Bottom line: Nick News with Linda Ellerbee is a very real, sometimes emotional news program for tweens and teens that dives into the heart of today's issues and shows first-hand how they affect the lives of real kids. Heavy and mature topics are sometimes presented. The show is most effective when parents and children watch together.Genre: Educational
Guide age recommendation: 10+
Episode length: 30 minutes
Nick News with Linda Ellerbee - Overview
Nick News with Linda Ellerbee began airing on Nick during the first Gulf war in order to help kids get factual information about the news and reduce their anxiety about what was going on in the world around them. Now, 20 years later, the show is still going strong, helping kids to understand and become informed about the pressing issues of our day. Host Linda Ellerbee tackles a wide range of topics from politics, to alcoholism, to living with cancer as she presents the issues and allows kids with a variety of perspectives to tell their stories.
Not just a fluff kiddie version of the news, Nick News speaks to kids directly and respectfully about hard-hitting issues. While the show remains appropriate for the viewing audience, the issues come to light in a very real, and sometime raw way. For it's honest coverage and powerful presentation of news and stories, Nick News with Linda Ellerbee has earned countless awards including eight Emmy awards, three Peabody awards, and the Edward R. Murrow Award for best Network News Documentary, an award that had never before been given to a children's program.
Nick News with Linda Ellerbee - Guide Review for Parents
The show is called Nick News with Linda Ellerbee, but it's not about Linda, the series is all about the kids. While award-winning journalist Linda Ellerbee presents the topics and facilitates discussions, by and large, the issues are discussed and illuminated by kids whose first-hand experiences shed light on the issues and show real life consequences and implications. Watch a few episodes of Nick News with your kids, and you will see stories that are informative, inspiring, and many times, heartbreaking. Often kids are exposed to the rhetoric surrounding the issues of our day, but I love that Nick News gets right to the heart of what those issues mean in the lives of real kids.
The show covers a wide range of issues from election issues and school food to alcoholism, cancer and poverty. Parents should know that some of the mature topics tackled by Nick News could be emotional or disturbing to kids. The program is targeted for kids about ages 10 and up, but because the understanding and maturity of individual kids varies so greatly, it is up to parents to watch the show and decide whether their children are ready for some of the weightier episodes.
Viewing Nick News with your kids offers an opportunity to discuss those issues that are sometimes difficult to talk about and awkward to bring up. Also, it offers parents a chance to discuss political issues with kids and explain why people disagree on how to go about fixing the various problems in society and how they have arrived at their own political values. Learning, thinking, discussing -- these are the things kids need to be doing now in order to figure out how to arrive at their own conclusions about life, and also to prepare them to lead the future.
As a final note, I have read some criticisms of Nick News from parents who feel the show has a left-leaning bias. In most of the episodes I watched, I could tell that there was a strong effort made, especially where political issues are concerned, to present both sides of the issue fairly. In some of the stories told, however, it is possible to feel that the things kids say cast the issues in a certain light. I encourage parents to find out about the episode topics beforehand and talk openly with kids about the episodes. If parents do see something on the show they don't agree with, what better way to teach kids how to think critically about the media than to point that out and explain that there are two sides to the story?
Nick News is a unique show that actually genuinely attempts to create a half hour experience that makes kids better for having spent the time watching it, and that is a rare thing in the world of kids' media. Guidance from parents can ensure that goal is met.