Canada’s state broadcaster is launching a news platform aimed at children. The new website, CBC Kids News, went live yesterday, featuring text, video and multimedia content.
The face of CBC Kids News, 14-year-old actor Saara Chaudry says of the launch that, “Everyone deserves to know what’s going on around the world and it shouldn’t just be adults that know what’s going on.”
In its first days, the state broadcaster’s child-focused news site featured sports, culture and science stories, including a rundown of Team Canada’s run at the Little League World Series, artist profiles, and a story about a narwhal whale that has joined a pod of beluga in the waters of the St. Lawrence.
And despite their target audience, the new news service is not shying away from covering complex political stories. Two stories already posted to the site aim to explain marijuana legalization and Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s use of the notwithstanding clause to their young audience.
In his piece concerning marijuana legalization, 15-year-old contributor Campbell Baron explains the Trudeau government’s policy that will come into effect next month, saying, “Legalizing marijuana would mean there’s lots of new businesses, giving the Canadian government the opportunity to make a lot of money by taxing marijuana products.”
A story about Doug Ford’s efforts to reduce the size of Toronto city council explains that, “Ford is using a legal tool — called the notwithstanding clause — to ignore the judge’s decision and force the change.”
In a promotional video for the new platform, Chaudry says, “it’s news for kids, from kids.” While actors like Chaudry may be the face of CBC Kids News, the content will be managed behind the scenes by adult employees of the state broadcaster.
CBC News editor in chief, Jennifer McGuire said in a press release, “we continue to look for new ways to share our trusted news with younger audiences.” In an era of ‘fake news’, McGuire says CBC aims to help their target audience, children ages 9-13, to “think more critically about the news they are consuming.”
The announcement of this new content stream from the government funded media organization will not be welcomed and lauded by all. The state broadcaster has long been accused of bias against conservative political perspectives, for example, and has been criticized for its seemingly cozy relationship with the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau.
The CBC is funded by taxpayers to the tune of more than $1 billion annually.