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Newsletters for kids

Anna from Revue
Anna from Revue
Hello newsletter authors,
this is Mark from Revue with the most important news from the newsletter world 💌.
Over here, the kids went back to school 🎒 for the first time in eight weeks. Those weeks were very busy for families having to juggle working from home and home schooling. A fact that has produced some newsletter projects aimed at helping parents to keep their kids informed and entertained.
So today I’ll cover some interesting newsletters for kids, share some interesting reactions to last week’s issue on the NY Times Morning Briefing hitting 17 million subscribers, and finish - as always - with the most important newsletter news of the week.
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Daily newsletters for kids
There has never been a shortage of publications for kids. But the successful products have mostly been print and produced by specialized publishers. General news publishers have only made some cautious attempts to serve a younger audience.
Looking at the category leaders you will find many nature / science magazines like National Geographic Kids, or publications aimed at improving reading and math skills like Highlights.
Mainstream news publishers have only experimented with this audience. For example, kids had to literally petition the NY Times to continue NYT for Kids after an experiment had ended according to NiemanLab:
A flurry of emails from kids (and a petition) helped convince the Times brass to bring once-experimental section back on a more permanent basis.
Rather than targeting kids, news publishers have seemed more inclined to create products in the parenting space, where many of them have newsletters such as NY Times Parenting, WaPo On Parenting or The Telegraph Parenting Newsletter.
But that might change as publishers see an opportunity to help parents keep their kids informed about the virus and entertained while being locked at home.
The first example I had seen was by German weekly newspaper Die Zeit. Die Zeit has been publishing a 8x per year magazine for kids called “Zeit Leo” and was quick to add a newsletter when the lockdown started in Germany in late March. The newsletter is called “Post von ZEIT leo” and includes content like comics, quizzes, games, or arts and craft projects.
Another interesting example is the POLITI-Kids newsletter from Politico. NiemanLab has the backstory as apparently it’s not a newsroom product, but an initiative created by colleagues for colleagues that got so popular that it was opened to the public:
POLITI-Kids isn’t a product of the newsroom, and for now, there aren’t any plans to expand it. Phelps and Velickovich said they were overwhelmed by interest in the newsletter from folks outside of Politico, so they made the subscription link public.
It’s interesting that the POLITI-Kids newsletter was not planned but created, or at least opened up, by popular demand. The same happened with Six Feet of Separation, a neighborhood newsletter by kids and for kids.
It was started by father and journalist Chris Colin, who thought it would be fun to get a few kids from the neighborhood to write for each other during lockdown. The idea quickly developed a life of its own as described in this interview with Chris in the SF Chronicle:
I typed up an email and sent it off to a few friends. I figured there would be a handful of parents writing back to me and coercing their kids into writing some (little) thing. But it really caught on. I stopped counting after 40 submissions.
The topics are similar including games, arts & crafts and TV show reviews. But the format is very different, a PDF with a traditional print newsletter layout, published on a WordPress blog with email notifications.
So it looks like news publishers are still cautious about the kids newsletter segment. The “Post von Zeit Leo” newsletter is an extension of a printed magazine. POLITI-Kids is done by Politico staff, but as a side project outside the newsroom. And Six Foot of Separation is not associated with any publisher at all.
Creating great content for kids clearly requires a different expertise, but the type of content covered looks similar enough for me to expect more attempts in that space.
Do they really have 17M subscribers?
There was a lot of feedback and discussion about the topic of last week’s issue. 17 million, the number of subscribers reportedly hit by the NY Times Morning Briefing, is a huge number, and too good to be true to some.
Others pointed out that the NY Times as a whole was growing rapidly, which makes the number more credible:
In the first three months of the year, The New York Times Company added more digital subscribers than it had gained during any quarter since it started charging readers for online content in 2011. But that increase was driven by widespread interest in news of the coronavirus pandemic…
While over on the Slack newsletter channel of the Gather journalist community, there was speculation with several examples of the NY Times using (possibly over) aggressive tactics like opt-in boxes checked by default.
The week in newsletters
Don’t think that just because kids are writing newsletters these days, it’s as easy as 1️⃣2️⃣3️⃣? Maybe these tips help.
8 steps to strengthen your newsletter
Lots of newsletters for inspiration
5 smart ways to grow your email list
Austin Rief thread on Twitter:
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Anna from Revue
Anna from Revue @revue

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