Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Nick News with Linda Ellerbee

Nick News with Linda Ellerbee

Spring 2015 Television
Ages: 6 - 12 yrs.
Producer: Nickelodeon
Rating: TV PG

It's simple, really. "If you want to know, ask!" Linda Ellerbee's trademark sign off is as much a call to action as it is a promise; kids trust that she will always tell like it is. More than that, Ellerbee listens to her viewers, which is why Nick News with Linda Ellerbee is such an exemplary TV special for kids. Thanks to this thoughtful program, a generation of viewers has grown up watching Nick News with Linda Ellerbee help decode the big issues of the day.

While the nightly news shows and 24/7 news channels can frighten with hype tactics designed to boost ratings, Ellerbee uses a measured no-nonsense approach that tones down but doesn't dumb down. Whether it's discussing the children caught up in a war in Syria, exploring the problem of concussions and injuries in youth sports or reporting on the lives gay kids in the face of bullying and fear, Ellerbee offers sanctuary and sensibility. Despite the desperate situation faced by many of the children interviewed, the episode titled "The Children of War, Dreaming of Peace" is story of remarkable optimism. Fleeing their homes in war-torn Syria to refugee camps in Jordan, the episode is as much about resiliency as it about the displacement and hardships caused by war. Ellerbee manages to put the issues into sharp perspective, but never in a judgmental, political or preachy fashion. The topics are relevant, and those like the one that faces Kate, a young soccer player dealing with memory loss and motor function problems from a sport concussion, can hit close to home for many viewers. Others, such as four kids who openly discuss the frightening and eventually liberating feeling of coming out to their parents and school friends, is an important discussion. As she has guided young audiences through thorny material over the past 23 years, Ellerbee continues to provide safe harbor to discuss, educate and connect.

Laura Fries   ©2015 Parents' Choice
A freelance writer and 20 year member of the Television Critics Association Laura has been writing about television and film entertainment for more years than she cares to admit. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alexandria, Virginia.

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