Sinead Rocks by dandanhuanghuang


									Sinead Rocks
Editor Newsround, BBC

Obviously the problem of aging news audiences doesn’t directly impact on
Newsround, so what does this issue mean to you?

I think Newsround is still the top rated children’s programme and although a large
proportion of its audience is adults it’s still the top rated children’s programme by
children, so we don’t have the same issues that everybody else is facing. But an
issue that we have faced in the last few years is aging down of our services.
CBBC used to be slightly less defined in terms of audience age focus but now it
is essentially 6-12 year olds. So we always saw ourselves as playing a role
where we were sort of creating the audience for tomorrow for adult news, but
now what’s been happening, over the past year roughly, is that our audience is
outgrowing us but there’s no BBC service for them to graduate to. So I’m really
keen to see how the new Teen service plays out and if that can act as a bridge.

I think the issue is that when the audience outgrows us, at, say, 13-14, they are
getting their media in many, many different ways and I think that is a large part of
the problem. I don’t think it’s as simple as, speaking from the BBC perspective, of
main news not making news that’s appealing to young people. I think the other
side of that is that teenagers are used to getting information in many different
ways, from the web or from mobile content and things. So it’s also about the
platform of delivery, which I’m not sure has been properly addressed. Obviously
the main news puts its content out in every which way you could possibly want it
but maybe this teen news will address it with more appropriate content for young
people put out across these different platforms.

If young people are getting their news from other media does it really
matter if they’re not watching television news any more?

I don’t think it does matter. As somebody who works for the BBC I’d rather they
got their news from the BBC but I think that research shows that older people
turn to the BBC in times of crisis, if it’s one of those events that captures the
mood of the nature then people turn to the BBC, but there’s a danger of losing
that as time goes on. So I’d rather that young people got their news from reliable
news sources like BBC, ITN, Sky, but I don’t think it matters that they’re not
getting it from traditional terrestrial television. I think news organisations have a
responsibility to put content out there so that consumers – and I do call them
consumers – can have it whenever and wherever they want it, that’s a fact. I think
it’s naïve if you think you can have a special week on News 24 and think you’re
going to start bringing in a younger audience.

Traditionally young people have turned to news as they get older. What
people seem most concerned about is that threat that, as you’ve
mentioned, they won’t do that anymore.

Yes it is a worry. But we’ve just done a big survey of children in our age group [6-
12] and I think one of the main findings of it is relevant in the older age range as
well, and that is that young people care about news that effects them first and
foremost, so if they don’t have mortgages and they don’t have children, maybe
they don’t have a car and they don’t have a pension, a large part of traditional
news content doesn’t necessarily appeal to them. So I think tailoring news for
different age groups is really the way to go. I think there is an appetite for…I think
young people don’t feel particularly well represented, they don’t see people like
themselves on the news necessarily, they don’t have these issues that dominate
the news as big parts of their lives. So I think if there was news that was more
tailor made for that particular age group I think the interest would be there.

The general thinking seems to be that the way to attract younger viewers is
not so much by changing the agenda of existing core news bulletins but by
creating more niche programming.

I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think Newsround shows that it’s been incredibly
successful and I don’t think many news organisations would be brave enough to
risk alienating such a huge part of their audience for what is essentially quite a
fickle and fragmented audience, so I think that tailoring news services is the way
to go.

Is that a change in thinking then in terms of the strategy?

I think it’s been a slow evolution of thought processes. People realised this as a
problem quite late in the day when patterns had changed. I also think that people
have tried to make adult news, for want of a better expressions, slightly quirkier,
they’ve tried to simplify story telling and they’ve tried to get more diverse range of
faces on the screen, so I think there have been small things that people have
done for a younger audience but I think now the realisation is that that’s not
enough. That’s where I think the BBC’s teen service comes in; putting news as
part of their remit is very interesting because it’s obviously a multi-platform
proposition and I’m not an expert in it by any means but my understanding is
they’re going to have news as part of that three hour television block. So saying
you’re going to have 10-15 minutes of news in that is quite a significant decision
to make. So I think this will be the next big experiment to see if this is a way of
bringing that age group back in.

It’s become a common refrain to hear people say we need to redefine news,
that young people don’t of news in the same way that older people do. How
do you define ‘news’?

