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If you’re a homeschooling mom looking for ways to incorporate current events into your homeschool, episode 148 of Your Morning Basket is a must-listen! Join host Pam Barnhill and returning guest, Carl Azuz the host and executive producer of “The World From A to Z” as they delve into the world of news and media literacy. Pam and Carl discuss the importance of engaging kids in meaningful conversations about global events and navigating the complex landscape of media and news consumption.

Carl shares his experience as a news presenter for CNN and his reasons behind creating, “The World From A to Z,” a nonpartisan news show designed to provide a well-rounded look at international events, cultures, and stories for students. Discover how “The World From A to Z” can help bring current issues to your homeschool in a family-friendly manner.

Pam Barnhill [00:00:04]:
Are you ready for homeschooling to feel joyful again? Do you wanna build closer relationships, remove some of the stress around planning, and enjoy learning with your children? Welcome to Your Morning Basket. I’m Pam Hey there, Your Morning Basket listeners, and welcome to this episode of the podcast. I’m super excited about my guest today. We have Carl Azuz from The World From A to Z joining us, and he’s here to talk to us about why is it important to study current events, how to talk to your kids about all the things that are going on in the world, and how to help your kids manage the tricky world of media these days. There are so many media sources coming at us. Not all of them have our best interest at heart. How do we help our kids navigate those areas? It was a fun and fascinating conversation, and I hope you enjoy listening. A veteran of presenting news to students, Carl Azuz is the host and executive producer of The World From A to Z, a nonpartisan news show that appears daily at and on YouTube.

Pam Barnhill [00:01:16]:
The program covers current events from across the globe, and it’s punctuated by Carl’s signature wordplay and personable delivery. Prior to The World From A to Z, Carl spent 15 years as anchor of CNN Student News and CNN 10, and he served as a media literacy ambassador for the Poynter Institute and a reporter for the Sonlight Homeschool Curriculum. When he’s not writing and producing news and puns, Carl can be found at the gym, in church, on the mountain bike trail, or watching classic Hollywood cinema. Carl, welcome back to the podcast.

Carl Azuz [00:01:54]:
Thanks for having me back on the podcast, Pam. It’s wonderful speaking to you again.

Pam Barnhill [00:01:58]:
It is so great to have you back. And if you guys are interested in my first interview with Carl and a little more of his story and how he got started doing student news, we’re gonna include a link for you to, Your Morning Basket episode 82 because that was a great conversation as well if you’re a fan of Carl and you missed it. But a lot of big stuff has happened to you since the last time we spoke. So, give us a brief update of kind of what’s been going on in Carl’s world.

Carl Azuz [00:02:26]:
Well, one great blessing was the moment, I left CNN 10, the word got out very quickly. And so it wasn’t long before I was contacted by the Poynter Institute to work on their media wise program discussing media literacy with students. I had gotten in touch with, Sonlight Homeschool Curriculum, and they contacted me and asked me to start putting together regular reports for them, some of which were a lot of, you know, very fun, high energy creative feature pieces. The kind of things I I love to do and could kinda put my own stamp on. And so it was great because even though not long after leaving CNN, I had some demand for for my work right away, and I was very, very thankful for that. And as you know, especially as the months went by, I didn’t have, another show just, you know, waiting over my shoulder saying, if you leave CNN, we’ll launch something new with you. Come to us. It wasn’t it wasn’t like that.

Carl Azuz [00:03:24]:
I didn’t have I wasn’t sure what my next next step was going to be. But the fact that, you know, immediately, I had freelance work I could do, and then I started talking, to some folks at what would become my new employer about potentially launching a new show altogether. That was a blessing that really helped kinda carry me through those 1st months after I’d left a company where I’d spent my entire career to that point. I had spent my entire career at CNN. I’d started working there 2 days after I graduated college. In fact, Ted Turner, who founded CNN, spoke at my college graduation just by coincidence, and I didn’t attend it because I was moving back to the Atlanta area to work for the man 2 days later. So I’d spent my whole career there, and I was grateful that, after no longer being part of the company, I could still immediately start working and doing something I loved.

Pam Barnhill [00:04:16]:
That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Okay. So you’re you’ve left CNN 10. You’ve got some of these freelance jobs and things like that, and then The World From A to Z happens. How does that happen?

