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Global support for kids' print start-up

A new national newspaper aimed at young Australians and launched by a former Sydney Morning Herald journalist has received an overwhelming response from its target market, parents, teachers and schools both locally and overseas. Saffron Howden launched the self-funded venture Crinkling News online in January and said the weekly paper had secured more than 500 paid subscriptions despite its first print edition not arriving until April. Subscriptions have...

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A new national newspaper aimed at young Australians and launched by a former Sydney Morning Herald journalist has received an overwhelming response from its target market, parents, teachers and schools both locally and overseas.

Saffron Howden launched the self-funded venture Crinkling News online in January and said the weekly paper had secured more than 500 paid subscriptions despite its first print edition not arriving until April.

Subscriptions have rolled in from across Australia, but also from expatriates and schools in Japan, Croatia, South Korea, Canada and America. Its website CrinklingNews.com.au received 9000 unique visitors and 30,000 page impressions in its first two weeks of operation.

“Because there is nothing like this in Australia, people have gotten really excited about it, which is fantastic,” Ms Howden said.

“We’re high enough quality that schools are sort of taking us on board to use in the classrooms.”

Crinkling News will have an initial print-run of 5000 and, based on the response so far, Ms Howden hopes to double that by the end of the year.

The paper will feature local and international news stories presented in an engaging and child-appropriate way and other stories relevant to its 7-to-14 year-old audience.

Ms Howden also hopes the paper will create “a whole new generation of journalists” by publishing reviews and opinion pieces written by child reporters.

Crinkling News will be funded by a combination of its $4.50-per-week subscription model and carefully chosen advertising, particularly around cultural events like exhibitions, plays and musicals. Some schools have also expressed interest in casual advertising.

“There is an extraordinary number of partners out there at the moment looking for partnerships because we don’t have a whole lot of kids’ publications in Australia”

“There is an extraordinary number of partners out there at the moment looking for partnerships because we don’t have a whole lot of kids’ publications in Australia,” Ms Howden said.

“In fact from what they tell me, they’re all crying out for this.”

After leaving The Sydney Morning Herald at the end of 2015, Ms Howden decided to finally execute her long-standing idea for a kids’ newspaper, filling what she saw as a “gaping hole” in the market.

“Kids absolutely are fascinated by the world around them; they want to be involved in things. There just aren’t that many ways that they can be involved in Australia,” she said.

“(The news) is either going to be too boring for them and they’ll switch off, or it’s too gruesome a lot of the time, and their parentsand teachers don’t want them to
see it for that reason.

“Basically anyone with children who wants them to know about the world and to read is really excited. It’s definitely gone way beyond my personal contact base very quickly.”

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