Back in May, The New York Times experimented with a kids’ section. Young readers reacted and sent emails to have more of it, so now the Times launches For Kids, and it advises “this section should not be read by grown ups”.
The lure of those young and potential readers of the future is always around these days. Publishers crave for the attention of not just millennials, but those coming after them, the forever connected generation. And, so, there is Snapchat Discover to introduce news brands to the young.
What I like about this Kids section of The New York Times, is that it applies the same logic to a new print product.
As I see it, this is part of the Times’ efforts to bring something special to its print edition. In the process of fortifying its digital offerings at a rapid pace, the Times also keeps an eye on the mothership, the print edition.
At The Times, it is not just digital first, but sometimes “print only”, a concept to consider: assigning print a special role, while realizing that it is no longer where we break news. We have seen earlier this year as the Times introduced a new “briefing” concept for its pages A2-A3.
The idea for a Kids section first became reality with the May 14 Sunday edition. It became a hit and many young readers contacted the Times, shared their photos and drawings and even recipes. So, what was a one off salute to kids has now risen to become a permanent section.
The magazine-inspired section, which will feature articles, illustrations, and photography, will cover topics including sports, art, food, and science. There will be a focus on how-to, teaching kids how to make their own slime, how to design a superhero, and even how to write a newspaper article. (Another notable feature of the section is a kids-focused adaptation of the Times’ “Truth is Hard” campaign.)
The new Kids section is not just going to be about “fun” stories and entertainment.
The November edition of the section will include stories about how schools respond to natural disasters, the science of gene editing, and explainers about the voting process and gerrymandering. The section will also include a kids-focused advice column designed to help kids navigate awkward social situations. (Harper, a 14-year-old from Colorado, will provide advice from a kid’s perspective.) Joel Fagliano, a Times digital puzzle editor, created three mini puzzles for the upcoming issue as well.
I can see where the new section will make the print edition of the newspaper more powerful, allowing for a reading experience that parents and children can share, while The New York Times’ brand makes a positive incursion to attract the next generation of readers.
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