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Preview – What Do We Tell the Children?

Posted on: Thursday 30 June 2016 9:21am

Olivia Dickinson and Lewis Bronze, outline the aims for their session to consider how children’s news deals with difficult topics.

Terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the murder of Jo Cox MP – a series of events, each shocking in their own way, assail us from the rolling news channels.  In the age of social media and 24 hour news, how do broadcasters relate these events to children?  Are the norms which governed Newsround for most of its long history relevant today?  What standards should be applied to children’s news outlets, are they showing too much or too little of the world we now live in?

p'tit libeCMC brings together a panel of producers and journalists, all with their own passions and opinions about how to tell children about the news, to be interviewed by Stewart Purvis CBE, the former editor-in-Chief of ITN and Ofcom regulator.  The panel includes Sophie Gindensperger from Paris, the editor of ‘P’tit Libe‘, the children’s version of the leading Liberation newspaper, which delivered an emergency edition in response to the Friday night attacks in Paris.  From the BBC, ‘Newsround‘ Editor Lewis James has covered not only the Paris attacks, but other horrifying events in the past, as well as more recently the Orlando shootings and murder of Jo Cox.  Anne Perkins is a leader writer for the Guardian who wrote about the coverage for children of the Paris attacks.  Child psychologist Tom Billington will bring to the discussion his knowledge of how children process traumatic events and what they need in order to understand when bad things happen.

Stewart Purvis will call on the audience to question the panel as we seek to establish whether there are consistent principles to be applied to reporting terrorism for under 12s, or whether each case must be treated on its merits.

This prestigious debate promises to be lively and incisive, as we explore whether the sound journalistic principles which have guided programmes like ‘Newsround’ now need to be re-examined and rewritten for young consumers of news, and the implications the discussion  are relevant to everyone engaged with factual content, across all media, as we consider how best to portray the truth of the world to the younger audience.

What Do We Tell the Children? Thursday 7 July, 14:00 – 15:00, Showroom Cinema 4

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