As another member of their peers earned his cutie mark, Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo became increasingly concerned about obtaining their own. However, Apple Bloom had come up with a plan. She was about to tell her friends about it, but she only had enough time to tell them that it had something to do with a newspaper.
Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo tried using the newspaper to pack boxes, help build bird nests, and build a paper boat, but all of their ideas ended in failure. It was not until the two of them met back up with Apple Bloom later that the little yellow filly explained her plan fully. She proposed that the Cutie Mark Crusaders should become journalists.
So, the three fillies decided they should write for the school paper, The Foal Free Press. They were not huge fans of the new editor, Diamond Tiara, but they were willing to put up with some uncomfortable management in order to obtain their cutie marks. The first few stories they came up with on the early history of Ponyville, birds building a nest, and Rarity's new hat, were not juicy enough for Diamond Tiara.
They finally struck journalistic gold when they produced an article on Snips and Snails getting stuck in a sticky gum situation. Not only was Diamond Tiara impressed with the story, but the entire school seemed enamoured with the article, written under the pseudonym "Gabby Gums". The editor demanded more gossip pieces from the three fillies, but the lack of juicy school happenings made the request difficult.
Sweetie Belle managed to come up with the idea of expanding their territory to include all of Ponyville when Rarity mentioned that she and her friends loved reading Gabby Gums' column. The idea worked, and the Cutie Mark Crusaders' stories about the Cakes' babies' breakdowns and Princess Celestia's colossal cake consumption made the paper a hit all over Ponyville.
However, the three fillies started to feel bad about making everyone's private matters public. They tried writing a column about Spike telling all about his life, but Diamond Tiara would have none of it. She only wanted the juiciest of gossip in the Gabby Gums column, so that is what the crusaders delivered.
Although Rarity and her friends were originally fans of Gabby Gums, when the column started revolving around false stories such as Applejack sleeping on the job and Rainbow Dash loving hooficures, their attitudes quickly changed. Rarity defended Gabby Gums the longest until she spotted an article about the contents of her own diary. To make matters worse, she found her diary in Sweetie Belle's bag, strongly suggesting that her own sister was the infamous Gabby Gums.
It did not take long for Rarity to confront her sister. Rarity lectured her about the importance of respecting others' privacy, but Sweetie Belle explained that she and her friends did understand that what they were doing was wrong. They were just doing it to get their cutie marks, but Rarity effectively argued that their destinies probably did not involve writing terrible lies about everyone.
So, the three fillies consulted Diamond Tiara about quitting. However, the editor knew how valuable that column was to the paper and had prepared for this crisis with some blackmail. Diamond Tiara had some embarrassing photos of the three young fillies that she threatened to publish should the Gabby Gums column cease to exist.
This put the crusaders in quite the conundrum. They tried surveying the town for some material, but it seemed that everyone now knew who they were and were not in the mood to help. Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle, and Apple Bloom retreated back to their clubhouse to think up a plan.
Right before Diamond Tiara was about to publish those embarrassing photos, the crusaders managed to cook up a Gabby Gums story. However, it was not filled with the usual gossip; it was actually an open letter to the citizens of Ponyville. The letter apologized for the pain the column had caused everyone in the past. It explained how the three of them had been swept up by the hype surrounding the column, and how the popularity of their writing encouraged the three to continue despite their guilt. The three fillies finished off the article by promising to respect everyone's privacy and not relay hurtful gossip in the future.
The article seemed to ease all of the hostility directed towards the three fillies, except from Diamond Tiara, of course. Miss Cheerilee stripped the filly of her editor position and placed the old photographer in charge. Diamond Tiara was stuck with the messy printing job, much to her chagrin.