The Borowitz Report

Website review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
The Borowitz Report Website Poster Image
Satirical blog's political coverage may confuse some kids.

Parents say

age 2+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about political topics, figures, and current events -- although, because the news is satirical, some of it isn't true, which could be confusing. The blog provides reading practice; because the posts mimic the traditional journalistic style of writing, kids will also get some exposure to newswriting structure. The posts may encourage kids to look up additional information about some of the subject matter; parents, though, or another adult should let them know posts often feature more humor than fact. There's a "not the news" disclaimer on the homepage, but the writing and layout makes many items look like real news reports.

 

Positive Messages

Content could, in theory, encourage kids to be more interested in politics, take a stance on certain issues.

Violence
Sex

Mostly political posts only occasionally mention something sexually related, like a politician's rumored sex tape, but text doesn't contain images, lurid references.

 

Language
Consumerism

Kids will see some ads; you can also only read a few items before being told you'll need to subscribe to The New Yorker to read more.

 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

References are rare, fairly mild, such as an article on how liquor stores were seeing a run on merchandise close to last year's presidential election.

 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Borowitz report is mainly a political blog published by The New Yorker magazine. Kids won't see a ton of objectionable content posted on the site at all. The posts mimic brief articles you'd see in a legit news outlet, but they have a satirical bent. Kids may miss that at first glance and assume they're factual. Users can't comment on blog posts, so kids won't have any chance to post their name or other identifiable information that could put them at risk -- or be exposed to heated political arguments at the end of each post.

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What's it about?

THE BOROWITZ REPORT is created by New York Times best-selling author and a comedian Andy Borowitz, who launched the satirical news column in 2001; the blog was acquired by The New Yorker in 2012 and is now housed on its website. Posts are made a few times a week and often offer a tongue-in-cheek take on recent political events, although some also poke fun at made-up medical studies and other topics. Users can sign up for an email, RSS feed, or follow The Borowitz Report on Twitter.

Is it any good?

Limited access to content, as well as bland presentation and politically focused content may keep this satire site more for parents than kids. The Borowitz Report doesn’t have many bells and whistles; the design couldn't be simpler – it’s literally a list of blog posts. The site is a section of the New Yorker’s website, and there’s plenty of content in the magazine’s other sections, but the Borowitz Report itself offers little else than satirical posts and the ability to sign up for the site’s RSS feed or follow it on Twitter. The reading material is funny, and it’s not necessarily inappropriate for kids -- a few items that mention things that are adult-oriented, such a public figure supposedly having a sex tape, but the description is nothing more salacious than kids would read in the paper.

The blog content’s biggest challenge for reaching younger readers is its design. The content isn't presented in a way that’s particularly interactive -- don’t expect games, sounds, or lots of visuals; standard photos accompany most posts. There’s also no topic list or way to search through posts -- users can only click through the blog’s older entries, one page at a time. General tags, like “satire,” that are featured at the bottom of each post will pull up a mishmash of cartoons, essays, and other items from various sections on The New Yorker site, which makes it difficult to find Borowitz Report posts on a specific topic. Adding more accessible navigation would provide a better experience. The list-like design and lack of engagement-based features -- coupled with the fact you can only click on six posts before being told you've reached your limit of free articles for the month and need to pay $12 to subscribe to The New Yorker to access more -- may prevent the site from grabbing or holding younger site visitors' interest. That is, unless they're major political junkies, because the blog's content is primarily politically minded. Even if that's the case, parents may want to make sure they fully understand the real-world news items in the blog are presented in a sarcastic way -- sometimes featuring made up details -- so kids don't get the humorous news confused with real reporting.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how political decisions affect their lives. What issues is your child concerned about?

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  • Ask your child what elements influence whether or not a candidate is someone you want to support. How can you find out which candidates believe what you do?

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  • The site pokes fun at political events and arguments; there's often something real mentioned in posts -- such as an actual politician -- but the statements or news described is a joke. How can you tell what's real and what's made up?

Website details

  • Genre: Blogging
  • Pricing structure: Free

For kids who love politics

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