Australia’s youngest newspaper has officially launched.
Crinkling News, a national newspaper for young Australians, unveiled its inaugural issue yesterday, vowing it “was time for kids to have a place at the country’s table of ideas.”
The brainchild of journalist Saffron Howden, Crinkling News is a weekly 16-page newspaper and aims to give students aged seven to 14 all the news that’s fit to print, “without the boring or scary bits.”
Speaking at the launch at the Australian Museum in Sydney, Ms Howden said the publication will tell the news in a kid-friendly way, from the latest scientific discoveries to natural disasters, and even federal elections.
“We want to bring children into the national conversation,” Ms Howden said.
“That’s why all our opinion pieces are written by kids, and that’s why all our book, movie, game and arts reviews are written by kids.”
Crinkling News’ first edition also features exclusive interviews with Australia’s political leaders by budding teenage journalists
Madeline Murphy, 15, and Diya Mehta, 14, travelled to Canberra for Crinkling News and between them sat down with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Greens Leader Richard Di Natale.
The young reporters covered Question Time and grilled the politicians about issues including mental health, renewable energy and their favourite book characters.
Ms Mehta said her interview with Malcolm Turnbull initially caused her to have “an internal freak-out” but that quickly gave way to “a strange sort of calm” once she realised all politicians are “just human.”
“Another thing: he talks a lot,” she told the audience.
“His answers are a novella of a thing, with reminiscences and personal stories woven together.”
National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell, who officially launched Crinkling News, said the newspaper was a vital addition to the media landscape.
“It gives kids the opportunity to realise their right to a voice by sharing their news, their ideas and their concerns,” she said.
“By getting involved … kids can set their own agenda and talk about the things that matter to them. They can exchange ideas with both each other and with adults – who, after all, are just children who have gone past their use-by date.”
Ms Howden said she isn’t fazed about launching a newspaper at a time when print publications face strong headwinds from digital media and social networks.
“Crinkling News is first and foremost a newspaper,” she said, adding: “I think kids know better than us the pleasure in that tactile newspaper experience – they’re lapping it up the world over.”
UK newspaper First News, on which Crinkling News is based, has more than two million readers a week according to its website, and there are similar publications in France, Germany, Austria, Norway and India.
Crinkling News is available via subscription here.