IZI-Research
 
News coverage for children and adolescents

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In a globalised world where news reports are all-pervasive, wars and natural and technological disasters form part of the news coverage. They unsettle us and show that things we take for granted – such as security in terms of our lives and property – may be in danger. What does this mean for children? News coverage, especially for adults, relies on powerful images to attract attention, and, to a certain extent, it evokes emotions and dramatises situations. Children watch news coverage and get an idea of the events. Research shows that news can frighten children and that political discourses can influence their world view. We therefore have a high degree of responsibility to ensure that we offer appropriate news coverage, especially for children. But what does that mean in practice? The IZI explores these and other questions within this research focus.

Literature:

Götz, Maya, Holler, Andrea; Nastasia, Diana; Nastasia, Sorin: “I want to know how high the wave really was". Children worldwide and their perceptions of the catastrophes in Japan in March 2011. TelevIZIon, 25/2012/E, 49-53.
TelevIZIon 17/2004/E “War in children’s television“

Lemish, Dafna; Götz, Maya (eds.): Children and Media in Times of War and Conflict. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Pr. 2007.

 

Children's Perception of the Natural and Technological Disasters in Fukushima (2011)

In March 2011 the disasters in Japan – an earthquake, a tsunami, and a serious accident in a nuclear power plant – dominated the news worldwide. The IZI investigated how children (five to 13 years old) perceived the disasters, how children’s television worldwide handled this subject, and what children would like to see in a children’s programme on this subject. 
In the first ten days after the earthquake, 313 children between the ages of five and 13 from across Germany were interviewed individually. The children talked about their knowledge, their emotions, and their perception of the news coverage. As well as open questions, the questionnaire contained closed, standardised questions and two creative sections in which the children could draw pictures of their perception of events in Japan and draw what they would like to see in a children’s programme on this subject. 183 children in the USA and 166 children in Brazil were interviewed using the same main questions and creative tasks.  
Smaller international comparison groups from Ecuador, Cuba and Canada were integrated into the study. Furthermore, 222 children from eight countries wrote pictoral letters to broadcasters in which they drew how they perceived the events in Japan and what they would like to have seen on television in connection with these. In addition, 98 children from ten countries explained in interviews on camera how they perceived news coverage for adults, what kind of news coverage they would like to see, and which images they would not like to see. The study was supplemented with various media analyses of news coverage in print and TV media for children and adults.
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Literature:

Götz, Maya; Holler, Andrea; Nastasia, Diana; Nastasia, Sorin: I want to know how high the wave really was". Children worldwide and their perceptions of the catastrophes in Japan in March 2011. TelevIZIon, 25/2012/E, 49-53.

 

Children Watch the War – Children's Perspective on the War in Iraq and the Television News Coverage of it

One subject dominated the media for weeks: the war in Iraq. The reports show bombardments, injured and dead people. Children have their own perspective on these images and the events. They have concerns, questions, a need for information, and the need to communicate their perspective on things and their feelings. The International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television (IZI) in collaboration with international academics is currently investigating what characterises this perspective and how children’s television handles the problem.

Literature:
TelevIZIon 17/2004/E “War in children’s television“
Lemish, Dafna; Götz, Maya (eds.): Children and Media in Times of War and Conflict. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Pr. 2007