Nyheter for barn og forestillinger om barndom. Barns erfaringer og Supernytts tekstlige strategier
Not peer reviewed
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This thesis is about children’s experiences with children’s news, in particular the public service broadcaster NRK’s Supernytt. In recent years, several different news services for children have emerged in the Norwegian media landscape, which has implications for children’s status as a news audience. This thesis provides insight into how children between the ages of eight and twelve make sense of what it means to have access to news that are specifically tailored for their age group, why such news exists, and the reasons behind the textual strategies used in children’s news. In exploring these questions, a combination of qualitative interviews with children and quantitative and qualitative textual analyses of Supernytt is used. Through analysing both children’s utterances and textual strategies found in the news, widespread and often taken-forgranted notions of children and childhood are rendered visible, thus contributing to insight into the positions children are offered as news viewers and citizens.
The study aims to provide insight into the notions of children and childhood that characterize both children’s experiences and Supernytt. The main focus is on the ways the children participating in the study draw on cultural norms, values and ideas when reflecting on their own experiences with news and when they interpret the use of different textual strategies in children’s news. In order to highlight the cultural logic permeating the children’s sensemaking, the notion of interpretative repertoires is utilized. Such repertoires can be understood as cultural building blocks, or as recurrently used ways of characterizing and evaluating actions, events and phenomena (Potter & Wetherell, 1987). The use of a learning repertoire and a vulnerability repertoire is highlighted as particularly dominant in the interviews. The participants navigate in ideals concerning the importance of being an informed and enlightened news viewer, while simultaneously describing children as vulnerable when faced with news about violence, suffering and crises. Intertwined with these repertoires is an understanding of childhood as a phase of life characterized by play and freedom from responsibility. For example, some of the participants describe children as a particularly entertainmentoriented group.
These different notions of children and childhood, with their inherent tensions, are also reflected in the textual strategies found in Supernytt. Based both on the participants’ readings and textual analyses, the thesis explores how the programme balances considerations of informing, providing guidance, and treating children as active participants in society, while simultaneously protecting, consoling and entertaining the child audience.
The ways the children in the study talk about their experiences, and the textual features of Supernytt, reflect what has been described as a prominent feature of childhood in late modernity: a coexistence of different and sometimes contradictory notions of children as vulnerable and at risk, as human becomings in need of guidance and education, but also as autonomous and competent participants and citizens.