One month to go until the EU elections: TV reporters Dilek usuk and Maral Bazargani explain the continent to children in "Logo!".
Dilek usuk (left) and Maral Bazargani Photo: ZDF
Until the late eighties, children only saw the news that adults saw as well. For example, what came after the insistent gong at eight o’clock in the evening. The Tagesschau on the German public broadcaster Ersten – fascinatingly incomprehensible to children. From January 1989, the decade of inflationary hairspray consumption was just coming to an end, the fall of the Berlin Wall was imminent, came an alternative for children and young people, on ZDF started the program "Logo!"
Those broadcasting fees paid off, 30 years later the show still exists. Journalists Maral Bazargani and Dilek usuk also watched "Logo!" as children and teenagers. Even more, one "a little younger," the other "a little older" than the newscast, now work as reporters for "Logo!" Why do they do journalism for kids? "It’s a diverse, challenging job," Bazargani says. "And it’s just really fun," usuk adds.
With the EU elections coming up in May, Bazargani and usuk have been traveling to various countries, including Romania, Finland, Portugal and Greece. There, they each accompanied a child in his or her everyday life and each presented an organization in the country that receives funding from the EU. "We wanted to show how children live in other EU countries, showing not only the differences but also the similarities," usuk says. One of the protagonists from Portugal, for example, regularly takes part in the Fridays for Future demonstrations, as do many students in Germany.
The political issue par excellence for children is education. "It doesn’t matter whether they are at a high-tech school with open-space concepts in Finland or at a village school in Romania," says Bazargani. And what other topics are young people interested in? "Environment, nature, animals" – "School, family, friends" – Basically everything that happens in their immediate environment that is related to friends and family, the reporters explain.
"Logo!" news, at 7:50 p.m. on the Children’s Channel (Fridays at 7:25 p.m.). Starting on 4/23 with features from Europe and on May 17 with a "Logo!" special on the EU elections.
Thinking in perspective
More abstract questions would therefore have to be prepared in a very special way. "What are the tasks of EU politicians? What does the EU Parliament do? Why is it important to go to the EU elections?" Graphic explanatory pieces, for example, can help here. Incidentally, this is a concept that has now also become established in adult reporting. "Logo!" has been doing this for decades.
In 2018, "Logo!" reached 370,000 viewers*, 200,000 of whom are children aged 3 to 13. Every day at 7:50 p.m., there is child-friendly news from around the world. But how do you produce child-friendly news? "You can’t assume knowledge and you have to put yourself in children’s shoes," says Dilek usuk.
Dilek usuk, "Logo!" reporter
"You can’t presuppose knowledge and you have to think your way into the perspective."
The journalist did a traineeship at ZDF and worked for the station in Saarland for five years before switching to "Logo!" in 2015. Since then, she has been on the road as a reporter for the children’s news program, as well as for the ZDF.info program "Forum am Freitag." Since this year, she also writes and speaks the news for the RBB "Abendschau".
"The work in the various editorial departments doesn’t differ much. Sometimes topics even overlap. However, the facts are conveyed differently for children, with different texts," says usuk. By the way, the reporters don’t think much of leaving out unpleasant and harsh news for children. When there were riots by racists in Chemnitz in 2018, Bazargani was on the scene and reported. Of course, without violent images. "If we didn’t, they would know we were withholding news from them," she says.
Bazargani has been on "Logo!" since 2017, covering athletics highlights for "Sportschau." Before that, she did a traineeship at SWR and worked in the sports editorial department at SWR, where the target audience was much more mixed in terms of age.
What are the prerequisites for good journalism for children? "To really understand the facts you want to explain to children yourself," says Bazargani and laughs. Of course, the approach, choice of words and concept are different from those of traditional news. But: "Apart from that, the journalistic work for adults and adolescents is pretty similar."