Tributes have been paid to the man who created Newsround. Edward Barnes, who came up with the idea for the program, has died at the age of 92.
Mr. Barnes also helped create Blue Peter and became director of children’s television.
He had the idea for a newsletter for children when he realized that there weren’t a lot of kids watching the news.
Newsround presenter Ricky Boleto thanked Mr. Barnes on behalf of past and present presenters for his role in creating the program.
He said: “I owe a lot to Edward Barnes. His vision for Newsround has inspired not only me, but so many journalists over the past 50 years.
“Standing in the Newsround studio wouldn’t be possible without its commitment to making news for children.”
In addition to helping to create Blue Peter, Mr. Barnes was also a producer on the series. The program became famous for its pets and live animals in the studio. These have been loved by children across the UK.
He also became famous for his presenter challenges and of course the Blue Peter badge.
Former Blue Peter editor Biddy Baxter described Edward Barnes as “dedicated and exceptional”. She said:
“One of his greatest accomplishments was to create John Craven’s Newsround (as it was then called) which was the world’s first news program specifically for children. The fact that Newsround is celebrating its 50th anniversary is the next year means his legacy continues.
Edward will be sadly missed not only by myself, but also by the countless aspiring program makers who have worked with and for him over the years. “
Mr Barnes said the idea for Newsround came to him and other members of the BBC when they realized that children were running out of topical content.
In an interview in 2018, he said: “The numbers for kids watching adult news were appalling. The news signaled the end of children’s programs at 5:40 am and the news came in, so that was the end of their special time and this boring man arrived in a talking suit.
“I wondered if kids were going to be brought up to be more ignorant of current affairs than kids of a pre-TV age.”
Another concern was that not only were the children uninformed about the world around them, but they also lacked a platform to hear the stories important to them.
He added: “There is also a huge amount of stories that have gone unreported that have affected children.
“There are some stories that are of particular interest to children and they should be given a high priority.”
But Mr Barnes said some people at the BBC were not keen on the idea at the time because they believed telling children about frightening real-world events could “violate children’s innocence.”
He added: “There was a Victorian idea from childhood, that it’s something to be protected and kept – there was still a lot of it back then.”
Edward Barnes suggested the idea of a children’s newsletter as something to help fill in the time if there was an insufficient or outdated TV program.
The deal was that the reporting would be provided by the BBC News department, but those in charge of children’s television would make the final decision on what to include.
John Craven was the show’s first and longest-serving presenter, hosting Newsround for 17 years from 1972 to 1989, and appeared in over 3,000 newsletters during his time on the show.
Newsround has now enjoyed nearly 50 years on our television screens.
Presenter Ricky Boleto said: “It is true that so much has changed since the launch of the program, but some things remain exactly the same. Our audience is still at the heart of everything we do and that is thanks to Edward Barnes and John Craven. “
Former Blue Peter editor and Newsround producer Lewis Bronze described Edward Barnes as “a great boss, critic and likeable viewer.”
“He wanted the BBC’s children’s programs to be the best they could be and to be produced to the same standard as the best BBC shows. He believed our children’s audience deserved excellent original programs made in Great Britain. Brittany and he went out of his way and challenged us. To do these programs. “
Edward Barnes worked on Blue Peter with his late wife Dorothy. Mr Barnes’ son – author Simon Barnes told Newsround: “Part of my childhood was working with my mother and fellow BBC members.
I know my mother’s contribution has been vital to everything he has done. ”
Edward Barnes became the BBC’s children’s program chief for eight years until 1986.
After his retirement he worked as a freelance director before taking a course in pastoral theology.