Well I suppose for us news is essentially…we had a brainstorm session a few
months ago and someone came up with ‘stuff you need to know’, as simple as
that. In Newsround I suppose it aims to give information on the world as a whole,
information on how to understand the world around you if you are a child but also
for us it’s about our audience being able to tell us and others about the issues
that matter to them. That’s always been an issue for us about moving away from
us setting the agenda to it being a much more collaborative process with the
audience where we can be equally guided by things they let us know about. We
can go out to schools every week and read the thousands of emails we get every
week but we are still not 9 and 10 years olds and some of our best stories are the
ones we wouldn’t even consider being an issue but they’ve been highlighted and
brought to our attention. So the big shift for us, and I think this is of equal
importance to 16-24 year olds, is providing a forum for young people to make the
news themselves and dictate the agenda and then equally to influence how the
news is treated and presented in terms of how it is conveyed. I think we’re
dealing with a very media savvy and media literate age group and frankly some
of the way news is presented bores them. They can go out and make their own
films and tell their own stories and I think news needs to move to a place where
that becomes much more of a process than us swooping on someone’s doorstep
and doing it all ourselves. It’s just the whole user generated content side of

User generated content and interactivity is generally seen as a growing
factor in news. Where does that leave the traditional TV news bulletin that
presents the ‘events of the day’ that its editors have decided you should
know about?

I think there will always be a market for people who don’t sit watching News 24 all
day or sit browsing Sky’s website all day, there will always be a need for
someone somewhere to summarize and package up the news so that you can
end your day feeling confident that you know what’s happened. And I don’t think
[viewers] over analyze who made that decision, who made that decision of what
they should know and what should be left out. But being able to choose what you
want to watch, in terms of websites that break a story down into individual
packages and then you can watch them in whatever order you want and more AV
content on websites, means you can create your own 10 O’clock news if you
have all this and then you’re self selecting what it is you’re interested in and what
you’re not interested in. At the same time that’s dangerous from a public service
point of view.

Is it a worry then that people are increasingly able to construct their own
news world, news bubble, to be in, they can filter out what they don’t want
to hear about?

It’s the other side of giving people what they want when they want it. I suppose
you can say, who are we to make decisions for people with fragmenting
audiences? You have to have both. You have to have the ability to give the
audience who just want to have a more passive experience of news, you have to
give them that, but at the same time you have to cater for the fact that more and
more people have busier lifestyles, they want to catch up on something and they
don’t necessarily want to sit through a business report or maybe they’re not
interested in sport. So you kind of have to be able to cater for all sorts of markets.
People aren’t an homogenous group of like-minded, like thinking populous and I
think perhaps there are too many people doing news in the same way. That’s
what we probably need to move more towards.

The general news format seems to be very conservative, very slow and
resistant to change. Is that a particular problem when it comes to attracting
younger viewers?

Perhaps news should be thought of in the same way as other programmes.
Channel 4’s documentary style as a rule differs wildly from Five’s, they could both
be doing the same subject but they’d both treat it very differently and people will
chose to watch one or the other. You can’t have a one size fits all approach to
news and in the past perhaps there has been a one size fits all approach. I know
I have a very open minded audience on Newsround and that takes a lot of heat
off me in that respect. The main news has other problems. The majority of it’s
audience is very conservative and traditional, in terms of the BBC, and they can’t
afford to start wearing multi-coloured jump suits and start jumping around or
having presenters with dreadlocks and tattoos and muscle tops because they
also have to balance that with the gravitas and the authority that people expect
from the BBC. It doesn’t mean the BBC can’t make a different kind of news
programme to appeal to different people but it’s not necessarily about changing
the 10 o’clock or the six or one o’clock. You’re talking about a niche audience so
you probably need a niche programme.

One of the main things that young people say when asked what they don’t
like about television news is that they don’t like the way they, people like
them, are portrayed. They say they’re always part of a bad news story.

 Absolutely, and I think the young people have a point there. Invariably the only
time you hear stories about young people it’s about ASBOS or hoodies or anti-
social behaviour, and I think a problem for young people is they can’t watch the
news and see stories or people who look like them, who seem to have lives like
their lives. I think news is trying to address that, I know Sam [Taylor] and Kevin
[Bakhurst] have tried to do things in and around that area, and it is tricky because
news by its very nature prefers stories about ASBOs and hoodies and anti-social
behaviour. But I think it could be rectified in terms of the on screen talent.
Wouldn’t it be great to have younger people on some of these flagship
programmes and probably, and this is maybe an unfair comment because I
haven’t been over there in a while, having a younger workforce who are able to
argue the case for young people in senior editorial meetings and bring that
different perspective to things.

The traditional journalistic response to the bad news complaint is that it’s
the job of new to simply say what’s happened and not worry about the
cumulative impact of that, or try to balance things.

