Norwegian journalist Kristin Granbo joins Polis in October for a month to research the topic of how the way we report news for children is changing. For more information on this research project please contact Polis@lse.ac.uk or contact Kristin via @KGranbo
“Will you whip this story out on our website?”
The question came from my editor. Some news event had just occurred, and we saw the story plastered on every news site at home and abroad. I wasn’t sure if he’d heard his own words, but I was very surprised at the wording. We’d never “whipped” out any news story in our newsroom. A newsroom which should be home to well formulated, thoroughly explained stories that inform, but still dampen fear. We write news for children.
This got me thinking, how different have our stories become in recent years, and is the increasing coverage and shorter deadlines making us less able to tailor our news for a young audience?
This autumn I am ready to embark on a quest to answer these questions. I think it’s important to establish whether or not our news reporting has changed, to see if we still fulfill our original mandate.
I believe this mandate given to children’s news in BBCs Newsround in 1972, NOS’ Jeugdjournaal in 1981, SVTs Lilla Aktuelt in 1993 and later followed by many more throughout Europe, to explain news in words children understand and where journalists would dampen fear around current events, is as important as ever.
Yes, I think we can assume that children in 2015 are more media savvy and more experienced in both accessing and utilizing the ever increasing media universe that exist, but we still have to bear in mind that an eight-year old in 2015 still is not more clever, more mature or any more “news experienced” than an eight-year old in 2010.
Through surveys with journalists from all around Europe working with children’s news, analysis of stories comparing content in 2010 to 2015, and interviews, I will try to establish whether or not our priorities have changed. If so, what impact does that have on our reporting?
A report on this subject is to be published later this year/early 2016.
For more information on this research project please contact Polis@lse.ac.uk or contact Kristin via @KGranbo