Carl Azuz [00:04:30]:
Yes. So it didn’t happen overnight. I was contacted by a company in the fall of 22, not too long after I left CNN in 10. And the, the discussions began on if I were to launch a new show targeting public school students, what would that look like? What kind of segments would it have? What would I change? How would I differentiate it from what I’ve done in the past? And, you know, what would I have the opportunities to do that that I didn’t have before? And so, we started having those discussions, but they took place over a number of months as much as I would have loved to have gotten started right away. October. Let’s go. It took several months for things to materialize. I officially started as the host of what would become The World From A to Z with Carl Azuz in April of last year and with the launch date set for that August.

Carl Azuz [00:05:25]:
And so at that point, it was, let’s start developing graphics. Let’s find music. Let’s come up with all of the different segments we plan to do. Some of which are still being developed right now. But, those conversations, it took place you know, like folks say Rome wasn’t built in the day. Well, neither was the world for me to see. And so it took it took, quite a few months, but, once we started getting everything together and starting started to refine, we were more or less ready to go on August 7, 2023. And just to have it look back since, it’s been a really, work intensive and exciting and blessed ride, and I’m I’m really enjoying it.

Pam Barnhill [00:06:05]:
Oh, that’s awesome. And, you know, what kind of played into the segments that you chose? Like, how did you like, we’re so glad the puns were there. Well, you know

Carl Azuz [00:06:15]:
Yeah. We’re that was one thing that, like, folks know me more, you know, than than anything else for doing are the puns, the wordplay. And, I mean, I I you know, they’re part of my puns and ality. I always say a show without them will be unacceptable even if critics say they make it unwatchable. But, I mean, that allows me to show my personality in a way that hopefully is pun offensive. If you write jokes about something, somebody’s gonna get mad, somebody’s gonna get offended. But, like, in terms of puns, it’s it’s just creative writing. And as somebody who really kinda wrote his way through college, because I I hated homework, but I’d write papers.

Carl Azuz [00:06:51]:
It’s like one of those things that, you know, I wouldn’t say it came naturally to me, but it was something that I very much enjoyed doing, playing with the language, and, having fun where appropriate, with scripts. So that was something that was absolutely I mean, I couldn’t do, a show without it. I remember one person who reviewed the new show who didn’t know me had kinda offered the criticism saying, gosh. You had this really fast segment at the end where you made some puns and and kinda tootle around a little bit with the last subject, and it was awkward. And I think it undermines your credibility. And I was like, well, I I I respect your opinion as somebody who doesn’t know me from Adam. But those people who do were gonna say, hey. You know, this is totally unthinkable, to have a Carl show without some wordplay in it.

Carl Azuz [00:07:37]:
So that was absolutely crucial. I definitely wanted to do that. I love feature stories at the end of the shows. The ones I make puns about most often because they show students that the news isn’t always politics and missing planes and gloom and doom and war in different parts of the world. Sometimes it’s somebody setting a Guinness World Record. Sometimes it’s something completely off the wall, like somebody who does a giant snow sculpture that looks like jaws including bloody teeth. I mean, so all of these different elements come into play. I believe in news.

Carl Azuz [00:08:06]:
I believe it gives students a well rounded look at things happening around the world that aren’t related to politics, but it also allows me to have fun with the show. So that was gonna be something that was always going to be there. Beyond that, it’s called The World From A to Z. So, you know, what became the show, I wanted to be very international. I wanted to have stories, slices of life, bits of culture, something that gets students outside of their own communities to see, like, what a, you know, fishing tradition looks like in India when hundreds of people converge on one lake and try to catch whatever they possibly can. I wanted students to see, you know, events in Argentina and events in, you know, far corners of the world from the United States. And I love that, you know, the new show gives me the latitude to do that right out of the gate. Before you even see me, a lot of times, you’ll hear about something happening somewhere very far away that it might just be affecting a small community on a small scale or it might be reverberating throughout the world.

Carl Azuz [00:09:05]:
But either way, it’s something international and something very fast paced, and I very much enjoy that.

Pam Barnhill [00:09:11]:
Oh, I love it. And, you know, you know your audience so well. I mean, the kids love the different topics, especially in the feature stories at the end. That that’s the kind of stuff that appeals to them. And then, you know, I think sometimes there’s a little bit of a rolling of the eyes at the, it comes up as dad jokes here after the pun segment. And kids appreciate that kind of stuff. Teens appreciate that kind of stuff. They they see you as that figure, I think, because of the the puns.