I think people do need to take a look at the long-term effects and trying to redress
a balance. For every kid involved in gun crime there’s a kid trying to stop it. I live
not far from Brixton and they regularly have anti-gun and anti-knife rallies and
there are stacks of teenagers there. I think there is a responsibility to address
things like that. Whenever I speak to young people and I ask them their attitude
to news the first thing they say is it’s boring and the second thing they say is it’s
nothing to do with my life. You need to bear that in mind and really think about
what that actually means for creating content.

The other argument is that news is generally bad news and it’s the same for
everybody. Do you think young people get a particularly bad deal?

I think it goes back to that point that news is usually bad news and is very often a
snap shot of extremes. If it was about the mundane it wouldn’t make the news.
But yes I think they do [get a particularly bad deal] because I think it’s
exacerbated by the fact that within a particular news programme they're probably
not going to see anyone near their age, they’re probably not going to see anyone
who isn’t wearing a suit. So it helps heap on that alienation if you like, so it’s not
just that one negative story it’s that within the context of that programme it’s not
balanced in any way with something that is more inclusive or appeals to them. So
I think it’s one thing on top of another really.

How do very young viewers to Newsround think of news, what does the
concept mean to them at that age?

They think it’s stories about the world. They don’t put it in a framework of ‘the
news’. They think it’s short stories about real life. I mean Newsround being is
aimed at 6-12 year olds and a six year old’s understanding is vastly different
from a 12 year old’s, but they just think it’s stories about the world really.

Some of our research has shown that there’s a real interest in crime, it came out
as the top thing that kids are anxious about and worried about, more than
terrorism and more than war. It surprised me. Yet a few questions down on the
survey what they were most sick of hearing about on the news was crime.

There definitely is an awareness there that what is reported on the news can
have a direct correlation with their lives for the audience and I hope they’re not
getting a fear of crime from any of our output because we try and present and
portray our stories in as reassuring a way as possible but they are able to pick up
that crime is an issue in the UK and they are subsequently worried about it.

They’re worried about it from a personal point of view, how it might effect

Personally worried, yes.

But presumably they won’t generally have had any experience of crime
affecting their own lives?

Yes, they’re picking that up directly from the media.

I understand that the Newsround audience is skewed more towards girls
than boys, the opposite of adult news.

CBBC as a whole is a female skewed audience but I’m not sure you could
interpret from that that more girls than boys are interested in news. I think it’s
more to do with the fact that on the CBBC channel that’s the way the audience is
skewed and similarly on BBC1 we’re in between CBBC and Neighbours both of
which are skewed in that direction.

It’s generally thought that younger viewers are more interested in being
interactive with television, what percentage of Newsround viewers get
involved in that way?

Percentages are hard to say. The press pack club currently has around a quarter
of a million members, some of them will be through doing a school project and
they may have joined as a class but I think there is more of an appetite for active
news experience than ever before. Our website gets an awful lot of traffic
although some of it might be just to play games. It’s’ not necessarily an
immersive news experience but contact with the audience, whether it be emails,
or phone or story suggestions goes up steadily month-by-month.

I think we’re very good at keeping in touch with our audience. We hear from them
every day via email but everyone has to go out on school visits as often as
possible across the UK and talk to kids. If we wrote something that was
patronising we would have hundreds of emails within 30 seconds of the
programme coming off air. We have a very vocal audience, which is great
because they feel they can tell us off or chastise us. That’s a great position to be
in because they clearly feel that it’s theirs and they feel that sense of ownership
so they can tell us off when they need to.

Yes well I think [adult] news has changed in that respect over the last few years.
People from [adult] news have been speaking to us now for the last 18 months
about the way we do things. There’s been a renewed interest in the way
Newsround does things and I think it comes down to news trying to make
themselves more accessible and remember that they’re writing a script for an
audience rather than writing a script for other journalists. I think news went
through a phase where it was about saying ‘look how much we know’ and I think
they, certainly the BBC adult news, they’re now getting to a place where their
saying this is the story, how do I convey this story in the best possible way, so I
think news has changed in that respect.

Well look how often the BBC in the past few years has been accused of dumbing
down. That’s the knee-jerk reaction every time they do something differently. It’s
not a blanket thing across the BBC, you’re not suddenly going to get the World At
One suddenly telling their stories in a different way but I think in TV news
different production techniques are being employed, some reporters have
become, have been allowed to become, much more personable, like Richard
Bilton, they’re moving, not drastically, but they’re moving away from intro VT
there’s more use of different creative treatments I suppose.

