Newspaper week begins on 30 January 2017 – Children’s News explains the world
In March 2016, Helsingin Sanomat introduced a news section for children aged 6–12. The multichannel news quickly found its readers and viewers: the weekly television news broadcast on TV channel Nelonen has an average audience of 33,000.
“There was a clear demand and a gap in the market for children’s news. Children live in the same world as adults. They are interested, and they have the right to know,” says Päivi Anttikoski, Editor-in-Chief of Helsingin Sanomat. “We want to support media literacy among children. Media literacy significantly shapes their world views and civic skills. An ability to tell what is real is increasingly important.”
The topics are selected with children in mind, often based on feedback and suggestions. “Children actively contact us, and we have also received good feedback from parents as well as teachers, many of whom have already included our material in their teaching work,” says Producer Fanny Fröman. Children participate as experts in producing news stories. Nearly 20 children took part during the first year of Children’s News.
The purpose is to report clearly and comprehensibly on world events, without excluding difficult issues. In addition to providing background information, the news also explains words that are related to the story and that may be difficult for children to understand. “For example, our story on Brexit received good feedback on clarity, even from adults,” says Fröman.
Children’s News is published as a separate section in the newspaper on Fridays, and the television broadcast can be viewed on HSTV on Fridays and on Nelonen on Sunday mornings. In addition, news stories are published daily at HS.fi/lastenuutiset. The radio broadcasts are aired on Radio Aalto and Supla. Children’s News is also on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. In 2016, Children’s News was shortlisted for a Golden Venla award for the best programme for children and young people. In 2017, Children’s News will be included in HS Viikko magazine.
Schools in Finland have their traditional newspaper week from 30 January till 3 February 2017. This year the focus is on learning to recognise real news. Helsingin Sanomat and Children’s News have produced special topics for discussion in class room and Children’s News is organising a news video contest. During the week, all content in Helsingin Sanomat is offered free of charge for schools.