Carl Azuz [00:09:40]:
Oh, if they’re not grown and I’m not doing it right. I mean, yeah, that’s always that’s always kinda been part of the ideas, like, to to have these, you know, these goofy segments at the end that I I know that there are folks who are like, oh my gosh. We have to sit through this. And yet, they’re the same people who will come to us if we have a day without them and say, I don’t even like the puns, but the show is not the same without them. So it, you know, it became part of the identity of whatever program, you know, my goofy face was appearing on. And so, yeah, that that absolutely had to stay.

Pam Barnhill [00:10:13]:
I love it. I love it. Okay. Well, let’s talk a little bit about and you’ve touched on this already with this idea of bringing lots of different cultures into the classrooms and the living rooms of, you know, American kids. And the show’s watched everywhere, so you really are making these connections all over the globe. So what are some of the benefits? You know, when we think about social studies, a lot of times we think about history, but there is that geography. And then, of course, there are current events. So why do we want to give weight to current events in our social studies curriculum and not just historical events?

Carl Azuz [00:10:48]:
And I used to have this slick answer for that. I used to be like, well, if students know more about the world around them, they’ll be better prepared to make a positive difference in it. Like a nineties DJ, you know? It’s also meaningless swill. Here’s the thing. We live in this world that is so incredibly divided. These aren’t the times that I remember from when I was a kid. Obviously, there were always different viewpoints and, you know, democrats and republicans butting heads. But now it’s like the the you you have people who are so polarized, so dug in that there’s no compromise, there’s no cross dialogue about these different, you know, controversial issues taking place.

Carl Azuz [00:11:27]:
And so one thing that’s such a priority for me, especially on on the new show, is to provide those different perspectives, to talk about social studies in the true sense of the word, like you said, that includes civics and geography and politics and history and all these things rolled in, and to do it in a way that’s objective, that brings them multiple perspectives so that, hopefully, they will be able to take that and discuss it, whether it’s in class or at the dinner table with their folks. But to be able to discuss it in a way that acknowledges there are multiple perspectives on this, and I don’t need to judge them. Because, hopefully, on my show, I’m not judging them either. Sometimes people get mad at me for that. They’re like, why did you include the other side on this? We shouldn’t hear from the other side. And I’m like, look, I’m not judging that side, and I’m not advocating for that side, but I wanna present that side in such a way that allows you to analyze it, to think critically about it. That all plays in the media literacy. And as somebody who has written CNN Student News and CNN 10 and now writes The World From A to Z as well as hosts it, that’s something I very much enjoyed discussing.

Carl Azuz [00:12:31]:
I want students to have well rounded perspectives, especially on the controversies. So, hopefully, they can bridge some of the disagreement, some of the polarization we’ve seen to at least have compromise, conversation, and community.

Pam Barnhill [00:12:47]:
Oh, I love that so much. And, yeah, it certainly the show prompts a lot of conversations at my house. And it’s funny because at the time that we’re recording this yesterday, you reported on the Iowa caucuses. And I think we paused that report, like, 3 or 4 times just to talk about what things were and why this happened. And, of course, by the time we were watching it, I knew the results of the caucus that I’d heard those myself and was able to share some of that with the boys. But these kinds of conversations and sometimes we don’t always agree on what we’re talking about. And that morning time is such a great place. I tell people, having your family come together and discussing things even when you don’t agree, this is the perfect training ground for sending kids out into the world who can discuss things that they don’t agree with somebody on and still show love towards that other person because we’re in a family.

Pam Barnhill [00:13:42]:
Right? So we love each other even if we don’t agree, and we can take that out into the wider world, with things. And so I love that platform and that opportunity. We just we really do pause and talk about the things that are going on. And then I think in some in some ways, we have an advantage over the classroom room to be able to do that. But I’ve noticed that you sometimes now give discussion prompts as part of the show.