Newsround has catered for audiences up to 12 but there’s no news
programming at the BBC or anywhere aimed at the teenage audience. Is
that because teenagers are a particularly difficult age group to make news
programmes for?

Us aging down was more to do with the fact that CBBC as a channel was aging
down and it was to do with the BBC becoming more focused on what services it
was providing. It affected us in terms of, quite subtly, story selection. Stories
about GCSEs are probably not relevant anymore because if you’re 12 you’re
three years away from that. So we still have 13,14,15, 16 year olds watching us
but they probably wouldn’t admit it to their friends. Our stories are more focused
now at 10 year olds, 10 to 12 year olds, so there would just be less for teenagers
to identify with in the sense that some of our subjects or our take on certain
subjects may be seen to be babyish for them. However, they would still probably
turn to us for stories like the Finland school shooting. When we’re doing straight
news things they probably wouldn’t have the same turn off factor but if we’re
doing a story about heelies, the trainers with the wheels in, a 16 year old is
probably not going to be particularly fussed on that.

Does it just become too ‘uncool’ to be interested, or be seen to be
interested, in the news after a certain age?

My interaction with the audience is that young people love knowing stuff and
telling people things that they don’t know, it’s this cache of having nuggets of
information that you can pass on and I think that information is just as likely to be
news as it is to be about the latest reality TV programme. I think there’s also a
certain cache to having an understanding of things that perhaps your friends
don’t have. I don’t know that news is ever cool though so I don’t know if it’s
become more cool or less cool. If you’re trying to be cool you’re never going to
boast about watching the news but it doesn’t mean you won’t watch it. Someone
I know watches Blue Peter and loves it and sets his Sky+ for it but would never
tell any of his friends.

Peter Horrocks (head of BBC TV news) suggested earlier in the year that
the BBC was too often seen as being part of authority, part of the system.
Is that a particular problem when it comes to attracting younger viewers?

I think there are pockets of the UK that aren’t particular fans of the BBC as a
whole and don’t really identify with the BBC, but that’s a double edged sword as
well because being seen as the voice of authority is not necessarily a bad thing
for a news service. You can’t have it both ways all the time.

So, again, it seems to come back to more fragmented, niche programming.

That would be my view, yeah, because I think news has tried to address the
issue of falling younger audiences or increased aging audiences in more subtle
ways and we haven’t seen a seismic shift, so while it may not be the answer it
will be interesting to see how the next 12 months develops [with Switch teen
service]. If you’re talking about 10 minutes every Saturday or Sunday it’s not a
comprehensive news service but it depends on how it’s delivered across
platforms. And it depends, if the teen service starts as a service that that
audience feels they can really make an imprint on it, take ownership of, it will be
really interesting to see how it develops but if it’s one man in a room sitting
making it then it’s probably not the best approach.

Do you see it as being about translating what Newsbeat does on radio to

Well Newsbeat is very good at what it does but what it does is very brief
roundups and short sharp bursts of information and I think to assume that that’s
all young people want is not the case. One Extra does some great documentaries
that have got resonance and appeal so it will be interesting to see if BBC Switch
goes for a bulletin kind of format or whether it’s a topical ten minute film every
week, like a min-documentary of some sort, or an amalgam of both, but I think to
assume that young people can only take short, sharp bursts of information is
slightly patronising.

It’s about choice and the BBC should be offering choice, and it’s what we said
earlier. Some days you do just want 60 seconds of news to tell you if anything
earth shattering has happened or is the world as it was when you got up that
morning. There’s a time and a place for everything, you could be in another mood
on another day and be more than happy to get your teeth into a 10-20-30 minute
programme. So I think it is about offering choice and diversity and not alighting
on one formula and thinking that one size fits all approach is going to work. I
mean, Newsnight has a very distinct audience so at the end of the [BBC1] 10
O’clock news when they tell you to switch over to BBC2 for Newsnight you might
think that everyone’s going to do that because both programmes have similar
appeal, but that doesn’t actually happen, Newsnight has a distinct audience. So I
think the teen and young people’s market should be treated just like that, it’s a
marketplace, there should be choice and variety.

Do you think it’ll be down to the BBC to provide more news programming
aimed at teenagers or is there commercial potential too?

