NewsDepth, a PBS show based in Cleveland, is geared toward viewers ranging from third to eighth grade. Using a half-hour format, the show presents stories that any newscast might do – an explanation of the upcoming 2020 census, a look at a local pit bull ban, a segment devoted to a deaf school, deaf hikers and a deaf mayor, a section called Sketchbook, focusing on an exhibit at the Akron Art Museum, and a feature about pharmacists and medications that look like candy.
Capable host Rick Jackson, speaking from a studio in only a slightly more casual way than, say, one of the network news anchors, introduces each new news story and regularly asks for feedback from viewers. Tweets and polls are featured. Graphics and maps help act as explainers. Stories about giving-back, recycling and rebuilding after an earthquake make for meaningful content that should inspire and resonate elementary-school kid viewers. It’s real news, but it’s got an optimistic angle.
It’s refreshing to find news being done right – balanced, fair, interactive, and occasionally humorous. What’s highly commendable is that NewsDepth will, hopefully, foster an interest in news, media — and above all, media literacy for young viewers.
Ann Oldenburg ©2018 Parents’ Choice
Ann Oldenburg, lecturer and interim director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, writes about television, food, workplace issues and other pop culture topics. A University of Florida Gator with a degree in journalism, she began her career at The Washington Post and spent more than two decades with USA TODAY. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.