Carl Azuz [00:14:08]:
Yes. To kinda take it a step further and I mean, you know, one of the best compliments I’ve received in my tenure as a news reporter is when parents come up to me and they say, thanks to your show, we are able to discuss these issues at the dinner table. We’re able to talk about world events together. And, I mean, that is, you know, golden compliment, something that has meant a great deal to me to hear. And so to kinda take that to the next level, I want to include multiple perspectives. One thing, for instance, that, folks were telling us, some of the teachers I’d spoken to before the show launched or as we were putting together the pilot, they told us how there was so much emphasis on mental health. And so for me to be able to track down those stories, whether I’m writing them myself about the impact of social media on teens or just coming up with, you know, how to deal with seasonal affective disorder, the winter blues as we discussed on a recent show on a to z. I wanna be able to bring in their voices as well.

Carl Azuz [00:15:06]:
Even if we’re just reading YouTube comments on air, it’s still something where, you know, I would hope students feel like you’re included in this conversation. It’s not just Carl telling you about stuff and what people think. I mean, I want to I want them to feel like they’re a member of this community. I want to increase community in general just in terms of people discussing different viewpoints, people offering their solutions for some of the challenges students are facing. I mean, I don’t know that it’s going to change the world, but I do want them to feel like they’re part of the things being discussed in it.

Pam Barnhill [00:15:39]:
Yeah. Yeah. And I will say that when you come back with those segments and you you read some of the responses that you got on your YouTube channel, my boys’ ears, they do perk up and they’re, you know, they’re interested in what other kids have had to say, you know, what other classes had to say. So I I think, that’s been a really wonderful addition to the show, and I, I like it a lot.

Carl Azuz [00:16:00]:
Thank you. And I enjoy doing it. I like seeing what people come up with, and I like, you know, hearing responses. I mean, it’s it’s the difference between, you know, just being a character on a screen and being somebody who at least has, you know, minimal interaction, with an audience as opposed to just, I’m gonna tell you about stuff you listen to. Be quiet. No. It’s not like that at all. It’s like this is something that’s affecting the world, and when I can and when appropriate, I want to bring in those different voices from those different corners of the country or the world just so, you know, they feel like they’re represented or at least they see other perspectives represented.

Carl Azuz [00:16:36]:
I think there’s value to all of that.

Pam Barnhill [00:16:38]:
Yeah. So one of the questions I get a lot, I I got it about CNN 10 when you were hosting there, and I also get it about the world from A to Z is what age range is the show good for? And that kind of leads me into this question of how do you choose stories that are relevant? And then with all the craziness going on in the world, still age appropriate for kids?

Carl Azuz [00:17:05]:
Somebody had asked me before, do you assume, you know, your audience is smarter than a 5th grader? Do you aim for 8th graders? Do you have a specific age range? Officially, the show is designed for for public schools. Of course, we welcome home schools and colleges and, you know, folks of all age levels. But my focus is on presenting a news show for people who don’t watch the news every day. People who aren’t you know, obviously, if you’re somebody who consumes news magazines and you’re reading time and watching 60 minutes and everything like that, this is a show that’s just nuts and bolts. It’s basic. It does it’s designed to be used for for 9 to 10 minutes a day. But that said, you know, I want folks to get an objective overview, and I want them to to to have takeaways about these are the stories that are happening and without them having prior knowledge of it. Because I didn’t watch the news when I was in school.

Carl Azuz [00:17:57]:
You know, we didn’t have a a new show like CNN 10 or The World From A to Z back when I was, you know, in grade school. And so because of that, I’m like, well, I wasn’t that engaged in the news. I would have probably told you back then, and I didn’t find it that interesting considering what I’d wind up doing. But, like, all of those things, you know, I take into account when I’m presenting news and thinking, what do you need to know to understand what’s happening right now if you’re hearing about it for the first time? Now if we followed up on a story like the conflict in the Middle East, then I might assume they know that it’s happening and that it’s focused in Gaza and that there are concerns of it spreading to a wider region. But, again, it’s it’s a focus of, let’s present this objectively, let’s get multiple perspectives, and let’s do it for folks who might not be watching the news every day. That’s my priority over, do I target a specific age range? Is it only for high school students? We welcome everybody. We have some adults who watch it, and I wouldn’t turn away a soul from watching our show. But I also wanna make sure it’s clear and that it explains things in a way that they can understand even if they’re not up on the latest occurrences in Great Britain or Zimbabwe or New Zealand.

Pam Barnhill [00:19:08]:
So for a family that’s more concerned about maybe some violence or something that their kid might see, how do you make those distinctions? You know, if if you have because we are talking homeschool families who might have an 8 year old sitting nearby or something like that.

