Friday, December 4, 2009

Tween Tribune: News For Kids & News By Kids, by TweenTribune

Tween Tribune: News For Kids & News By Kids, by TweenTribune, 2009.

“Our democracy depends upon a well-informed public, so it's important to foster a daily news-reading habit at an early age.” - About Us:

Reader's Annotation
Learn about everything from world events to simply weird events on this news site…and submit your stories and comments as well!

About the Author
Tween Tribune is produced by, whose managing editor is Alan Jacobson. Jacobson has worked in the communications industry as a photographer, designer, and editor. He has received honors from the Society for News Design, and is a graduate of the Philadelphia College of Art. He's the father of two tweens himself, and the president of BrassTacksDesign, which provides editorial, advertising and technical support to newspapers.

Web site: daily news

Interest Age
10-14 years

Content of Site
This is a news site for tweens, and claims to be the only such site for tweens which updates its news on a daily basis. Based on the vocabulary level and short length of the articles, this site could be used by ages 10 and up. The homepage indicates that the principal news stories posted are selected by tweens working with professional journalists. Tweens can also submit content to the site, such as links to news stories that they find interesting, stories they have written themselves, book reviews, and comments on the stories posted. The site is free to use, but students must register in conjunction with their teacher. This is a nice feature which should hopefully prevent adults from registering and misrepresenting themselves as tweens. Additionally, students are never contacted by the site’s creators. There are several handy features for teachers, including the ability to moderate their students’ comments. The site generates a homepage for each student, as well as one for the class. The site is well organized, with news stories on the left, and a list of subject categories and tweens’ comments on the right.

Critical Evaluation
What I love most about this site is how well it integrates “hard news” of domestic and international events, celebrity updates, and strange-but-true stories into one package. Tweens will enjoy giggling at the news of the odd, and hopefully then notice the “serious” news piece above or below it. The inclusion of tweens’ comments after the articles (at least 10,400+ comments posted since 2008) is another great feature which I think will further persuade tweens that this site – and keeping up on the news in general – is relevant to them. And the fact that tweens are involved in selection of the principal articles gives the site even more “tween credibility”. However, the way in which tweens are involved in the selection process is not explained in enough detail. Another omission is that the news articles written by adults do not include authors’ names. A strong point of the site is the lack of advertisements. Overall, a great site for tweens, which so many seem to be enjoying already.

Talking Up the Site
• Read a couple of the more entertaining news stories aloud, including tweens’ comments.
• Show students examples of some of the ways that they can contribute to the site.

Curriculum Ideas
Language Arts: Students write and submit stories to the site themselves.

Potential Challenge Issues & Defense
I do not foresee any challenges to this site, but if any were to arise, the following steps could be taken in defense:
• Become familiar enough with the site’s content to promote its merits.
• Refer to library’s Internet policies.
• Refer to site reviews from authoritative sources.
• Obtain site reviews from tweens who have used it.

Why I Chose This Site
I learned of this site through Common Sense Media, which reviews and estimates age ratings for all forms of children’s media.

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