Photo Credit: Lucky Duck Productions
Nick News, the 19-year-old "conscience wing" of Nickelodeon programming, has a new episode airing this Sunday called Workin’ It. The show profiles kids with jobs ranging from babysitting and professional acting to restaurant working and designing iPod apps. Clearly by design, these are typical decent-to-pretty-cool jobs for young people. But, as the focus of a TV show, does it pass both the "need to know" and "neat to know" tests?
In press materials for the show, host Linda Ellerbee promotes it this way: "This edition of Nick News is a video version of, and a salute to what journalist Studs Terkel did in his book, 'Working.' But he interviewed only grownups, so we decided to speak with kids about their jobs and how they feel about what they do."
Nick News has a record of covering highly relevant and controversial issues including President Clinton's impeachment hearings, cancer, war, stress, cheating, homeless animals, genocide, autism and annoying things parents do. Hmmm... which one of these is not like the others?
I guess Workin’ It falls somewhere between the "vitally-important-but-dull" category and the "amusing-but-irrelevant" category. Or it might just fall into a tragic third -- both unexciting and pointless. Will kids really be inspired to entrepreneurship when they learn from a basketball announcer that the hardest part of her job is "making sure you’re gonna be awake for the whole game"? And will such shocking non-celebrity revelations keep kid audiences awake for the show?
I've always admired Ellerbee and Nick News for even attempting to bring important current events and real-life issues out of the classroom and into the at-home lives of children. But they should stick with the formula that wins them so many prestigious awards and accolades, and avoid pandering to children or just spotlighting kids being kids. That's what the other 99.9% of Nick is for -- and they've clearly mastered the art.
Is 'Nick News' pandering too much to kids? Chime in now!