Consolation in Children’s News: A Longitudinal Content Analysis of the Dutch NOS

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Not only for adults, but also for children it is important to be informed on what is going on in the world. However, on a daily basis, children’s news producers face a trade-off between fully informing children and not causing distress. In times of changing views on childhood and changes in the media landscape, the current study examined changes in the use of consolation strategies in the Dutch children’s television news program NOS Jeugdjournaal from 2000 to 2016, with a (manual) content analysis. Based on previous research, consolation strategies were studied at the program-, item- and shot level. On the one hand, the NOS Jeugdjournaal seems to become less inclined to protect children, showing a decrease in expert sources, distance shots and an increase in the repetition of sensational images and the prevalence of frightening sounds. On the other hand, results remain mixed. The amount of items on sensational topics and time devoted to these topics is relatively low and has not changed over time. Also the use of the sandwich formula did not change over the years. Yet, the amount of children as source has risen, which might signal a greater focus on the stories of children themselves. Implications and avenues for future research are discussed.
Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen