Commentary

Will 'The Week Junior' Get American Kids Reading?

Next month, Dennis Publishing will bring The Week Junior, a news weekly aimed at kids ages 8 to 14, to the U.S. several years after introducing the title in the U.K.

While I hope the magazine will succeed in getting kids to read, I have my doubts. In the age of social media, apps like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok are popular with U.S. teens and pre-teens. Those apps require minors to be at least 13 to use them, but "age gates" are one of the first things kids learn to defeat when they get their first smartphones.

The Week Junior will be the first weekly magazine started in the U.S. in seven years, New York Post media columnist Keith Kelly reported this week. Celebrity title Closer, which is now owned by American Media, was the last weekly to launch in the U.S. in 2013.<

Dennis plans to charge $75 a year for a 48-week subscription with the goal of reaching 75,000 subscribers by the end of the first year. Eventually, it seeks total paid circulation of about 500,000.

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The U.K. version of The Week Juniorboosted subscriptions 37%last year and now has more than 72,000 total circulation, including 67,000 paid subscriptions, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation. That kind of growth portends well for a U.S. version.

In October, Dennis hired Andrea Barbalich as editor in chief of the U.S. version of The Week Junior. Her background includes editing jobs at Rodale's Prevention, Meredith's Childmagazine and Scholastic, according to her LinkedIn profile.

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