Lyndee and Leela Prickitt
Lyndee and Leela Prickitt

Newsy Jacuzzi: A first-of-its-kind news podcast for children

In India, finding a noiseless space is a task.

Once every week, for a couple of hours, mother and daughter Lyndee Prickitt and Leela Sivasankar Prickitt, crawl under their bed and record news podcast. It’s back-breaking but worth it, Lyndee  says. Together they’ve launched Newsy Jacuzzi, a first-of-its-kind news podcast for children. The space under their bed was the quietest they could find to record.

In India, finding a noiseless space is a task. If there’s not someone honking outside or shouting their wares to buy, then there’s the constant buzzing of the phone to contend with.

“But mainly, since most homes in India aren’t fully carpeted, the sound is echoey. Closets are a good place to record but our apartment doesn’t have any big enough.

So we found ourselves under the bed, with the AC off,” says Lyndee.

For the longest time, she had been wanting to start a podcast. When the lockdown happened, she was faced with spending all summer stuck inside a hot Delhi apartment with an eight-year-old. “I had to find an activity that both of us liked.

And I was sick of baking! Since my daughter is a podcast fanatic, she jumped at the idea of creating one. We were also missing our normal summer travels back to England and America.

So we figured we had to bring the world to us. A world news podcast was a natural choice,” she says.
A couple of days are spent writing, recording and editing.

They create artworks to go as thumbnails with the audio files. Each episode is around 20 minutes long and is targeted at primary school kids, eight-12 years old. No parental guidance is necessary. It goes up every Wednesday at noon.

Everything is gently told in an objective, non-partisan way, she shares. Lyndee and Leela both anchor in English.

They also have a team of kid correspondents across the globe. “Leela takes the lead, introducing and closing the show, but I’m there to help explain the complicated stories. And I’m also there to find and edit the funny sound effects, from cow farts to rocket launches, hurricanes, to animals cooing. It starts with headlines, and then we go into the big news story of the week (which has been anything from the ‘poo fighters’ who analyse poo to tell if a neighbourhood has coronavirus or not, to storm season, including the Mumbai floods, to a guide for kids going back to school in a pandemic),” says Lyndee. 

Everything from top science news to the latest in tech, arts, culture and entertainment is presented. “We also like to start each show off with a quick take on the world’s headlines in ‘Around the World in 80 Seconds’. And just for the fun of it, we end every episode with an ‘Oddball Story’ to make your jaw drop. This could be anything from blue lobsters and chocolate snow in Switzerland to 3D dinosaurs in your kitchen,” says Leela, who gets her stories from newspapers and websites.

She painstakingly goes through several of them to find the most exciting ones, such as the feature about the Botswana cows that have faces painted on their butts to ward off lions. Interestingly, adults seem hooked too.

Perhaps, because mainstream news is dominated by politics. Getting information about the latest space conquest or what’s happening deep in our oceans, is something people are interested in but don’t get enough of.

Now you can get all that and more through this news wire.
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The New Indian Express