Helping students better understand the world around them -- and having civil discussions about controversial issues -- are two main goals of The WORLD from A to Z with Carl Azuz. It's a new, non-partisan news show that aims to promote critical thinking and compassionate discourse in the classroom as it engages students and teachers with a wide array of international current events.
The show tackles the challenge of making news meaningful to the "TikTok generation" by utillizing fast-paced reporting and providing multiple perspectives without judgment. It was launched in August of 2023 under executive producer, host and writer Carl Azuz, who established his objective and lively storytelling style during his 15-year tenure as an anchor and writer with CNN. On The WORLD from A to Z, Azuz is committed to providing unbiased coverage of events occurring in America and abroad.
The program brings value to educators through stories occurring far and wide, daily history segments, colorful maps, daily trivia questions and weekly news quizzes at WorldAtoZ.org. It brings value to students by covering both relevant and lesser-known topics and utilizing Carl's lively demeanor, engaging delivery, and creative writing.
The show's coverage of diverse cultures -- and daily load of fact-based information -- ensure that viewers of all ages and backgrounds can learn something new every time they watch.
The WORLD from A to Z was developed with the help of teachers from across the country. To serve them effectively but accommodate their limited schedules, the show streams 9-minute broadcasts on weekdays throughout the school year at WorldAtoZ.org and at YouTube.com/@TheWorldAtoZ. The program is completely cost-free and requires no memberships or sign-ups to watch.
We set out to keep the pacing fast, the visuals compelling, and the editing tight. We committed to the goal of presenting multiple perspectives from all over the globe -- and then writing about news in a way that holds attention, involving high schoolers in the broader world around them. The intent is to make even political or economic stories meaningful to young people, keeping short attention spans from drifting and encouraging young people to think more deeply.
Teachers have said that students don't feel like world news is relevant, so we established a goal of making it relevant by explaining why events matter and including viewers' perspectives on controversial issues. Teachers have said that social and emotional learning and stories related to mental health are increasingly important in education, so we tackle topics like the impact of social media on teens and experts' strategies for coping with everything from loneliness to the "winter blues."
Oh, and did we mention the wordplay? Carl's puns (and the occasional Shel Silverstein-style rhymes) are an end-of-show standard, providing verbal whimsy to help students see that fun can be had with words. Anyone who's seen the last 30 seconds of The WORLD from A to Z will tell you that there's nothing else like it in their parents' newscast!
Our show has seen steady growth in its number of streams since launching last August, when it averaged roughly 3,000 streams per episode. Six months later, The World from A to Z is averaging roughly 20,000 streams per episode.
When teachers and parents take the time to write in, telling us their students are now able to have thoughtful news conversations in the classroom or at the dinner table, we know we're succeeding in informing them objectively.
The fact that we'd heard from schools in all 50 states (and announced them on the show) by September 30th -- after less than two months online -- achieved our goal of reaching a wide and diverse audience.
And when Carl received a standing ovation for his media literacy-themed speech before hundreds of teachers at the 2023 National Council for the Social Studies conference on December 2, we knew we were successfully connecting with those who show our program nationwide.