Thursday, May 21, 2009

That's it. You're up to date with all you need to know.

How many times have regular Newsround viewers heard the programme end with those, or similar words?

So what do kids need to know, and how well does Newsround fulfil its purpose of providing that information? Well, kids need to know the truth, presented honestly and fairly. And when mistakes are made, they should be acknowledged and corrected as soon as possible.

There were some interesting stories on Tuesday's programme at 5.05pm, but one item about a skydiver falling 6000 feet without a parachute included an unfortunate error: "... This is the story of the skydiver who fell 6000 feet - that's almost a mile ..." In fact 6000 feet is somewhat more than a mile, as you can easily see from this wolframalpha search.

A great pity the launch of WolframAlpha wasn't reported by Newsround over the weekend, as it is obviously something of which schoolkids should be aware. It's not on Newsround's website either.

Tuesday's programme began with an item about Miley Cyrus who, according to Newsround, was being bullied.

Sonali: Our top story today is bullying. It's a problem we talk about on Newsround quite often because it affects loads of you. But as Gavin's been finding out, people who you really wouldn't expect to get bullied do too - and guess what, they can find it just as upsetting and hurtful as the rest of us.

Gavin: ..... It all started when Miley made a jokey comment about her legs looking a bit jiggly on the social networking site Twitter. Then loads more people added comments about her weight. But Miley hit back, saying that she's just a normal girl and that making comments about people being fat are really dangerous. ....

The on-screen graphic quoted Miley Cyrus as saying "My legs are too jiggly" whereas the tweet was actually "i just jiggled my thighs and they shook on their own for 3 mississipis no more late night lucky charms." In other words her thighs shook for three seconds, and Miley felt she therefore needed to stop eating breakfast snacks at night.

A few hours later Miley responded to other people's remarks with:

"talk all you want. i have my flaws. im a normal girl theres things about my body i would change but stop with calling me f*t in post. i dont even like the word. those remarks that you hateful people use are fighting words. the ones that scar people and cause them to do damage to themselves or others. people that are so okay with being so hateful diguist me and need to spend last time on a gossip website and more time a. reading your bible b. reading stories/articles about what happens when cyber abuse and name calling happens. kids hurt themselves. this is not something to be taken lightly. i know these "message boards" are "no big deal" to YOU but is to the victim. this has got to stop!!! oh and ps if your thighs don't jiggle go see a doctor. thanks. :)"

Miley also posted a link to this webpage about cyberbullying.

Four comments from Newsround's feedback were read out at the end of the programme.

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