Carl Azuz [00:19:23]:
Yes. And, you know, one thing, you know, out of the gate, we love when when folks preview it, especially if you’re using a show, whether it’s this one or anywhere. You know, any any news show for an elementary range kid, you know, I’d strongly suggest previewing it, and ours, you know, takes less than 10 minutes a day. But that said, I don’t wanna shy away from any topics. I don’t wanna shy away from major events happening in the world, but I don’t wanna present them in a graphic way. I want The World From A to Z to be as family friendly as the news itself allows. Now if the news includes violent conflict or, you know, themes like kidnapping or very, you know, suggestive or difficult themes, if it’s really salacious, I might try to warn it. In the lead, I might say, you know, today’s show deals with the topic of x, y, z, so we encourage folks to preview it if you’re using the show in a classroom or homeschool setting.

Carl Azuz [00:20:16]:
But that said, there’s a way to talk about violence and show images that indicate something bad happened but doesn’t show blood. For instance, sometimes you can show bullet holes in a concrete wall. You know, there was a shooting there without some of the more graphic images you might see on the news in prime time on one of the big networks. So certainly, that’s going to be my priority in, you know, staying objective, but also trying to keep it as family friendly as the topic itself will allow me to do. Beyond that, I also personally don’t like getting too involved in political minutiae. Like, who said what and it caused outrage on Twitter, so and so’s critics in congress. And I’m like, you know, when when it comes to reporting on some of the political stories, I really am going to favor policy. And that’s more cut and dry.

Carl Azuz [00:21:08]:
Obviously, you know, everything’s controversial now in politics, and and that’s okay. We can talk about that. But, you know, if we’re talking about something, a president does, a new law being proposed, Let’s talk about what it is. Let’s stay objective. Let’s find the facts. Why is it being done? Why do its supporters love it? Why do its critics hate it? And if I can go beyond that and ask students what they think, I’m gonna do that too. But I didn’t I I definitely tend to prioritize policy over some of the, you know, he said, he said, she said, she said kinda stuff that you hear about on a lot of, major networks.

Pam Barnhill [00:21:46]:
And you’ve only got 9 minutes. So Yes. It helps.

Carl Azuz [00:21:50]:
I’m like, couldn’t get that deep, too deep, in the weeds. We’re gonna keep an objective. Let’s go.

Pam Barnhill [00:21:54]:
Yeah. We’re not trying to fill the whole 24 hour news cycle. And you may be surprised to find out, like, my plan for 2024 as we get deeper and deeper into the presidential election season is just to rely on The World From A to Z for the news that I need so I can step back from everything else. So you have an important role.

Carl Azuz [00:22:16]:
Thank you for that. You know, I don’t wanna I don’t wanna totally inundate people in nothing but political coverage. I mean, there’s one piece we’re looking at airing that talks about some of the other elections happening in the world. And it also brings in the the, you know, artificial intelligence and some of the the problems that that might create if it looks like president Biden is saying something he never said? How do you wade through that? So, I love those topics that are tangential. I mean, obviously, there’s this major story happening in the United States, but what are some of the other topics? What are some of the other elections? What are some of the other things other countries are worried about? What are some of the international issues that are thing every single day. It’s a big world. There’s a lot that’s going on. So I really wanna kind of spread the wealth, so to speak, in terms of bringing in US, but also international news.

Carl Azuz [00:23:09]:
So, I mean, you know, if if we start doing it too much, send me a tweet, send us an email, let me know. We could take the criticism, especially if it’s constructive. But I, you know, I I would hope that as as folks watch our show, I would hope they get a well rounded view and, also, though, not a view that just totally soaks them in nothing but US presidential politics.

Pam Barnhill [00:23:31]:
No. Love it. Okay. So I do have a question. You know, back we’re dancing around this idea of media bias, and and you’ve spoken before on the podcast. You pride yourself on providing a show that has no bias or no partisanship. But there are people out there who say that that’s not possible. It’s not possible to create a new show without bias.

Pam Barnhill [00:23:51]:
How would you respond

Carl Azuz [00:23:53]:
to that? To a large extent, I’d agree with them, and it’s not because I have some great hidden bias or agenda. I do not. But that said, I’m not perfect. It keeps me up at night, missing a perspective, missing something that happens. I don’t want to report on a new law or something that a presidential candidate says without providing that balance. And there have been times in the past where political news will break, and I won’t report it immediately. I’ll push for holding off for a couple days until we’ve heard from the other party or another country or another perspective altogether. But I’m not I’m not perfect.

