Whiting wins international award for Kid Scoop News

Vicki Whiting, the creator of Kid Scoop, was one of 12 recipients of the Global Youth and News Media Prize for the publication’s coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Being a publication directed toward kids, it sought to explain the chaos of a world-altering event with simple, kid-friendly vocabulary and colorful illustrations.

“I knew children were puzzled and even frightened,” Whiting said. “People were wearing (or not wearing) masks. It was all very mysterious.”

Their issues touched upon a variety of the topics which arose throughout the chaos. The information included “What is coronavirus and how does it spread?” “How to stop the virus? By joining the Kid Scoop Scrub Squad!” and coloring the “Bubbles prevent troubles” coloring page — the five-step hand-washing plan.

Kid Scoop also included word searches using words such as sneeze, cough, spread, distance and more, as well as how to talk to family members about worries around the virus. The creative team on the project included Jeff Schinkel, Eli Smith and another local, Vivien Whittington.

In all, the project encompassed both booklets and news pages full of activities, crafts and writing spaces for kids to learn and interact in a trying time. The 16-page booklets were distributed for free to 70,000 kids in low-income households in the San Francisco Bay Area. The news pages, which first appeared in the Sonoma Index-Tribune, now appear in more than 300 newspapers across the world, reaching 7.5 million readers.

In some Sonoma classrooms, you can find teachers using Kid Scoop to increase reading and mathematics skills, expand knowledge of geography, history, science, current events and governance, learn the difference between fact and opinion, and discover local community events.

Aralynn Abare McMane, the director of Youth & News Media at the World Association of Newspapers, commented on the Kid Scoop Pandemic News for Children entry: “Kid Scoop News, the organization’s own newspaper, provides an oasis of calm for its young readers who face an increasing array of bewildering realities. Bravo on your fine work!”

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