I think commercial companies will probably wait to see how the BBC do. I mean
T4 (Channel 4’s digital channel for young viewers] is a very successful brand but
it doesn’t have any news content on it and news isn’t necessarily a big
commercial hitter. The BBC has a public service remit and you’re dealing with an
audience that is even more fragmented than anything else so you’re probably
never going to get huge ratings or if your commercial company massive
sponsorship or advertising revenue from it. So I think it comes down to public
service and also more strategic future planning if you have a whole generation
coming through who don’t have a history of BBC involvement and don’t identify
with the BBC what happens when your existing audience dies off, who do you
serve then?

Have you seen anybody else doing interesting things in terms of attracting
younger viewers to news?

I think it’s interesting that Radio 1 is starting to do essentially TV on the web, I’ll
be interested to see how that goes and if they take that any further. C5 has a
much more accessible, less po-faced approach to factual content but
traditionalists would say they dumb down and sensationalise. Is that a bad thing?
I don’t know. Is it a bad thing for attracting different audiences? I don’t know.

What about Channel 4 News, that has a more youthful demographic?

I think it’s up market so the demographic would have real class distinctions. I
think Channel 4 is always going to appear slightly cooler than everything else and
while they may not openly court a younger audience I think they do have that in
mind with their sets, the way they direct the programme, the interaction between
their presenters. I’m a big fan of Channel 4 news actually because I think it’s
closer to Newsround than anything, I think it’s like Newsround grown up because
I think they really think about context and levels of assumed knowledge and I
think they do explanations incredibly well. I also think they have a smaller pool of
on screen faces so you actually feel you can build up some level of knowledge or
them, more familiarity with them, whereas the BBC is such a huge machine that
you don’t necessarily get to build that kind of…bond is too strong a word but that
kind of relationship. I think it looks very different, it gives more understanding and
it seems to go below, do more than scratch the surface, getting the background
and debating the various points. And it’s got a very charismatic front man and his
[Jon Snow] appeal probably has a lot to do with it as well.

I think if you have a presenter that is unappealing to your audience the audience
will go somewhere else. Snow is interesting because he’s not 25 so it kind of
contradicts what I was saying earlier but I think he’s pretty unique in that respect.
I think the BBC is constrained even further in that sense by its editorial guidelines
and principles. It’s his style of questioning, of interviewing, it’s more difficult for a
BBC person to do that. I’m not questioning his objectivity by any means. But I
think onscreen talent is key.

Is there such a thing a young look in terms of graphics and presentation?

I don’t know if there is evidence of it but when you’re dealing with a very media
savvy generation who are able to access content from all over the world via their
Pcs, I think they have high expectations. Our audience certainly wants to see
content that is visually appealing. I don’t know at what age that changes if it does
change, maybe it doesn’t. Remember the fuss with the weather graphics.
In terms of should a news programme have a young look to attract a young
audience you’ve got to tread a fine line, the fine line that we tread every day
about not being patronising but being accessible to children. I think there’s a fine
line, you don’t want to turn into some hideous ‘yoof’ TV which is overly aware of
itself in a way that would be a switch off for viewers. You can’t be too knowing
either. Well, I just have hideous images of Janet Street Porter’s yoof
programmes of the 1980s and I think that talking about should a programme
have a younger feel for a younger audience, yes but that should come out of a lot
of concentrated audience research and focus rather than having some people in
W12 deciding what young people must be into.

Paul Whelan
BBC Newsround

Whelan visits schools every week to research what news stories children are
aware of and interested in.

How do you do the research?

I generally talk to 9 and 10 year olds but I have on occasion done sessions down
as low as 7 and 8. I take images of recent news stories and get kids to talk about
what the story is, if they know what the story is, and what they’ve picked up about
it. And they do a running order [of news stories] to choose what they think is

What do very young children think a television news programme is, how do
they see it as being different to any other TV programme?

How do they think about news? Well, they certainly think it’s all real but the idea
that it’s not a mirror reflecting the world, the idea that it is a show and that people
have picked [the stories], you sort of have to teach them that. News today is a
show, it’s edited highlights, it’s for entertainment now. If you want to find out
something in detail you look on line so TV is news has to be entertaining. So
introducing them to this concept that these are highlights that have been picked
by someone who thought they were more entertaining or interesting or important
for the audience, rather than it being a mirror reflecting the world, you’ve got to
teach them that.

Why would a child think a news programme is less of a show than say a
I suppose it’s the gravitas attached to it. We pitch it as being different from other
programmes in tone and pace so when the news comes on it’s very different to
anything else. I imagine they would look at the reactions of adults as well.