Carl Azuz [00:24:31]:
It keeps me up at night that I might miss a major perspective. As you said, it’s only, you know, 9 to 10 minute show. So I have the benefit of not needing to fill a lot of empty space, and I have the benefit of just being able to to give nuts and bolts. But I want to be as objective as I know how is my journalistic training, taught me to be. I don’t want folks to think I’m leaning left or right. One of the, you know, one of the other compliments I had that I that I have treasured was when a student asked me a student asked me, at CNN Center once. He said, well, are you a Democrat or a Republican? And I’m like, well, I, you know, I can’t answer that, and I don’t wanna compromise. You know, my integrity as as a journalist.

Carl Azuz [00:25:16]:
It sounds all hoity toity, but I don’t want people to think I lean one way or another because then they don’t trust you anymore. But I asked him, what do you think? And he said, I’ve been trying all year to figure it out, and I can’t tell. And then I’m like, then I’m nailing it. I’m getting it right. So, I mean, I would say, you know, some people say it’s not possible to have something completely objective. Well, I’m darn sure going to try. And while I am not going to say I am the standard or that I’m perfect at it, I am going to try to be as objective as I can because I don’t want folks to, you know, start distrusting me because they think I’m on the left or on the right. That’s, you know, especially in news media nowadays with all the sensitivity to it and in all the different camps pointing to, well, I trust this source, but not that source.

Carl Azuz [00:26:04]:
I encourage people to have multiple sources, but I also hope that I am using multiple sources and bringing those multiple viewpoints in such a way that doesn’t indicate which one I agree with.

Pam Barnhill [00:26:18]:
Yeah. Yeah. Well, you’re kind of leading into my next question, which is when you have an environment like we do today, that is just, first of all, is just saturated with information. There’s information everywhere. Not all of it true information. And then what is out there? There’s so much conflict and controversy. How can parents help their kids critically assess the news that they consume?

Carl Azuz [00:26:42]:
One time, I remember Christiane Amanpour talking about, something the US government was doing, and she was like, I encourage everybody to question, question, question. There’s a way to do that respectfully. I I I believe, you know, journalists should question the government, whether or not they voted for whatever presidential administration is in power at that time. I believe that Americans should question their news sources. This is a time when people’s distrust of the media, according to a recent poll, is near or, tied for its lowest level ever. People just simply don’t trust what they’re seeing in news media. No. I’m not knocking any network when I’m saying that.

Carl Azuz [00:27:24]:
But what I am saying is, I believe in order to regain that trust, journalists need to be objective. They need to bring in those multiple perspectives without acting like they know something the public doesn’t or that, you know, that we know better. We are the arbiters of information. I don’t think journalists should be the arbiters of information. I think they should be the disseminators of information. At least least that’s what I aim to do. But for parents, I encourage them, look. Whether you’re watching my show or any show, take it with a grain of salt.

Carl Azuz [00:27:54]:
Make sure that when you are consuming news, look for multiple sources. I don’t have a problem. Somebody comes out to me and they say, we only watch CNN. We only watch Fox. I’m like I’m like, please watch both. Please watch ABC, NBC, CBS, BBC, CNBC, whatever it is. Get your news from multiple sources. That’s the only way you’re going to get a well rounded view of everything because so often, journalists are writing through red or blue tinted glasses.

Carl Azuz [00:28:21]:
They’re not just giving the facts. They’re giving their spin on it or or, you know, they’re giving maybe, one-sided truths that you can’t disagree with everything they’re saying, but there’s a whole other perspective that has its truths as well, and they’re just not talking about any of that. So, you know, in a quest to deliver the truth myself, that’s what I try to do. I’m looking at sources, that are on the left and on the right. I’m not trying to prioritize one over the other. But if there is a statistic, if there is a fact, whether or not it makes someone look good, that’s secondary. The important thing is talk about what’s happening and then provide the true facts that you can find, that other people can access, and encourage them to question it and to seek out multiple viewpoints on it. Yeah.

