‘The Pub’ #105: Why pubmedia should double down on content for kids

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Richard Termine/Sesame Workshop

Whether they’re talking to your kids or to Congress, the hosts and characters of public media children’s programming are powerful. They promote understanding, inclusion and education. Plus, they’re really entertaining.

But is children’s programming the future of public media?

Mel Kramer and Betsy O’Donovan say it is. In a white paper for the Knight Foundation, they argue that all of public media’s public funding should be spent on content for kids. And not just shows. O’Donovan and Kramer make the case for multimedia, easy-to-access content that reaches young viewers wherever they are. This not only makes for happy kids, they say, but for better citizens.

And it seems like it’s an urgent time to rethink children’s media. Strange, sometimes disturbing videos aimed at kids are winding up in front of impressionable eyeballs, thanks to some nefarious gaming of the YouTube algorithm. One critic puts the blame on the profit motive. Could this plan solve the growing problem?

But not everything online is dangerous. Facebook admits that the psychological effect of its service can vary based on how you use it. In the Opening Shot, we look at the contrast between positive and negative on social media.

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We welcome your feedback on the show: You can reach me at [email protected] and on Twitter @gbullard; my supervising producer at Current, Mike Janssen, is at [email protected]; and you can contact Current generally at [email protected] or @currentpubmedia on Twitter.

Gabe Bullard is the senior digital producer for 1A.

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