Journalism notes, resources, pitch

Develop a story idea for journalism by asking these questions:

Who are the people who embody the different sides of this issue? Put a human face on it?

  • Children of diverse gender and backgrounds (Toca Boca markets their apps at this demographic; lots of research compiled)
  • Children with special needs: Toca Boca and similar apps are highly recommended for children with disabilities in Australia and across the world (research available)
  • Parents of children who could use the apps
  • Educators or childhood development professionals using and benefitting from the apps in their work with children (number 16 in Education apps for teachers)
  • App designers, manufacturers and retailers
  • Other digital media producers and toy producers impacted by changing trends and attitudes
  • Activist/political groups campaigning for diversity

 

Whose voice is excluded from the journalistic coverage of this issue you have uncovered so far? What perspective is not well represented?

The voice of children with learning disabilities, or who benefit from diversity other than gender-based diversity. Also, the perspective of educators and childhood professionals is not well represented – information is available online for other educators, but the wider story of how diverse apps can be used to engage children in various contexts is fairly excluded from journalistic coverage.

 

Who could speak for this side of the issue?

Teachers, childhood development specialists, special needs educators, children from diverse backgrounds, parents of children of diverse backgrounds and abilities. App developers could also be contacted for comment. They have made the conscious decision not to focus on the education sector in order to keep their apps engaging and playful rather than rigid and curriculum based, but this could be the reason that they actually have the potential to engage such a wide variety of children.

 

What publication or news outlet would this story suit?

It would be a local publication with a focus on technology, education and social issues: The Age would be best suited to publish the article.

 

Who is their audience?

3.1 million readers as of August 2015 http://www.smh.com.au/business/media-and-marketing/the-newspaper-works-readership-figures-smh-remains-well-ahead-of-the-pack-20151007-gk33yv.html

Audience is mixed politically; 2013 polls indicated The Age readers preferred Liberal over Labour party, yet a hefty proportion of readers favoured the Greens (and thus the 2nd party preferences would put Labour in the lead) http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/5136-political-profiles-of-newspapers-readerships-june-2013-201308272330

Primarily serves a Victorian readership with heavy sales in Melbourne, but also available in Tasmania, ACT, and border regions of SA and NSW.

Both print and online readership, with print readership still profitable yet with falling sales.

14.98% of traffic is from Referrals

56% male readership

60% of readers between age of 30-64

52% in the top ‘Social Grades’; Only 14% of readership earn Less than $40,000 per year

29% families

49% either Managers of Business Decision Makers http://www.adcentre.com.au/brands/the-age/

 

What kind of media would you use to tell the story? what and who would be your sources?

Combination of print and digital media, article with interviews, photos and videos. Sources would include Spectronics, Education and special needs specialists, Nicola Yelland (professor of Education, Vic Uni), teachers and early learning specialists in the classroom, parents and children who use the apps and the app makers.

 

Journalism:

Evidence that Toca Boca is used by teachers/in the classroom:

Used all around the world by language teachers, special needs educators http://praacticalaac.org/tag/toca-boca-apps/ http://www.mrsdscorner.com

/2015/08/10appsfortheSpEdClassroom.html

http://www.creativelanguageclass.com/technology/techy-stuff/toca-boca-apps/

Strongly recommended by Spectronics, an Inclusive Learning Technologies organisation. Education and special needs specialists such as Amanda Hartman recommend Toca Boca for engagement in the classroom.

Ranks within the top Education Apps in Australia as of May 12 2016

Multiple parenting and education blogs mention it as a great engaging and educational app

(http://www.kidspot.com.au/school/preschool/starting-preschool/best-educational-apps-for-preschoolers )

Currently Number 16 on best free education apps for iPad on the iTopChart

Pinned as a top result on Pinterest for Educator’s teacher’s apps

http://classtechtips.com/2015/12/10/edtech-spotlight-6-tinybop-apps/

http://appsforimpact.co/ – American program partnering diverse apps with underserved schools

Recomended as a toy for prep students by Nicola Yelland, Professor of Education, Victoria University, Melbourne

Diversity in marketing → Inclusion in play

PITCH:

Toca Boca and other children’s app designers such as TinyBop market their products as inclusive towards all genders, backgrounds and learning abilities, offering play unhindered by segregation or labels.

Increasingly, these apps endorsed not only by individual parents and children but by childhood learning specialists and educators, highlighting the potential for inclusive child-centric apps to engage with children with special needs.

Toca Boca currently ranks within the top Education Apps in Australia as of May 12 2016 and within the top 20 on the iTop Chart for best free education apps. It has been recommended as a tool for classroom engagement by Spectronics, an Australian institution for Inclusive Learning Technologies focussing on special needs learning. Nicola Yelland, Professor of Education at Victoria Uni, has also recommended the app for prep students.

So far, Toca Boca’s potential to engage children with special needs has been examined only in the academic sphere, mostly advice exchanged between educators and specialists. There is a gap in the journalistic coverage around the marketing of children’s media that has not been addressed. That is: what is the link between diversity in marketing, and inclusion in education and play? What can we learn from the potential for inclusive digital play to engage children with diverse needs and experiences? And finally, how are these apps being used in Melbourne schools, and what are the benefits for Australian students, teachers and families?

This story will focus on the use of Toca Boca and similarly marketed digital media in a Victorian school with a diverse cohort of students with special needs. It will link Toca Boca’s ethos with their unique potential to facilitate childhood development in the classroom, examining the issue from the perspective of local educators, children and families.

It fits with the kind of content usually found in The Age Education section because The Age frequently features content on schools, education, technology and social issues affecting families. The Age also has a strong local focus on Victorian news.

It would appeal to a Victorian audience because it has a huge human interest factor, affecting local schools, educators and families, and potentially influencing special needs education and the wellbeing of disadvantaged students in the future.

 

 

The voice of children with learning disabilities, or who benefit from diversity other than gender-based diversity. Also, the perspective of educators and childhood professionals is not well represented – information is available online for other educators, but the wider story of how diverse apps can be used to engage children in various contexts is fairly excluded from journalistic coverage.

Evidence that Toca Boca is used by teachers/in the classroom:

Used all around the world by language teachers, special needs educators http://praacticalaac.org/tag/toca-boca-apps/ http://www.mrsdscorner.com/2015/08/10appsfortheSpEdClassroom.html

http://www.creativelanguageclass.com/technology/techy-stuff/toca-boca-apps/

Strongly recommended by Spectronics, an Inclusive Learning Technologies organisation. Education and special needs specialists such as Amanda Hartman recommend Toca Boca for engagement in the classroom.

Ranks within the top Education Apps in Australia as of May 12 2016

Multiple parenting and education blogs mention it as a great engaging and educational app

(http://www.kidspot.com.au/school/preschool/starting-preschool/best-educational-apps-for-preschoolers )

Currently Number 16 on best free education apps for iPad on the iTopChart

Pinned as a top result on Pinterest for Educator’s teacher’s apps

http://classtechtips.com/2015/12/10/edtech-spotlight-6-tinybop-apps/

http://appsforimpact.co/ – American program partnering diverse apps with underserved schools

Recomended as a toy for prep students by Nicola Yelland, Professor of Education, Victoria University, Melbourne

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