Crinkling News, Australia’s only newspaper for school kids, is in danger of folding and not because it isn’t wildly popular.
After just one year the tiny masthead, which covers the grown-up news in a kid-friendly way, is already sold into 800 schools but needs a funding kick to keep it alive.
More than 50 journalists, photographers and cartoonists, here and overseas, have contributed to the weekly newspaper that’s already published 50 colorful print editions, all backed up by its fantastic online presence.
Aimed at seven to 14-year-olds, the paper offers everything from politics to puzzles in a way that’s fun, easy to digest and, most importantly, informative.
It's teaching a generation of kids good news values — and exactly why they should value the news.
I asked a primary school teacher friend of mine why her Grade 4 students love it and this is what they said:
"Kids could actually read it! It was awesome and interesting and appropriate."
"Awesome and interesting and we could read it."
"I like it because it had stuff I like, like video games."
Crinkling News has spawned newspaper clubs, school-based spin-offs and inspired countless budding writers by publishing their words.
It might seem absurd to fight for a children's newspaper as 120 adult journalists face losing their livelihoods at Fairfax, one of the country's biggest media companies, but it's absolutely not. (In fact, Crinkling News was set up by two ex-Fairfax employees, Saffron Howden and Remi Bianchi.)
As former editor-in-chief of the Sydney Morning Herald Peter Fray argued in Crikey last week, it's all a part of an industry-wide dilemma that sees people unwilling to pay for good content despite desperately needing, not to mention really wanting, it.
He asks: "Do we really want our kids growing up not understanding the role played by journalism — and journalists — in a functioning democracy?"
If the answer is 'no', you can donate to the Crinkling News fundraising effort here so they can become a self-sustaining source of news for savvy kids across the country.
They're on their way to reaching their $200,000 target, but with less than two days to go, they do need help.
(And while you're at it, join the campaign to save Fairfax here.)
Feature image: Facebook/Crinkling News