For some kids, watching the news on TV can be confusing or even scary. But never fear, Linda Ellerbee is here! She’s the award-winning journalist behind Nickelodeon’s Nick News, a current-events TV program made specifically for kids. As the show’s creator and anchor, Ellerbee presents the news in a way that’s easy for children to understand.
This month, Nick News celebrated its 20th anniversary. It is the longest running TV news program for kids. To commemorate the big milestone, Today show host Ann Curry interviewed Ellerbee at an event at the Paley Center for Media, in New York City. Ellerbee wore her trademark bright orange Converse sneakers—the same pair she sports on the show—for the special occasion.
Making Sense of the World
First things first: Why did Ellerbee start Nick News? Her answer is simple. “Kids have a right to know,” she says. “And they already do know, but maybe not all the facts.” The veteran reporter looks at her job on Nick News as more then just an average news anchor. She says she has an obligation to explain the news and help children understand what really happened. After all, Ellerbee says, “the more information you have, the better choices you make.”
Ellerbee tries to balance out the bad news with good news, too. “After every tragedy, there’s always someone or something trying to make it better,” she explains.
Aside from current events, Nick News also covers issues that are going on in the world of kids, including stories about middle school or bullying. When deciding what topics to feature, Ellerbee says, “We think: What current events are kids unable to avoid? What are they already hearing about? What can we help them understand better?”
One recent episode, called “What Happened?: The Story of September 11, 2001,” is an example of that. The special episode explained the tragic events of the September 11 terror attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. Other episodes, like “Inside Outsiders,” about kids who are outsides by choice, aim to let viewers know that “you’re not alone, and you’re not crazy,” Ellerbee told TFK.
Words of Wisdom
Linda Ellerbee has been a journalist for more than 30 years and has won many awards. What’s her advice for budding young journalists? “Never forget newspapers!” Ellerbee said. “Read the newspaper everyday!”