Communicating news to young people

We often find that news outlets try to widen their target group by extending their reach to younger audiences. However, not all organizations make their programs relatable to children between the ages of 8-12. A panel on “communicating news to young people”, led by Lucy Marcus, moderator and CEO of Marcus Venture Consulting, Mathew Ingram, writer of Fortune Magazine, Jeff Jarvis, journalist and associate professor at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, and Maximilian Wolff, a professional 10 year old, encapsulates the issues we face today to get young people engaged in current events.
The idea for this panel was originally conceived when Lucy consulted the panel topic with Max, and he said they should do a panel about news and kids. The panel was intended for children, parents, journalists and editors hoping to understand how children receive their news and how they perceive the world around them. Max gave us his perception on news and current affairs from a 10-year-old stand point.
The way that Max receives his news is through traditional TV broadcast and online platforms: CNN, BBC, the Guardian, the New York times, and the use of satire to present news (such as the Daily Show, the Colbert report). The problem with news catered for kids, he stated, was that the programs were usually ‘dumbed down’ and didn’t actually delve into the real issues. While other times, news broadcasters used graphic content to capture the audience’s attention, which could be extremely disturbing and inappropriate. He wished that news organizations could find a way to balance the two aspects so that kids from a younger generation could also stay tuned in with current events.
Jeff Jarvis posed a question to Max, asking him how kids these days trust the news? Max replied he only trusted news organizations that were well-known and cited by reputable site. There is an abundance of information floating around the internet and social media platforms, however, young people do not have guidance to interpret all the information. Mathew revealed that back in the day, there was a time when teachers would assign students to bring in one news topic to share with the class. Max agreed that this regular introduction to news in a classroom setting would be helpful for young people to get engaged and in tuned with what’s going on in current affairs.

By Irada Yeap