Training helps Ecuadorian children’s television to flourish
The media can play a key role in expanding children and adolescents’ mental horizons. Can – because programme makers first need to learn how to reach younger audiences. In Ecuador, television for young viewers is still in its infancy, and the journalists involved are still relatively inexperienced. That is why in March 2016, Free Press Unlimited organised a five-day training that dealt with ‘child-friendly’ programming in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito.
The training started with a master class, followed via a live stream by 180 participants at various Ecuadorian universities. The remaining days of the training were organised for 25 media professionals from the Ecuadorian youth television programme Hagamos Click. They were instructed in journalism basics like hearing both sides of a case, camera techniques and editing. But most of the training focused on a more specialist subject: producing television programmes geared towards children and adolescents.
Making children’s television is an art in itself
Because there’s a big difference between talking about children and talking with them. And producing a news item so that it grabs and holds children’s attention is harder than it sounds. The participants learned how to interview children without scaring them, and how you can make them feel more at ease by choosing the right location. Participant Lucia Real: “We changed our approach immediately after completing the training. We went to locations where children feel free – places like dance schools and craft workshops. From now on, we always lower the camera to their height, we avoid busy areas and we take our time. We don’t ask them to repeat their answers until they’re ‘TV-proof’. After all, there are no ‘wrong’ answers, and children have a different perspective on things than adults.”
Free Press Unlimited believes it is important to encourage children via programmes like Hagamos Click to speak up, and to take their input seriously. This way, the young viewers and their parents become aware that children are also a part of society and that their views count too. The media can help them to understand the world around them, make their own decisions and actively participate. In Hagamos Click, the children themselves present the news items: they talk about and show what touches them personally. This can range from a ‘first aid club’ at school to a passion for painting, swimming or puppet theatre.
Hagamos Click has been broadcasting weekly since September 2015. The Ecuadorian children’s programme is part of WADADA News for Kids, a global network of youth news bulletins set up by Free Press Unlimited. Its members around the world all use the same formats and exchange items and footage. Now that the journalists in Quito have practiced working with these formats, they will soon be producing reports that can be used by programmes in other countries. So that the voices of Ecuador’s children can be heard across the globe.
Partner since: 2015
Donor: Dutch Postcode Lottery
Contribution: € 2,500,000 for WADADA News for Kids (the project ‘Our future is now’)