Wednesday, December 13, 2006

On 25 April 2006, Director-General Mark Thompson announced that, as part of "Creative Future," CBBC would be targeted at 7-11 year olds. Tim Levell took over editing Newsround in August, and ever eager to please his employer took immediate action to target a slightly younger audience.

It now seems that Mr Thompson's announcement of a change in the target age range for CBBC viewers was misconceived, and the BBC eventually decided to keep the age range at 6-12 year olds after all.

When I found out in September that Newsround was discarding feedback from older kids (blog 13 September) I contacted the programme to see what they would say about the discrimination (blog 29 September). At least I thought they should warn kids that messages from younger kids get priority on the feedback pages.

Whereas in the past the majority of emails read out on air used to be from over 12 year old kids (blog 13 April), now the majority is from under 12's.

My latest survey of website feedback responses indicates that the age discrimination hasn't stopped there, and has actually got worse. And they still haven't made clear that priority is given to messages from younger viewers. Responses from 14 year olds, many of which were published until September, are now nearly always discarded (see charts below).

Someone should tell Mr Levell and his Newsround team that the BBC abandoned its plan to target younger kids. And anyway, if CBBC Newsround doesn't want to hear from over 13 year olds they should make this clear so that young people stop wasting their time writing in.

December 2006Latest survey (above) - shows almost no feedback from over 13 year olds

September 2006September survey - shows almost no feedback from over 14 year olds

March/April 2006March/April survey - shows 30% of feedback from 14 & 15 year olds

Survey data were taken from these Newsround webpages.

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