Are your children future reporters, or budding news anchors? If the answer is yes, then the News News News Reporters Club is sure to be right up their street. Created by artists Andy Field and Beckie Darlington, the News News News Reporters Club is a five-day project for children (aged 8-12) to complete in their own homes. Here are Andy and Beckie to explain more about the project, and how you can get involved.
The project came about as a fun way to empower children during this strange moment in time. News News News Reporters Club is an offshoot of News News News, a live theatre show we created in 2019 with Cambridge Junction and Norfolk & Norwich Festival. In the show a group of primary school children got the chance to create their own local TV news, then broadcast it out to the world from a tiny child-sized TV studio which we built on the theatre's main stage.
With the current pandemic and lockdown, two new versions of News News News we were set to make with children in Brighton and Salzburg were unfortunately cancelled. But, we thought we'd use the time we would have spent on making those performances to create a new project for children to take part in from their own homes. The Reporters Club uses a lot of the same ideas as the stage show, but we’ve reconfigured and re-imagined them for the very different world we’re all currently living in.
Hopefully, through making your own radio news broadcast, this project will be a fun diversion for children and adults during this difficult time – a chance to get away from our screens and interact with the world in a different way. You get to think about what’s happening around you, describe what you can see, play games, write stories, and talk with each other.
Also, the journalistic skills and ideas the club teaches may encourage children to think about the current situation in a new way. With so much changing so quickly, it can be helpful to have space to reflect on that; to have a way of remembering what it felt like to live through this very strange period.
To take part you won’t need any fancy materials. We've tried to make sure the project only requires things that you'd find in almost any house – a pen, some paper and a mobile phone. And we have created an activity pack that you can either read on the computer, or print off at home.
The pack has five days worth of games and exercises in, and each day you make a different part of your radio programme. We've also made five audio tracks ourselves – one for each day – where we introduce that day's activities and do them ourselves, to give you an idea what it might sound like. And we’ve included some news jingles, recorded by a musician friend of ours called Tom Parkinson, so your news reports can sound as authentic as possible.
It’s important for children to be part of the conversations about what’s happening in the world, and what might come next. Perhaps they will voice fears that we struggle to articulate, perhaps they will ask the simple questions we are too embarrassed to admit we don't know the answers to; perhaps they will notice things that we have taken for granted, perhaps they will point out the obvious solution to a problem we haven't been able to resolve.
And even if they don't do any of those things, we think any version of the world we want to live in makes space for everyone to be heard.
Andy Field and Beckie Darlington collaborate with children to create projects that ask us all to think differently about the world around us. These projects have ranged from a one-to-one performance on a rooftop in Cairo, to a chat show with microbes in a park in Manchester.
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