Kids report on the presidential race
The Scholastic Kids Press Corps has 80-plus members ages 10 to 14 from all over the United States.
Have you tuned in yet to the race for president? If the record-breaking voter turnout and close-call primaries haven't been enough to hold your attention, consider this: Amid the pack of journalists at the debates, campaign rallies, and victory parties, students your age are reporting the whole scene from a kid's perspective.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Outfitted in bright red shirts and armed with microphones and notebooks, the Scholastic Kids Press Corps has 80-plus members ages 10 to 14 from all over the United States.
Their stories at Scholastic News Online (www.scholastic.com/election2008) include everything from the candidates' ideas about education to interviews with their children.
They'll even tell you about behind-the-scenes stuff, like a security dog sniffing its way down a line of people before an event.
Before they started, the Kid Reporters got tips from professionals about how to cover a story. But it's up to them to come up with questions and write up what they hear and see. (See the questions in the box at the top of the next page.)
She thought it would be scary, but when she started talking to the candidates at a debate, "it felt like just talking to [an ordinary] person," she says. "They treated me nicer, because they let me have extra questions, but other than that, I think they treated me like a real reporter."
That's because she is a real one. "Their copy [another word for story] is treated just like any other professional journalist's copy is treated," says Suzanne Freeman, editor of Scholastic News Online.
Sometimes the kid reporters turn heads as they set up alongside much taller journalists. Photographers focus cameras on them, but these novice newshounds keep focused on their mission.
A few days before the New Hampshire primary, Hana and three of her fellow fifth-grade reporters attended a rally for Sen. Barack Obama at Concord High School. They propped up tripods and video cameras on two corners of an elevated platform for the press, and waited.
This day they arrived early enough to stake out a good spot. But student videographer Peter Newland says his most challenging moment during the fall campaign came during a John McCain event. There he had to struggle to hold the camera high enough to film over people's heads.
Peter says he enjoys telling other students about the presidential candidates because "the president will affect your future.... They could make it better; they could make it worse. It helps if you watch those types of things."
Kids' questions for the candidates
These questions were prepared by Scholastic Kid Reporters for Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a few days before the primaries in New Hampshire:
1. Why should my parents vote for you?
2. What is your plan for renewable energy, not including nuclear power?
3. How would you make sure that all children get a good education?
4. Where do you think you received most of your education: in a classroom or real life?
5. If you could go back to any grade, what would it be and why?
6. What inspired you to run for president?
7. I'm really worried about the war in Iraq and the threat from Iran. What are your plans for keeping America safe?
8. What cause do you feel is the main focus of your campaign?