in one (1) individual/ team event and one (1) chapter event.
  • Each competitor must compete in all parts of an event for award eligibility.
  • A team shall consist of two or three members. Exceptions are Parliamentary Procedure which must be a team of four or five members, and LifeSmarts which must be a team of two members.
  • All members of a team must consist of individuals from the same chapter.

Repeat Competitors

Competitors are not permitted to compete in an event more than once at the national level unless one of the following circumstances applies:

  • Modified Events: A competitor may compete in the same event when the event is modified. Note, if the only modification is a name change, competitors may not compete in the renamed event.
  • Team Events: One (1) competitor of the team may have competed in the same event at one (1) previous NLC; however, they may not compete more than twice in the event at the national level.
  • Chapter Events: Competitors may compete in a chapter event more than once (American Enterprise Project, Community Service Project, and Partnership with Business Project).
  • Individual Entry: A competitor who competed as an individual entry in a team event at the national level may compete in the same event a second time as part of a team, but not a second time as an individual.
  • Parliamentary Procedure: Two (2) competitors of the team may have competed in this event at a previous NLC; however, they may not compete more than twice at the national level.
  • Pilot Event: Competition in a pilot event does not disqualify a competitor from competing in the same event if it becomes an official competitive event. The participant may compete in another event as well as a pilot event.

Breaking Ties

  • Objective Tests: Ties are broken by comparing the correct number of answers to the last 10 questions on the exam. If a tie remains, the competitor who completed the test in a shorter amount of time will place higher. If this does not break the tie, answers to the last 20 questions will be reviewed and determine the winner.
  • Objective and Production Tests: The production test scores will be used to break a tie.
  • Objective Tests and Performances: The objective test score will be used to break a tie based on the tie-breaking criteria of objective tests.
  • Reports/Projects and Performances: The report/project scores will be used to break a tie.
  • Performances: Judges must break ties and all judges’ decisions are final.

National Deadlines

  • State chair/adviser must register all competitors for NLC competitive events online by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • All prejudged components (report PDFs, resume/letter of application PDFs, and project URLs) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • All URLs and PDFs for prejudged projects and reports will be submitted by the state adviser via the competitive events registration form.
  • All production tests must be received at FBLA-PBL by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the third Friday in May.
  • All production tests must be uploaded online.
  • State chair/adviser may make name changes only (no additional entries) by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the first Friday in June. Competitor drops are the only changes allowed after this date and onsite.

National Awards

The number of competitors will determine the number of winners. The maximum number of winners for each competitive event is 10. Only one (1) award is given to the schools competing in chapter events (American Enterprise Project, Community Service Project, Local Chapter Annual Business Report, and Partnership with Business Project).

Additional Materials

Certain events may allow the use of additional materials. Please refer to event guidelines.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

FBLA‑PBL meets the criteria specified in the Americans with Disabilities Act for all participants who submit a special needs form.

Recording of Presentations

No unauthorized audio or video recording devices will be allowed in any competitive event. Participants in the performance events should be aware the national association reserves the right to record any performance for use in study or training materials.


General Competitive Events Tips
Event Tips
Sample Practice Materials

Format Guide

Website Resources
Basic Journalism Principles
1. Define journalism.
2. Understand common principles that determine newsworthiness of an item.
3. Explain how news values remain true year over year, regardless of societal changes.
4. Explain the basic questions used in news gathering.
5. Define the role of sources in journalism.
6. Understand how strong leads define a story.
Economics and Business of Journalism
1. Identify the major funding sources that impact journalism, journalists, and publications.
2. Examine the economic impacts of social media on the journalism industry.
3. Identify the funding sources that allow for publications and news reporting.
4. Identify shipping and receiving processes.
5. Explain the transportation systems and services (e.g., motor, rail, water, air) used in distribution.
6. Explain storing (e.g., cold storage, commodity, bulk) and warehousing options (e.g., distribution centers, public, and private) and procedures to store merchandise until needed.
7. Describe the methods of handling merchandise and inventory control.
8. Identify the education needed for different careers in journalism.
9. Understand the ranking structure and hierarchy of a journalistic environment.
10. Identify the potential salary opportunities for careers in journalism.
11. Identify the major funding sources for journalism.
12. Identify the major expenses for journalism.
13. Examine the economic impacts of digital and social media on the journalism industry.
Grammar & Format
1. Identify perspectives and how they are used in journalism.
2. Understand different types of abbreviations and how they are used correctly.
3. Understand what type of formats are used in different media sources.
4. Understand media terminology such as alliteration, onomatopoeia, simile, metaphor.
Law and Ethics
1. Identify major laws that impact journalism.
2. Understand the ethical boundaries most important to journalists, specifically when it relates to sources and sharing of information.
3. Understand the impacts of ethical decisions made by journalists on society and the individuals involved.
4. Identify major historical events related to journalism ethics.
History of Journalism
1. Explain the constitutional amendments as they relate to the practice of journalism.
2. Identify the major players in the history of journalism and what role they played in the industry.
3. Explain the role of journalists in war and battle.
4. Understand the history of the major players in the journalism industry and the impacts they have had.
5. Understand timelines and transitions in style, medium, and circulation of different types of publications.
6. Identify and understand different awards presented in journalism, including major recipients and milestones in the industry related to these awards.


NBEA Standards
  • Communication
Career Clusters
  • Arts, A/V Technology, & Communication


States may submit up to 4 entries.
Competitors must be registered for NLC and pay registration fee.
Competitors must pay dues by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on April 1.


Test: 1 hour