Pam Barnhill [00:29:08]:
Do you does it make you sad that you’re you’re living and working in a time where trust of the news media is so low? I mean,

Carl Azuz [00:29:17]:
I think I think it it helps in that we stand out more. I mean, if you it’s like, say your job is to be as objective and then you can walk that walk. I mean, I think it it makes you unique in media. But to answer your question, does it make me sad? It makes it makes it harder, I think, to be an objective journalist. When you work in an environment where people either love or despise journalists in general regardless of where they’re working. I think it makes it difficult to get reliable information. I mean, I would love to have, you know, a a single source for all of my news that I could just get it and then disseminate it and that sort of thing. But, you know, because it’s so polarized in America now, you you really can’t.

Carl Azuz [00:30:00]:
You really have to look in multiple places. So it makes my job harder. I wouldn’t say it makes me sad just because I love to promote the objective nature of our program. And so if people come to me and they are upset about that and they’re you know, everything everything we’re seeing is, you know, whether they call it fake news or misinformation, disinformation, folks throw these terms all over the place. And sometimes, you know, there there those terms are misused. But I’m always like, look, if you’re looking for something objective, start with a to z. And then what you see on that, discuss it, investigate it, find it yourself, and then find it from different places that they have different perspectives on it. That can help give a well rounded view.

Carl Azuz [00:30:41]:
I think that’s something we need, Pam. I think that’s something that’s missing today. I’m you know, at 9 minutes at a time, I’m happy to try to help provide it. But, I would like to see more journalists and organizations, not knocking any network, but I would like to see more of them get back to the old school objectivity that I was taught and that I tried to adhere to because I think that that would help Americans get back to conversation, compromise, and as I mentioned earlier, community.

Pam Barnhill [00:31:13]:
Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, I’ve got 2 teen boys and then one in college, and they’re, obviously, by the very nature of being their parent of a different generation than me. What kind of changes and trends are you seeing and how this younger generation, very different from us, is is consuming news and information?

Carl Azuz [00:31:34]:
You’d mentioned earlier how there was so much information out there, and I think that young people in their pockets are carrying around computers that bring them views and reporters and then just folks giving their opinion from every corner of the world in in real time. That’s dangerous because, you know, a lot of times, social media, can be completely unreliable. You know? And especially you know, it’s like it’s like it’s in journalism, you hear about somebody whether they’re shooting an arrow shot or they’re shooting wide screen. Sometimes in wide screen, you could see more of what’s happening behind them. There might be a person with 8 people standing around them, and if they shoot it with, you know, the the narrow way people often shoot social media video, it looks like a crowd. But then you turn the phone sideways and you see it’s just 8 folks. You see this big vast expanse behind them. In social media, anyone can say anything at any time, and there’s not an organization overseeing it whose reputation is at stake.

Carl Azuz [00:32:34]:
And so for those reasons, students need to take what they see on TikTok with a grain of salt. Sometimes you have folks with no journalistic training who were telling excellent stories as if they’re news with great detail and perspective, and sometimes you have people spouting off an opinion that’s taken as gospel fact, and that’s not the case. So what I tell students who have this wealth of information, this access to trove of media coming in from everywhere is, especially if it’s social media, if it’s not an organization you’ve heard of, take that with a grain of salt. Take what you’ve heard and look to find it substantiated somewhere else. That can help you discover whether what you’re hearing is true or whether what you’re hearing is just someone’s opinion.

Pam Barnhill [00:33:21]:
Yeah. I love that. And I think that’s a great thing for parents to do is, you know, having kids step back and look for another source, look for a source that does have a media company behind it or something something like that. Any other tips for parents as we go forward with this kind of, new frontier of news consumption?

Carl Azuz [00:33:42]:
I would say that parents you know, one thing I learned from reporting, and for a while, I did a lot of reporting on, you know, just in the field of education because I was utilized in classrooms. Parents have more influence than they think they do. Oftentimes, I know that a lot of parents of teenagers are like, you know, they’ll say, well, I could tell them whatever, but they’ll just roll their eyes and walk away. And I’m like, yeah. But I still think the influence is there even if they’re not showing it. And so one thing that, you know, I found through this education reporting, we would do all these different studies about misbehavior, whether kids were more likely to smoke or do drugs, if they were more likely to skip school, if they were more likely to get involved in in in different or dangerous activities or hobbies and things like that. And every single one of them had the conclusion that those students who said their parents would freak out if they did something, if they engaged in risky behavior, we’re by double digits less likely to engage in that risky behavior than the students who said their parents didn’t really care one way or another. That group was much more likely to get involved in things that could get them in trouble.

