BBC Newsround – The Children’s News Bulletin
News for children
The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) television news programme Newsround is rather different to other news programmes. Newsround’ is a television news programme for children. In 1972, it was the first television programme of its kind in the World and many commentators gave it six weeks, but children took to ‘Newsround’.
Forty one years later, ‘Newsround’ has expanded from its original twice weekly bulletins and appears at five o’ clock each weekday afternoon, on the BBC’s children’s channel, with a format designed to appeal to its core audience. ‘It features the news in a very special way. It does not shy away from the issues and has reported the Vietnam War, the Hungerford Massacre, the challenger disaster and other tragic and horrific events in a way that children can understand, but it is never condescending or patronizing.
Television reporters say that explaining the Euro zone crisis on the Ten pm adult news bulletin, is much easier than writing the Newsround script. Reporters also say that ‘Newsround’ reporting is good discipline, since explaining news stories to children means that you must eliminate unnecessary jargon and verbiage yet still convey the story, without frightening children unduly. Reporting the news, on Newsround, means communicating the news to children in an interesting and accessible way.
‘Newsround’s’ first presenter, John Craven, said, in an interview at the time of the programme's birthday, that he chose to present the programme in a more casual, informal way, than adult news bulletins, by not wearing a jacket or sitting behind a desk, because he did not want to look like a teacher. John Craven knew that ‘Newsround’ was successful, when a friend telephoned him to say that his son had just told him about a news item featuring a sunken treasure ship, which divers had found. The father asked his son where he had seen the item and the lad said he had seen the item on “my news”. That is the programme’s true appeal; children feel that ‘Newsround’ is their own news bulletin.
For many years, after ‘Newsround began, there were no lunchtime news bulletins, Which meant that ‘Newsround’ broke many huge news stories, including the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul, the Space shuttle disaster and the Hungerford Massacre. Newsround broke these stories in its uniquely sensitive way.
This was rewarded recently when the British Academy of Film and Television Arts presented a special children’s BAFTA award to this very special news programme, recognizing its 40-year contribution to Britain’s children. John Craven, its first presenter, along with the writer and Newsround’s current presenter accepted the award on behalf of the Newsround team.
The programme goes from strength to strength it started with three people. It gave two short bulletins per week on BBC one (TV). It now gives bulletins every weekday across BBC1, BBC2 and the Ceebeebies children’s channel with a team of 40 people. ‘Newsround’ keeps children informed about the World around them, aiming to be a familiar friend, explaining why and how things happen. Many adults turn to 'Newsround' for clear explanations of confusing news topics. Newsround is a national treasure and it is fitting that at last it has been recognized for the excellent job it does.