Partner Spotlight: KidNuz

When did your organization launch and why?
KidNuz launched in 2018 as the passion project of four broadcast journalists who wanted to give kids a screen-free newscast all their own. It was born out of a love of current events… and frustration. One of the founders was tired of flipping the front page of the New York Times to shield her curious kids from the headlines. Another was weary of turning down the dial while listening to the news in the car or at home. And all four of us were exasperated at seeing our kids staring at their phones all day, inevitably getting bombarded by violent stories, biased and inaccurate reporting, and clickbait. The answer, we decided, was a news podcast with the day’s top stories, 100% kid-friendly, completely nonpartisan, and always entertaining.

What does your organization do? What are its main goals? Main projects?

Every weekday morning, the KidNuz team produces a 6 1/2 minute podcast with top-of-the-day stories delivered in a way that kids can understand — and enjoy. Our objective is to get youngsters interested in current events, let them know there’s a big, fascinating world outside their own bubble, encourage critical thinking, and spark meaningful conversations with the adults around them.

What makes your organization stand out? What would you say is the most unique thing about your organization?

We are the only podcast-producing a topical newscast for kids five days a week. There is a lot of great audio out there, but most of it uses evergreen stories and/or is singularly focused on a single subject. KidNuz stands alone in its variety, writing, and objectivity. Our team is also unique because of our background: four Emmy-winning broadcast journalists who spent decades producing news for adults, before pivoting our talents to the needs of the next generation.

What are recent projects or new resources that your organization would like to share with other NAMLE members?

KidNuz is used by thousands of teachers in more than 100 countries around the world. In addition to the daily podcast, which is the heart of KidNuz, we offer daily, weekly, and monthly quizzes to test listening skills and encourage critical thinking, along with a resource page providing links to more information on stories that we cover.

What are the connections between the work of your organization and media literacy?

It is our hope that a daily kid-centric newscast lights a curiosity spark in the next generation. We are fact-based, opinion-free, and balanced. The more kids hear that kind of reporting, perhaps the more they will expect and/or demand it. We source all our stories, present opposing sides, and let our listeners make up their own mind. Ideally, they’ll want to dig deeper and question, question, question!

Why is media literacy important to your organization?

Given the polarization of today’s media, it is critical to provide young ears with something that is fair, fun and fresh — and just for them. We are committed to helping raise a generation of news-savvy citizens who question and analyze while they consume. The earlier we can get them started on that path, the better.

Anything else you want our readers to know about your organization, your mission, or your staff?

We’ll let the listeners do the talking:

“Your podcast provides a valuable service in keeping kids informed. We have always been impressed with how you make stories relatable to kids and stay politically neutral.” -Zach Osterloh, parent

“Hello my name is Leila and your podcasts are the best thing in my day. My friends and family at 7 sharp gather in my backyard and listen to it while eating donuts! You are the best!” -Leila, student

“My students are wanting to further research news they learn about on KidNuz. They will be creating their own news podcast soon. They talk about the things they learn about on KidNuz at lunch and at recess. I overhear them talking in the hallways too. They are thinking deeper and challenging one another. ” -Teacher, survey result

The views and opinions expressed in the Organizational Spotlight blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NAMLE or its members. The purpose of the Organizational Spotlight blog is to highlight our Organizational Partners and give them a place to share their reflections, opinions, and ideas.