Magazine and Features Production

RTE News2day begins with fun, upbeat music as the introduction rolls, making it evident from the start that this particular show is aimed at a younger audience (children). The screen and title are full of bright colors. The presenter is dressed in casual clothing (dungarees), and greets the camera with a grin – unusual for a news show – which sets the happy tone. They begin to speak in an informal language, with the headline being about a dolphin finding a new home. However, they are careful to not poke fun at the topics being discussed. This tactic is clever, as the setting reels children into paying attention to what is being said. They also use sensitive and comprehendible language when speaking on more serious topics, e.g. speaking on counterfeit toys, while explaining what counterfeit means, in a simplistic way that kids can understand. Another example is how the presenters went around Charlie Birds walk for Motor Neurons disease and suicide. This was spoken about gently, and involved asking children to send paintings they’ve made in order to raise money. Once again, this is a direct engagement to the target audience. BBC Newsround has a similar color scheme to News2day – bright colors, bold fonts, very user friendly. Print style instead of video. However, there is a more formal tone from the first look – headline is regarding Russian war crimes in Ukraine, in direct comparison to a dolphin being rehomed. RTE News2Day is easy to follow and pay attention to due to the simplicity of the videos and the themes of the video are soft, honing in on the fact it is aimed at children. The description at the side of their videos reads: “Domestic and international news items of interest to younger viewers.” This line is simple and straight forward to the point, again easy for users to understand. When navigating through the website, it is also very user friendly to the age group it’s aimed at, which is young children. It can be found alongside other kid-aimed shows, such as cartoons like Peppa Pig and Odo. The RTE player itself is dark colour themed, contrasting to the show itself.

The BBC Newsround website is user accessible with clip art on every option at the top of each option (Picture of TV on shows, picture of controller on games). It shows the main headline in a large font with a picture of relevance beside it. A similar layout to News2day, the website is easy to navigate around and is user friendly in regards to locating content. However, the age group it is intended for is young teenagers as opposed to young children. It has content of stories that stretch worldwide, e.g. the ship in Antarctica and the NASA astronaut. Articles are also clickbait worthy, of which does appeal to teenagers. For example, the title of “What do you think is the best smell in the world?” implies that there is some sort of scientific logic behind the answer, in which they would provide. However, the content is merely a poll that people were asked about. In my opinion, and from a teenager themselves, BBC Newsround caters well to their target audience because of these factors.

In RTE News2Day, the tone of the piece is applied through people actually speaking to the camera. You can also see the faces and body language of the presenters, giving an upbeat energy to the gentle topics they speak on. They stay professional and keep composure while giving a relaxed vibe. The effect of smiling through the episode is also effective, in the sense that it immediately gives the energy that the show will not be a heavy watch. This appeals to the target audience directly, as children are easily frightened and intimidated in situations that are “too” serious. For example, when speaking on Charlie Birds walk, mentions of suicide can easily set off alarm bells in a child’s head. But, following it up with the soothing image of sending in paintings to help this cause, encourages engagement and also gives the children a sense of purpose. BBC Newsround is produced through digital print media, meaning that there is no body language or speaking tone when consuming their content. It is relied on to get their message across through their wording of their articles, headlines and images included. However, to me this is executed correctly. While News2day tends to attempt to make the news headlines “fun”, BBC Newsround doesn’t seem like they’re trying to make it that way. The variation of topics from serious to casual (Russia/Ukraine war to game bafta nominations to polls about smells) are just told how they are. There is no attempt to twist the stories with distractions to appeal to the audience. This is something a teenager would appreciate, as although the website is visually appealing (bright colors, stock photos of celebrities, snappy headlines) the stories are still being said how they are. Teenager’s brains are developed enough to understand this, whereas children’s brains are not. Unlike broadcast, there is no presenter in print to cover up the stories with a smile and a change of tone. I feel that although both websites cater well to their target audience, BBC Newsround gives a better spin on the news for the reasons listed above.

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