Carl Azuz [00:34:51]:
And so when, you know, some people say, well, you know, parents, they they don’t really have influence. The kids aren’t listening to them anyway. They’re listening listening to their friends. I would I would argue that the studies that we reported on, and they were numerous, they flew in the face of those who say, well, they’re just gonna do it anyway, so let’s just give them a safe space to drink at age, you know, 15. I would say, you know what? If kids know their parents wouldn’t agree with that or would be concerned or less likely to do it, you do have influence. And I would encourage parents, I would encourage homeschool parents, you know, to keep that dialogue going with your students. Even if you don’t think they’re listening, I still think through osmosis, it’s sinking in somehow, and it’s substantiated by numerous reports I’ve done in the past.

Pam Barnhill [00:35:36]:
Yeah. Yeah. I think that conversation is is so important to have with your kids. And, you know, I’m just gonna say, I think morning time is a fabulous place to have those conversations. So for sure.

Carl Azuz [00:35:47]:
Such a good place to to start. It’s such a good place to establish those conversations with your kids right out of the gate. I think that might be one advantage many homeschool families have is that, you know, your teacher is your parent. Many kids might be like, how is that an advantage? And I would say because instantly, you have 1 on 1 or maybe 3, but an opportunity to discuss what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling, how you’re reacting to something in a safe space, in a place where, you know, mom or dad still gonna love you even if y’all disagree. But you can speak openly about these things without worrying about a peer group coming down on you, whether it’s then or later. I think that’s an advantage. And if you’re having these conversations about world events or history or even mathematics during morning time, you’re you’re strengthening a bond in a way that I don’t think always happens between teachers and students, though there are some exceptions to that.

Pam Barnhill [00:36:44]:
Yeah. Yeah. Well, Carl, where can everybody find you in The World From A to Z?

Carl Azuz [00:36:50]:
Well, they could Google, Carl, Azuz. That’s always a good start. Carl Azuz, World from A to Z, but the website is, and the YouTube channel is And, that’s where, you know, they could see the show. You could see everything we’ve done so far. And if you go to, you can also subscribe to our newsletter, which gives you a heads up of the topics we’re discussing on each day’s show. And that way, you know, if there is something that’s more sensitive or if it deals with war, you’ll have an idea about it before before you see it. But I would invite everyone to come check us out.

Carl Azuz [00:37:26]:
You can certainly if you’re on X, the artist formerly known as Twitter, you’re welcome to follow me at Carl Azuz. But, I welcome everyone to the show, and I also welcome feedback on the show. You know, as I say, our audience means it it means the world to us to be able to do this, to have the audience we do based audience and news, And I’m so grateful for all y’all.

Pam Barnhill [00:37:49]:
Planning and more Well, thank you so much for joining us again. We appreciate the work that you do.

Carl Azuz [00:37:54]:
It’s an honor, Pam. Thank you.

Pam Barnhill [00:37:55]:
Your Morning Basket Plus, a monthly membership with everything you need to start a morning time practice in your homeschool. To join, head on over to, and I’ll see you there.

Links and Resources From Today’s Show

Key Ideas About Current Events

  • Learn how The World From A to Z provides a well-rounded perspective on news and culture.
  • As homeschoolers, we have a unique opportunity to engage our kids in critical-thinking conversations about what’s happening in the world. 
  • Carl shares his journey from CNN to creating The World From A to Z, a family-friendly news outlet for students.
  • Carl encourages multiple perspectives and fact-checking in an ever-growing digital age. 
  • Learn how discussing news and current events can help our children think critically and have meaningful discussions.
  • Encourage our children to have well-rounded perspectives, especially on controversial topics. 
  • Encourage our children to bridge disagreement and polarization within their communities with factual news information. 
  • The World From A to Z runs a fresh, nine-minute episode each weekday.

Find What You Want to Hear

  • [00:04] Introduction
  • [04:30] Developing The World from A to Z
  • [07:37] Feature stories and the puns
  • [10:13] Bringing culture and conversation into classrooms
  • [16:38] Recommended age range
  • [23:31] Presenting news without bias
  • [31:13] Guiding a younger generation’s media consumption

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