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Storytellers: Kids deliver the news with a touch of 'KIND'–ness

The K-IND news team is made up of 5th-grade students at Independence Elementary in Aurora who are passionate about informing others.

AURORA, Colo. — It’s hard to pick just one year, but around 10 years old is a good time in a child’s life. Not too young, and not yet a teenager.

A time of innocence, and curiosity. The perfect time to report the news. Seriously. We have seen the future and, perhaps, the best news team ever at Independence Elementary School in Aurora.

Welcome to K-IND news, where the best ideas come from big minds in small bodies.

"It’s K-IND network," explains Sherri Tobin, the students' instructor. "We’re 'Independence,' so we put the 'K' in front of that and became the 'K-IND Network.'"

Credit: KUSA

Newsrooms are meant to be noisy, quirky and high energy. Serious too, because news is important at every age.

"Yay, some serious stuff," student Amina Abdile exclaims. "Like the virus, coronavirus and the new virus that came out."

The students enjoy sharing information with their classmates like the latest pandemic news, and the history behind holidays like Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

"I think the value of news is letting people know what’s happening around the world," Abdile said. "The whole school looks at the videos we do."

"I think of news as this mega complicated thing, more than just one thing or another," says student Bishop Gonzalez, who's passion is editing. "And I thought, there were a billion people editing at one, on live air, but really it’s one or two people or three or four."

Credit: KUSA

"We really look to try to give them voice and choice," Tobin said. "They get to choose topics that are meaningful to them, that they’re relating to, that other students will relate to. So things along equity lines, along… we talk about a lot of mental health issue."

These kids just hit double digits and they’ve already produced six newscasts.

"They know that we put a lot of effort into it, so they want to enjoy it as best as they can," Gonzalez said. "It’s kind of cool having a news team in your own school too."

"I think a lot of them didn’t realize what they could do and their potential," Tobin said. "It makes me so proud to watch and just see and celebrate with them, when they high-five one another in here and encourage one another."

Credit: KUSA

They research and write their stories. They run the camera, and edit. They do the weather and sports.

"My job is any job I get," Abdile said enthusiastically.

"We do international news and highlight a lot of the different cultures in our school," Tobin said. "It’s just amazing to watch, they get to select what they do."

"If everybody was the same – we would like – if everybody was exactly like me, everybody would want to do football and there would be no fun facts and weather," student Peyton Smith said.

And, as 9NEWS photojournalist Austyn Knox can attest, they ask good questions too.

"When I was in high school my mom bought me a camera and just fell in love with it," Knox said. 

The interviewer was quick to ask if Knox still had the camera that helped spark his passion.

"Yes, I do," he answered.

Credit: KUSA

The news brought the students together.

"They all feel like they have a place and they feel like they belong, so it’s that sense of belonging that’s so important," Tobin said.

What they’ve learned is news can be a lot of things, a lot of good things, at a network they call 'K-IND.'

"Dedication, hard work, friendship skills," Gonzalez answered when asked what doing the news has taught him. "Learning how to cooperate, learning how to use computers and editing software. That’s what I’ve learned."

Credit: KUSA
Credit: KUSA

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