A new weekly newspaper, the first in Finland aimed specifically at children, launches in Finland on Wednesday.
The 24-page Lasten Uutiset is produced by Helsingin Sanomat, and is an extension of their popular children’s news brand which has offered a weekly online newscast for the last four years, and which switched to daily updates for children during the worst of the coronavirus crisis in spring.
“We tell anything that happens in the world, sports, culture, foreign news, news from Finland” explains journalist Fanny Fröman. “We just wanted to add the newspaper and go back to where Helsingin Sanomat started more than 130 years ago, but also now make it for children” she says.
Fröman has fronted the Lasten Uutiset digital bulletins since their inception and has seen its popularity grow with children of primary-school age. She’s joined now by two other journalists and a graphics designer to produce the newspaper.
“When we have been doing news for children for over four years it’s so much easier to launch a newspaper because we know what works with the children and what doesn’t. And that was the reason we wanted to start this project because we had seen how well the newscast had worked in schools and we wanted to see what else we could do” Fröman tells News Now Finland.
Finland lags behind other Nordic countries in the range of journalism available for children – Sweden and Norway in particular have successful newspapers for younger audiences.
Under Fröman’s direction, Lasten Uutiset’s online newscast has not shied away from tackling tough subjects in a way that is relatable to primary school children. She says readers can expect more of the same at the newspaper: a mix of stories which appeal specifically to a younger audience – like why Donald Trump is taking a stand against popular app TikTok – as well as more ‘typically adult’ stories re-cast for primary-age children.
Lasten Uutiset newspaper is being sold as a subscription and delivered to homes with regular Helsingin Sanomat editions. It’s also available from newsagents and Fröman says there’s been interest not just from parents but from grandparents too.
“Of course the children have been watching our news for four years, and also teachers know our news, so I think the interest is everywhere but right now it looks like parents and grandparents putting the money for the paper” she says.