A new News Corp website for Australian children aims to teach the importance of reliable news sources.
Following a pilot last year, kidsnews.com.au has gone live and will run at least two stories a day, sourced from sister sites and rewritten in "in child-appropriate language".
The new site is being championed by News Corp Australia community ambassador Penny Fowler, who is chairman of the Herald & Weekly Times subsidiary and a niece of Rupert Murdoch. "We hope students around the country will embrace this dedicated news site, and teachers find it an invaluable tool to better educate and inform their students about what is happening in Australia and around the world," she says.
Kids News will offer students and teachers a ready-made literacy tool, and hopes to foster their thirst for information.
Publishing chief operating officer Damian Eales says News had been "overwhelmed" by the popularity of 2017 pilot program to Victorian schools, which attracted more than 110,000 readers.
The standalone site is isolated - not linked to outside news sources - and News says students can use it safely in a supervised or unsupervised environment.
Former Herald Sun associate lifestyle editor Toni Hetherington - who has an eight-year-old daughter - will be responsible for the site as national education publisher.
Content of the site, which was developed with the help of teachers, is linked to Australia's national curriculum and includes learning activities written "by teachers for teachers". Stories include text, multiple images, video where available, audio of the story and a glossary of terms. There is also a growing archive.
Stories are colour coded to indicate the level of comprehension needed - green for Years 3-8), orange for intermediate, and red where there is complex language or themes.
Advertisers including Hewlett Packard and Melbourne Cricket Club are aboard and Hetherington believes the "niche and engaged audience" will be very attractive to others.
Picture: Toni Hetherington and Penny Fowler share the site with Victorian schoolchildren (Photo: The Australian) and below, a page from the site
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