Ask any reporter, correspondent or TV host about their experiences with interviewing children and the unanimous answer will be: ‘It’s a disaster!’ How are you? ‘Okay’. How do you like it here? ‘Fine’. By asking the right questions, having a little patience and especially by showing a sincere interest, the children will be forthcoming, surprising and moving.
The Kidscorrespondent is the first correspondent in the world whose aim is to have children worldwide tell their stories. Children situated in locations where the news is taking place. For example the countries afflicted by Ebola. So far no child has told how it is to have the virus and survive. No classroom has told how it is to spend weeks at home and to lose your loved ones.
The world speaks about the tens of thousands of children that have left everything behind and are on the run from IS. We have hardly heard the children themselves. What have they experienced? How are they doing? What do they think needs to happen? How do they see their future?
There are elections, demonstrations, parties, natural disasters and dozens of other news stories in which children are involved. All these children have their own stories that are worth listening to.
The Kidscorrespondent will also visit extraordinary children. By now everyone knows Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai. There are many others like her who are committed to helping others and to bringing attention to problems. Another example is a talented ten year old artist who sells millions of euros worth of paintings each year. Or a boy who is going blind and is working off a list of things he wants to have seen. Never has a journalist interviewed these children extensively and let them tell their stories.
Occasionally the Kidscorrespondent will visit interesting adults as well. They often use big words and speak ambiguously. Something children do not understand. That is why the Child Correspondent will ask these adults questions on behalf of the children. Whenever possible he will take the children to the politicians, sportsmen and artists. An interview done by children can often lead to unexpected answers and situations.
For more than ten years Tako Rietveld (35) made reports for the NOS Youth News. After finishing the School of Journalism in Utrecht in 2001, he started working for the NOS. It did not take long before he started doing reports amongst children. In addition, Rietveld worked for RTL News, several local networks and he has written for Wegener daily newspapers and The Gelderlander. For the French-German channel ARTE he travelled throughout Europe as a presenter and a reporter. The journey resulted in 25 television episodes and a documentary.
On behalf of the Youth News he worked on the daily broadcasts as well as numerous special projects, such as the elections, the annual summaries and the succession. He did a live report on the shooting in Alphen aan de Rijn, the Queen’s Day drama in Apeldoorn and the national day of mourning for the victims of flight MH17. Tako also made reports on the World championships soccer in Germany, South Africa and Brazil, he went to the Olympic Games in China and attended Nelson Mandela’s funeral. And for a long time he was the only journalist to talk to the young sailor Laura Dekker on television. He was the only reporter to ask president Obama a question during his visit to the Netherlands. ‘Because I was standing among the children’: he explaines.
In addition to being a reporter on television, Tako Rietveld is a writer, presenter, lecturer, course leader, daily chairman and now the Kidscorrespondent as well.