New York Times Rolls Out a Kids’ Edition as Part of a Print Push

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Even as it focuses more of its efforts online, the New York Times is still trying new ways to get more out of the old-fashioned print edition, and the paper’s latest experiment is a print edition for kids.

The one-time special edition will be delivered to subscribers and newsstands this Sunday, alongside the usual weekend version of the newspaper, special-projects editor Caitlin Roper told Women’s Wear Daily. The section is aimed at children from 9 to 12.

The kids’ edition mimics the layout of the traditional paper, with sections devoted to sports, national news, science and opinion.

Stories include advice from well-known New York lawyer Alan Dershowitz about how to win an argument with your parents, an article on how to win a spelling bee, an interview with a NASA engineer about building aerodynamically superior paper airplane, and tips on making your own crossword puzzle.

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Roper told WWD that the section is part of an effort by the Times to give print subscribers exclusive or bonus content, to make them feel that they are important, even as the company spends more of its resources on digital content.

“If you think about digital subscribers, they get graphics and video and 360 and all kinds of things,” Roper said. “But home delivery print subscribers and newsstand customers don't get that. So a lot of this concept is about being innovative in print.”

Late last year, the Times offered subscribers a special print-only edition it called the Puzzle Spectacular, which included a variety of puzzles plus the largest crossword in the paper’s history. The paper said the project was “part of an on-going initiative at The New York Times to reimagine the uses of the print newspaper in ways that delight our readers.”

Never one to miss an opportunity to pitch the paper’s reputation in these troubled times, the kids’ edition also has an advertisement for the New York Times itself.

The ad is a version of the “Truth Is Hard” campaign that the newspaper has been running in a number of locations since President Donald Trump started waging a public war against the mainstream media, including regular comments about “fake news” and the “failing New York Times.”

Part of the Times‘ interest in making its print subscribers and readers feel special likely stems from the fact that it still makes a considerable amount of money from print.

The paper’s digital business is growing quickly, and the amount of money it makes from digital subscriptions is almost making up for the decline in revenue from print advertising. But despite all of its efforts, the print edition still accounts for more than 50% of the company’s revenue.

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