Photo/ A kid reading The New York Times for Kids (Twitter)
News tell us more about the world around us and adults make use of news to learn about daily news and new knowledge. How about children? The New York Times for Kids is a special section designed for children aged 8-13. It mimics the conventional layout of the adult newspaper and has similar sections like News, Opinion, Arts, Tech, Travel and Food. It was first published in May 2017 and received enthusiastic responses. Parents also acted excitedly and some uploaded the photos of their children reading the newspaper on social media. Many parents shared that the newspaper has successfully diverted children’s attention from mobile phones and games into printed materials. Before seeing this children monthly magazine, many parents have planned to cancel their subscriptions of printed The New York Times, but they decided to continue the subscription due to the new section.
The New York Times was not the first large-scale media to step in children content. They publish the content as a printed version and provide a medium that parents and children can share together. Deborah Bishop, Art Director of this project, emphasized, “I like to say, we’re a little bit like a really good Disney film. It’s for parents and kids.”
Dig out and attract potential readers, targeting at children
In order to ensure the editorial team can fully understand the thoughts of the young audience, the editors will visit public schools across the country and interview children so as to get to know more about their views on different topics. These contents will be published under the Opinion section. Focusing on young readers, editors take a different narrative approach and make a balance between a storytelling tone. Children monthly magazine should not be preachy but educational and fun, sharing useful information with interesting and playful situations. Editors have to be careful while writing the contents as well since they have to put themselves in the children’s shoes and view the issues from their angles. Providing helpful messages to the readers, at the same time the editors have to ensure their readers will find the contents attractive and fascinating.
The executive editor of The New York Times once said at a news conference, “Who says children don’t need news that’s made just for them? Our goal here is not only to help kids learn about the complex world they live in, but also to give them a taste, through a section designed just for them, of the pleasures of print media.”
Publications for children need a lively and lovely graphic design too!
“With the graphic design, you don’t ever want to make fun of The New York Times. It’s The New York Times. The poking fun a little bit, the slight bit of irreverence, gives us an edge and makes it fun for kids and adults,” these were commonly agreed by the editors when they were discussing the content for the kids’ section at first. The New York Times for Kids is published by the editorial team of The New York Times Magazine. Bishop is responsible for the outstanding visual. She has worked for various magazines like House and Garden, Rolling Stone and joined The New York Times group in 2017. “It’s always amazing to me, as a designer, you want to do the sophisticated projects, the serious projects. But the kids’ content area is so rich,” Bishop once said. The cover design of The New York Times for Kids learns from the magazine-making experience, mainly uses shapes for its design style, challenges the set layout of traditional newspapers, maintains the same stringent design standards as The New York Times Magazine, only applies the font series from The New York Times. These can help to keep the visual presentation of the kids’ section in line with the main section, overall as a mature delivery. For illustrations, the target of the design team is to make The New York Times for Kids to be a real poster, which can be hung in the children’s bedrooms and classrooms.Not only is it funny, even a little bit silly, but this children monthly magazine successfully sustained the style and positioning of The New York Times. The New York Times has made lots of efforts to attract readers before that, like creating VR clips, 360-degree videos and webpage interactions, but mostly on its digital websites. The children edition magazine is a great breakthrough for The New York Times, not only to boost the development of the print newspaper industry but also to redefine The New York Times’s status in this changing environment.