Kid Reporter Covers 'Worldwide Day Of Play'

The cable channel Nickelodeon goes dark for three hours Saturday in an effort to encourage kids to go out and play. The network is calling it the Worldwide Day of Play. Host Scott Simon talks with 10-year-old Brennan LaBrie about what the budding reporter's friends are planning for the afternoon.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

SpongeBob Squarepants is going to take a bit of a breather today. Nickelodeon, the entertainment TV network for children, is going dark for three hours this afternoon, along with its Web site. The network wants to encourage children to logoff, tune out and just play. They're calling it the Worldwide Day of Play.

For some expert insight, we're joined again by kid reporter Brennan LaBrie, founder and publisher of the Spruce Street Weekly in Port Townsend, Washington.

Brennan, good to have you back.

Mr. BRENNAN LABRIE (Spruce Street Weekly): Nice talking to you.

SIMON: By the way, you are definitely back by popular demand. We had you on our show a few weeks ago, when you were to be a reporter on the magazine Time For Kids and such an audience favorite, we look for chances to bring you back, so nice to join you again.

Mr. LABRIE: Mm-hmm.

SIMON: You going to participate?

Mr. LABRIE: Yes, I am. And it's a really beautiful fall over here so playing outside is going to be a lot of fun.

SIMON: Now, I understand you did some reporting for us about what some of your friends are also going to be doing.

Mr. LABRIE: Yes. And I also interviewed a few elementary age classes.

SIMON: Mm-hmm.

Mr. LABRIE: Most of them were kind of - were gasping at first: What? Because they didn't know about it.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LABRIE: But then I just mentioned play outside and they were all for it.

SIMON: Oh, good. Good. So what are some of your friends doing, just playing outside generally?

Mr. LABRIE: Yes. They were a lot of bike riders in the group. And one boy was perfectly fine with going out and playing his GameBoy.

SIMON: Playing with his GameBoy?

Mr. LABRIE: Yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: Does that count?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LABRIE: I don't know.

SIMON: It doesn't quite fit the spirit of it.

Mr. LABRIE: Doesn't quite fit, yeah, what Nickelodeon wants.

SIMON: Yeah. I'm told you don't even have a television at home, right?

Mr. LABRIE: No. But I love to get like a collection of SpongeBob or something and watch it on a rainy day with some hot chocolate.

SIMON: Guarantee you, I've watched SpongeBob a few times with our six-year-old and I just don't get it. He's a sponge, right?

Mr. LABRIE: Right. It's just nonsense.

SIMON: Okay. Well...

Mr. LABRIE: Just something to - when just tired of all this stuff in the world, you can just lie back to see a world of innocence and fun.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: Thank you, Brennan. That's good to know. I think we can all stand that from time to time.

Now, last time we spoke with you, you were among the finalist to be a reporter for Time for Kids. How did that work out?

Mr. LABRIE: It's been going pretty good and Time For Kids is getting some good assignments for me.

SIMON: Can you share with us some of the story ideas or is that like, you know, exclusive to the Spruce Street Weekly and Time?

Mr. LABRIE: Hmm. Right now I'm coming up with ideas and the Winter Olympics is a possibility.

SIMON: Yeah, Winter Olympics are in Vancouver, right?

Mr. LABRIE: Right. It's right across the Sound and I'm always ready for an assignment.

SIMON: Brennan, to cover the Winter Olympics at your age, would that be wonderful, huh?

Mr. LABRIE: That's going to be one of the high points of my life.

SIMON: Oh, my God.

Mr. LABRIE: That is going to be so exciting.

SIMON: Well, Brennan, I hope that all works out. May I ask again, how old are you?

Mr. LABRIE: I just turned 10 three days ago.

SIMON: Seriously, you're 10 years old?

Mr. LABRIE: Uh-huh.

SIMON: Oh, I bet you get that a lot, don't you?

Mr. LABRIE: Uh-huh.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: Brennan LaBrie, awfully nice talking to you again.

Mr. LABRIE: Nice talking to you too.

SIMON: Brennan LaBrie, who joined us on the phone from his home in Washington State, where is an editor, publisher, founder of the Spruce Street Weekly.

Happy day of play, Brennan.

Mr. LABRIE: Yes.

SIMON: Take care. Talk to you again, I hope.

Mr. LABRIE: Bye.

SIMON: Bye-bye.

(Soundbite of music)

SIMON: Hey, kids, play.

You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News.

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