This year has been a tough one in Houston. Flooding, hurricanes, Covid, school closures, and more piled onto the normal everyday troubles we all have can seem to be overwhelming. And, sometimes it is. Especially for our kids. A couple of those kids decided that the headlines needed to change for their peers and themselves. Richmond seventh-graders Kathit Kadakia and Aryan Seetepalli combined their talents to create their own kid-friendly news outlet, as reported in the Houston Chronicle this week.
These Richmond 7th graders wanted a kid-friendly news site, so they made one
If you feel overwhelmed by the constant onslaught of news during the pandemic, you’ll appreciate what two Fort Bend County boys have developed.
Richmond seventh-graders Kathit Kadakia and Aryan Seetepalli combined their talents to create their own kid-friendly news outlet in May 2020. Now, their outlet The National Outreach is starting to garner attention, with over 4,450 views from more than 15 countries.
“Our headlines don’t frighten,” Kathit said. “It’s not hard to understand. We try to make it simple, so that people can understand.”
“What we did was write it in a way that is easy for everyone, even for kids to understand so that they know what is going on around the world and in their state,” Kathit said.
The duo founded TNO this summer when they personally felt stressed and scared by some of the headlines and wanted to be informed, they said.
“It all started in a group chat,” Aryan said. “We called it 77047 News. Then, I decided to create a website for it. It was meant for all users. It should be at the range where an 80-year-old could understand it to a 10-year-old or to a 45-year-old understanding it. “
One of most important things for the two budding journalists was that the news be immediately accessible.
“We didn’t want it to be something where you log in, buy a blog subscription and read an article that’s extremely confusing,” Aryan said. “We wanted something that you could press the link, you’re in and you find out what happened that day.”
Kathit said that the pair uses reputable sources including NBC, ABC, CBS and CNN. The two boys comb through websites and view the news each morning, then share the information in a creative, straightforward way. They either post it on their TNO blog, YouTube or through WhatsApp.
“We also have a section called Kids News, which we’re taking from multiple sites,” Kathit said. “We usually watch the news, or we look at the website, read it and understand it, and condense it into two to three sentences for each subject.”
After launching The National Outreach, Kathit said it helped create a stronger friendship between the two boys.
“It created a stronger bond between us,” Kathit said. “Before we were just friends, and now we’ve become strong best friends.”
The creative duo attribute the success of The National Outreach to fine-tuning the website and launching a YouTube channel.
“After a few months, we realized that if we wanted the website to grow, then we have to add things to it,” Aryan said. “We started a YouTube channel to help people see across many platforms. We started looking out for interviews.”
The boys’ goal for their outlet is ambitious.
“We want to get to a point where TNO is actually a news force in Houston,” Aryan said. “It’s not going to be an easy walk. We will have to get interviews with more well-known people. We will have to expand where we are writing.”
Kathit said one of his goals is to interview Mayor Sylvester Turner and other notable leaders who shape Houston.
“I want to interview people who are a part of the rich culture of Houston — either government or sports,” Kathit said.
So, what do these kids want to do when they grow up?
“I personally want to be an engineer when I grow up,” Kathit said. Aryan said he’s planning to be an anesthesiologist.
For now though, they just want to keep plugging away and creating news that’s easy-t0-understand and unbiased.
“It’s getting larger than a hobby,” Aryan said. “Now, it’s kind of like, my job.”
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