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  • Broadcaster: German public Television, Bavarian Television (BR)
    Photo_checker_can

    Checker Can is a successful German reporter show for children between 6 and 12 years

  • Target group: 6 to 12 years
  • Coverage: 1.000.000 viewers weekly
  • Country: Germany
  • Link: Checker Can

Explanations
Every “Checker Can” show starts with a catchy opening. This can be a joke or a funny beginning, which is directly linked to the topic of the show. You should always put a lot of effort in inventing these opening gags because you need to attract the children’s attention and make them interested in the topic.

  • catchy opening
  • short and with a lot of humour
  • directly linked to the topic

After introducing the topic in the opening follows a general overview of the topic. You need to build a foundation, as children do not have such a broad basic knowledge as we have. This is why it is important to contextualize before you go into the details of the topic. By the way in the introduction should be some facts and numbers – children like that. Besides the “Checker Can” introduction works as a teaser: it tells what will happen within the show, where the reporter will go, what he will experience and find out for his viewers.

  • Gives general information
  • Tells the children why they should be interested in the topic.
  • Short teaser within introduction: creates suspense.

Report:
A report for children is a bit different from a report for adults but still it is a report. You need a good setting; you need a sympathetic reporter and a knowledgeable and likeable interview partner or expert.
But: for children it is very important the person you interview is funny, likes to joke AND explains in a simple and clear way. The reporter on the other hand should not only just ask questions but TRY as much as he/she can.

  • Lively reporter that tries out things.
  • Help the interview partner with their work. Be active.
  • Ask simple questions, questions a child would ask.
  • Find interview partner that is able to simplify difficult issues.
  • Likable interview partner, who has to be able to explain things in a simple way.
  • See: reporting for children (I am gonna send you the link)

If it is not possible for the reporter to try out things (he won’t be able to fly the plane like a pilot) then you should at least try to go to places where the children won’t be able to go (e.g. cockpit, sit in the pilot seat and try to steer the plane on the ground). The questions the reporter asks should be those children would presumably ask.
The camera work is also very important. Children like to go into details. They want to see everything very close. So the cameraman should be as close as he can and show in detail what is happening.

    • Moving Camera, but not too hectically.
    • Many close up shots. Show the details.
    • Be creative in finding new perspectives.
    • What about stop motion,

Ways to explain complex issues:

If you have the possibility to use animations do so. The style of graphics should be simple and clear. Animations are just one possible visualization for complex and often invisible processes.

There are also other ways to visualize and explain complex issues. Here is one idea, which only needs white board, a pen and a camera. Of course you have to write a precise and funny text to the pictures.

Another simple way of visualizing invisible processes is using props, even if the props are human beings.

To get inspired even more have a look at the Best Practice Section.

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