CBBC Newsround celebrates 50 years

For half a century, Newsround has played a significant role in making news accessible to generations of children and enabling them to understand the world around them. 

John Craven’s mantra of “keep it short, simple and interesting” is as vital today as it was in 1972 and in the era of fake news, Newsround is seen as a trusted and credible news source. 

The show is watched by an estimated 2m kids at least once a week in schools and visited online by around 850k unique browsers a week to read latest articles on world news, animals, celebrities, gaming and the latest playground trend. 

Each story is told with truth, clarity and simplicity to keep kids informed on issues including racism, equality, COVID-19 and more recently the Ukraine crisis, where the show has reported on the conflict and continually reassured its young audience. 

Newsround has been at the heart of many historical events, reporting on natural disasters, wars, famines, elections, terror attacks and many other key moments from the last 50 years. 

From breaking news stories like the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in 1981 and the Space Shuttle Challenger crash in 1986, Newsround has continually been at the forefront of explaining news to children. 

John Craven’s Newsround was much more informal with the newsdesk removed, the presenter standing in front of the camera and John himself wearing a series of fun wool knits. John also coined the phrase “and finally”, rounding the show off with a light-hearted news story that is still used today. 

Many famous faces have passed through the Newsround studio as presenters including Channel 4 news reader, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, ITV news reader, Julie Etchingham, BBC entertainment correspondent, Lizo Mzimba and many more. 

Following in John Craven’s footsteps, the show continues to produce award-winning specials on a range of topics including: The Holocaust, periods, dyslexia, bullying, mental health, racism and many more. These specials reflect the lives of British kids and offer them a voice. 

Tim Davie, BBC director-general said: “Children want to understand events and the world around them. Newsround was a brilliant idea fifty years ago and it is just as relevant today – perhaps even more so in a world of misinformation.” 

Director of BBC Children’s, Patricia Hidalgo said: “For 50 years Newsround has been an iconic part of Children’s TV and continues to inform, educate and entertain the children of today. We are so proud to see it reach this milestone and we look forward to watching it flourish for the children of tomorrow.” 

As a celebration of Newsround’s 50th anniversary and to continue to reach young viewers and tell stories that matter to its audience, the show has announced some exciting future plans: 

Return of the Press Pack Scheme 
Running from the 1980’s, Newsround’s Press Pack Scheme offered budding young journalists a chance to join the Newsround team as a reporter and tell the stories that mattered to them. Thousands applied and hundreds were given the opportunity to attend red carpet premieres, interview celebrities and be a voice for their generation with their reports appearing on the show. 

Press Pack is back in 2022, giving children of today the chance to join the elite Newsround Press Pack Club. This generation of Newshounders will be encouraged to be mini reporters on the ground, telling stories that matter to children, writing and producing articles to appear on the website and even filming their own reports to be given a coveted slot in the bulletin. 

British Sign Language (BSL) version of Newsround 
To reach even more children, from spring onwards Newsround will be launching the first ever BSL version of the show. Each weekday the online bulletin will include a sign language interpreter and in the near future, transcribed subtitles will also be introduced. 

New Newsround Specials 

Newsround Presenter De-Graft Mensah will be journeying to Ghana as he discovers his heritage and roots in Empire and Me: A Newsround Special, De-Graft will meet young British children to hear about their family history, before setting off to Ghana to learn about his own family and see the key places that were instrumental to the history of the British Empire. Along the way, he’ll discover parts of Ghana that are still affected by the Empire and speak to children there about their experiences. 

Our Queen takes a look at the 70-year reign of the Queen through the eyes of children. 

Children from diverse communities from all four nations of the UK will share their thoughts on the monarch. Some will have met The Queen, some will have had life changing experiences through her charities, and some will talk about what they think her role is in the nation. 

The documentary will be accompanied by interactive digital content on the reign of The Queen, for use by children both at school and at home. 

On Newsround’s anniversary, CBBC and BBC iPlayer will air Let’s Talk About Sexism which sees presenter Lauren Layfield return on a mission to address the issue of sexism. 

Lauren will start by looking at what sexism is, its history and why it still exists. She’ll hear from school children about their opinions, before speaking to leading experts including author, Laura Bates, activists, Gina Martin and Ben Hurst and MP Jess Phillips. 

As well as sharing her own experiences, Lauren will hear from singer, Olivia Dean, Manchester United Women’s Football Player, Mary Earps and Mathematician, Zainab Kwaw-Swanzy as they discuss their thoughts on sexism and the changes they wish to see for future generations. 

Let’s Talk About Sexism will air at 6pm, Monday 4 April on CBBC and BBC iPlayer. 

A Special 50th Anniversary Newsround bulletin 
To commemorate half a century of Newsround, there will be a special extended Newsround bulletin on Monday 4 April (On CBBC and BBC iPlayer at 7:45am). 

As well as the day’s stories, the bulletin will include a film featuring Newsround archive from the past five decades, interviews with current and past presenters including: John Craven, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Lizo Mzimba, Ellie Crisell and Sonali Shah, who will all share what the iconic show means to them. 

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