Why do children need to know what the news of the day on a TV news

I’m not convinced that they do or they don’t need to know it. They already
understand information to be different to the way I understood it. The idea of
following a news story…you know, when I was at university you had to follow a
news story, that was the only way you stayed across it. If the story was
‘Margaret Thatcher battling to stay in office’, you had to watch every news bulletin
and piece it together until you had an understanding of the story. That’s not how
they understand information now. That thing of gathering information, they don’t
do that anymore, information, all information is available, so if something
important happens then they’ll go and find out about it, they don’t need to have a
constant input of news, why would you do that? Why sit down for half an hour to
watch the news? If something happens, then I’ll find out about it. It’s that way
around. Because everything else in their life is like that.

Some people talk about the need to redefine news simply as ‘information
you need to live your life’. Is that how children see it?

Things have improved a lot here [at the BBC news] but a few years ago people
were almost expecting news to be treated differently from all other aspects of
information ingested by the audience. Now there’s more of an understanding that
people want it disaggregated and they will just look at the bits they’re interested
in. That’s definitely what I find when I show them news stories.

What kind of stories will they typically pick up on or not pick up on?

Well, for intance, the invasion of Southern Lebanon. I went in a school a week
after it had been on the telly, there had been blanket coverage, and it was
indistinguishable, they hadn’t realised there’d been a particular conflict distinct
from what was ongoing in the previous two weeks. Another example is the
election that didn’t happen. Nothing. A couple of kids in one class could say it
had been postponed but no one could say why it was postponed. David
Cameron was no more known than he had been before.

They’d just zoned out. They’ve got this ability to just zone out of stories. It’s a
strong visual clue [to zone out] that someone is seen standing outside 10
Downing St. A car bomb in a market is a zone out story. That was the problem
with Southern Lebanon. You never get a story that’s had an impact without a
really good image. If you think about the invasion of Southern Lebanon, what was
there to see apart from a correspondent standing beside the road? It could be
anywhere and as far as the kids were concerned it was. There’s some good
research around about them not liking confusing, on-going stories. David Tricky,
a guy we work with here, has fed up to us studies that say they don’t like the
story that’s returned to and it gets confusing, and where are we on the continuing

It’s often assumed that young people are particularly interested in
environmental issues. Have you found that to be so?

They’re interested in concrete stuff. We did some work on the environment
recently and they’re interested in the environment but they’re not interested in
carbon footprints, they’re not interested in global warming, they’re interested in
litterbins and animals in danger, they’re interested in concrete change. And that’s
reflected across all news stories.

A big news story in a school I was in on Friday was the Californian fires, that
looms large. Madeleine McCann has been an enormous story. The Thames
whale was a massive news story with kids. The death of Steve Irwin, the hanging
of Saddam Hussein. They’re not interested in Saddam Hussein as a political
figure it’s just that he’s a guy who became known because he was hanged, he’s
the first guy they’ve know who has ever been hanged.

The Blue Peter cat scandal, they don’t know anything about that. Burma is a
bigger story than the Blue Peter cat scandal. It’s the images. Look at those guys,
they’ve all got no hair, they’re wearing orange. There’s that need for an image.
I’m struggling to think of a story without an image that has really impacted on
kids. Do you remember when some prostitutes were murdered around Ipswich? I
think the story broke over the weekend and I was in a school early that week and
the kids were really struggling to get hold of the story, even though it was in an
area where they lived. But when the pictures came out of police frogmen walking
through the streams looking for bodies, that was the image of that story and once
there was an image that was locked on and they could deal with it but prior to
that they were struggling. If it hasn’t got an image that’s a tough gig for young

Where are children getting their news from?

Most of it is coming from adult news and the tabloids as well. Metro is quite big
with older kids.

Is the Newsround audience predominantly middle class?

The Newsround heartland is a good state school, probably in Hampshire, that’ll
have the highest viewing that you’ll get, the sort of school where you’ve got to
move into the catchment area to get the kids in. But once you go into private
schools the viewing tails off because they’ve got Sky and they don’t watch it
anymore. A lot of supervised viewing is important too, the kind of family where it’s
almost an historic set up, the TV’s on and the mum’s at home, for whatever
reason, and she’s watching TV with the kids. They are C1, B, but you go up the
social scale and it tails off. Ethnic groups, in some areas nobody watches it at all.
Although the lowest viewing I’ve ever come across was in Hull. I checked it out
when I came back and it does have one of the lowest reaches for the BBC and
they were certainly not watching Newsround at all. They’ve got a slightly
anachronistic TV set up in that they’ve had broadband there for a long time.
That’s a worrying sign for the future.



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