Media: See news through the eyes of a child

For many, Newsround will evoke memories of childhood ambitions to be a 'press packer' and, for those of a certain age, the legendary John Craven. But its influence has not waned and it remains a crucial avenue to an audience surrounded by strict rules on how it can be approached by marketers: children.

The show itself has just had a revamp, with a new-look studio, new theme tune and three new presenters, bringing the total to five. Its 50 editorial staff produce 36 programmes each week, from the main BBC One 10-minute news show to shorter bulletins throughout the day. It also has an interactive site and twice-weekly Sportsround bulletins. The programme's heritage generates considerable goodwill, but its real power lies in the fact that it is still the only TV news programme for kids.

Newsround's shows are aimed strictly at six- to 12-year-olds. Satisfying this audience requires informative and entertaining stories, as well as a visually impressive presentation. But the stories work best when they come from children themselves.

'Think about how a story is relevant to an eight-year-old, and how a child can be involved in telling your story,' says Trimedia UK director Justin McKeown. He secured coverage for client BT Speaking Clock when the show ran a competition to find a child to become the temporary voice of the BT Speaking Clock. 'Their ideal story scenario doesn't involve adults at all,' he says.

Newsround's deputy editor Simon Goretzki agrees that access to kids is critical, but he is conscious that stories about adults are valued too. The recent US presidential race and US president-elect Barack Obama's victory was covered extensively by Newsround. 'The key thing to remember is that human stories bring the show to life,' he explains.

As ever, tailoring the message to the target audience is crucial. Goretzki criticises PROs who send general 'shocking' statistics for children, such as stories on underage drinking. 'We will report harder stuff as well as fun stuff, but it has to be accurate for the age group,' he warns. 'The majority of our audience are not getting smashed on street corners.'

What most of its core viewers do like doing is getting involved with the show and the organisations it features. In the minute after a 30-second Newsround piece on the BT Speaking Clock, the clock received more than 21,000 calls.

If you want to get 'down with the kids', look no further than Newsround.

QUICK FACTS

Viewing figures: One million a day for the 5pm bulletin on BBC One

Website: 40,000 daily unique users

Contacts

Research and planning department

newsround.planning@bbc.co.uk

020 8576 1555

A MINUTE WITH ... Newsround deputy editor Simon Goretzki

- What is Newsround's aim?

As well as informing young people, it is to bring them into the news. It needs to be a good watch, engaging and make kids want to come back.

- What makes a good story?

Kids doing amazing things, kids fighting against injustice or, to give a recent example, children's diets. We're looking for something that will make kids think, 'wow, I didn't know that'.

- What should PROs remember?

That we need to know about stories in advance because we need time to set things up. We can't go straight out and get vox-pops of kids in school because we need to get permission to film. This adds a day to the schedule.

- What misconceptions do PROs have?

Just because a story is about children, it doesn't mean they are interested. Changes to a school set-up will affect kids, but that is more for parents.

- What is the best time to get in touch?

The earlier the better, but our site is constantly updated so get in touch any time. Except when we are on air.

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