My 10-year-old daughter has become a blogger! (Kudos go to her teacher; I never thought to introduce her to blogging myself.) No, you won’t find her posts out in the blogosphere; they are safely contained behind EduBlogs.org. But her class is engaged in a unit on blogging, and you can imagine that I’m delighted.
One thing that struck me was how many of the kids in her class post videos on their blogs. Video sharing has become an integral part of the digital native’s world, and it’s remarkable how engaged children are with the medium. Hardly a day goes by that Sarah doesn’t show me a video she discovered from someone at school.
At this age, kids are also getting more interested in news. I remember being introduced to current events by my 4th grade teacher. Could this be a teaching moment for the news industry?
I was looking over the web properties owned by a potential client today, and I noticed that they contained comparatively little video, and that the news agency itself lacked their own YouTube channel.
Now, when I was at DNAinfo.com we started with a heavy video element, but we eventually re-balanced the video against text, image, and interactives when we saw that our demographic wasn’t clicking video as much as we expected. I believe that every smart, forward-looking news agency has been looking at similar metrics.
But we may be missing an opportunity. Think about it: the next generation of news consumers are already keenly engaged with online video.
My daughter is a digital native. She thinks that NPR and The News Hour are boring. She won’t read newspapers. “They’re for grandpas” is a direct quote. No surprise, right? When I was her age I just read the comics section.
But she’s curious about the greater world around her, and it’s time to introduce her to online news sources. She needs a site that is rich with video and images and focused on the types of stories kids are interested in, including stories involving local kids (sports, community programs, theater, music, and other events).
News sites of course carry a lot of material that isn’t appropriate for a child, but it’s easy to create a separate news micro-site for kids. Here are some good models for kid-friendly reporting:
- CNN Student News for middle school kids and high-schoolers
- KidsPost from The Washington Post
- The Learning Network from The New York Times
- Scholastic News (I think this is one of the best)
There is a terrific list of news sites for kids here: https://theconnectedclassroom.wikispaces.com/News
These sites primarily serve national and international reporting. Local news agencies need to get involved too; they are missing a chance to reach the children of their community.
Anyone know of a local paper experimenting with an online kids channel?