World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


Profile: Aftenposten Junior

Profile: Aftenposten Junior

Article ID:

15863

NEWS IN PRINT FOR THE YOUNG

This weekly edition from Aftenposten (Norway) targets 9 to 13-year-olds. It was begun in April 2012

Sigurd Saethre of Norway’s national media association’s young reader team gave WAN-IFRA an update in November about how Aftenposten Junior is perceived on the market:

 Aftenposten Junior is a 24-page weekly newspaper delivered with the morning mail on Tuesday mornings allowing kids to take it with them to school. It is sold mainly by subscription – of 6 or 12 months – which is of course paid by the parents.

Saethre said that when children were asked whether they preferred print or digital, the response was overwhelmingly for print: “Being printed has a higher prestige among youngsters,” Saethre said. At a cost of 4 Euros per day or 600 crowns/year, Aftenposten Junior is about to break even. Due to the strict laws concerning advertising for children, it contains no ads. [In April 2016, Andreas Finborud, Publishing Director of Aftenposten reported that Aftenposten Junior was profitable with subscriptions representing 95 % of the print run.]

Articles published in the paper can vary from ones about hiccoughs, llamas or science experiments to coverage on kids whose parents have cancer.

Saethre described one edition's contents.

The second and third pages of every edition have pictures from around the world and a map showing where they were taken.The second and third pages of every edition have pictures from around the world and a map showing where they were taken.

The fourth and fifth pages contain interviews (with the Finance Minister in this case).The fourth and fifth pages contain interviews (with the Finance Minister in this case).Difficult words in the story highlighted in yellow, and a glossary is displayed in a sidebar.

A chat with the editor:

In September, Guri Leyell Skedsmo, the editor, had answered some of our questions about the publication:

Can you describe the what and how of the edition?

Aftenposten Junior, Norway’s only newspaper for kids, was launched in late April. 2,500 subscriptions were already sold a week before the first issue was out. Less than 5 months later amount is 10.000, not including single copies sales. We just started on single copies sale nationwide, but first clues tells us about thousands of singles copies sold. The exact amount is a little bit early to tell.

Kids themselves have been vital in the putting together of the newspaper. A group of children have evaluated the dummy, commented on the layout, content, size of the photographs and colors and, last but not least, help choose the name.

The kids have been very enthusiastic. Their feedback has been very specific and nuanced.

What is the main content?

All together more than 200 children have in one way or another made themselves heard in regard to the newspaper and what it should be. The result is a 24-page paper that includes news, sports, science, scientific experiments, items about animals, a question and answer section, food and comics. Compared to most newspapers, the font is larger, there are more photographs, the use of color is more extensive and the paper is thicker – all according to the children’s specifications.

Why is Aftenposten launching a print edition when everything seems to be going digital?

To begin with, Aftenposten Junior will come out in print only.

- That is what is exclusive about it now – to get your own paper delivered home to you in your mail box. Kids say they are keen on having a paper like the adults have, only that it is for them. However, we are of course looking at other ways of publishing it in the near future.

Communicating news to children is current. This seems to be the case amongst many new international initiatives. Until recently, NRK’s Supernytt, the national broadcasting’s news program on TV for children, has reigned supreme in Norway. That is all over now.

- As a weekly printed newspaper we will have the possibility to dwell more on what has happened recently. We can’t be the first ones out with the latest news. Instead we need to really prioritize the news, select some significant items from the previous week and try to explain the news in as simple a way as possible. Internally, we joke that we should explain things so understandably that even the parents get it.

Children have been consulted during the whole process. They also evaluate Aftenposten Junior continuously. In addition, kids are invited to do interviews and recommend books, apps and films – and of course offers tips about issues and events. Columnists answer questions throughout the edition: on language, feelings, animals, science.

Presenting complicated news items to children is demanding.

- Writing for children seems quite harder than writing for adults. There are so many things to take into consideration. We have to remove all of the unnecessary words and pare the message down to the essentials, without losing the gist of it. Kids are critical readers. It’s difficult, challenging and really exciting.

The new children’s paper will be an independent one and not a part of the morning edition, Aftenposten. It will primarily be subscription only, but will also be tested in single copy sales.

What sets it apart from all the other printed media targeting children?

Our goal is to take kids seriously, by presenting the big stories; that really matters now – and in the future. We joke about writing complicated stories in such a simple way that even daddy understands it!

We invite our readers to do interviews – which have been very popular. They meet different persons, from pop stars to heads of state, prepare for interviews – and they all do a great job.

What is the business plan for it (how is it going to be made to pay for itself)?

No advertising. So subscriptions and single copies sales are the answers to our income.

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Author

Aralynn McMane's picture

Aralynn McMane

Date

2012-11-21 17:24

Author information

The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) helps newspapers, parents and teachers work together to engage the young to create a literate, civic-minded new generation of readers all over the world. Read more ...