First News is a company that was set up by Sarah and Steve Thomson, launched by Piers Morgan and is Edited by Nicky Cox. It is the UK’s only newspaper that is especially created with young people in mind and covers the news of the day in a format that is easier understood by the audience.
Being the widest read publication for children in this country, with a readership of over one million kids of ages seven to fourteen, it is no surprise that it is only going form strength to strength.
With the 100th Anniversary of the start of World War One and the 70th Anniversary of the end World War Two, First News have published two special edition papers that tell the story of these turbulent times. We were lucky enough to be able to catch up with editor Nicky to find out more about First News and these very special papers.
1. Tell us about First News.
First News is the UK’s only national newspaper for young people. The readers are aged from 8 to 14 – and there are more than one million of them every week. It’s available on the news-stand, to home subscribers and almost half the schools in the UK subscribe, too. In addition to the printed edition, there is a digital app available now as well.
2. What prompted you to produce two war issues?
It’s the centenary of the start of WW1 and 75 years since WW2 started. It’s important to keep in mind the events around the world wars and the circumstances that led to them happening. Lest we forget! Telling the stories of both wars through news stories is a really engaging way to find out what happened. The newspapers transport you back to past times and bring them alive. As you read the news stories, all written as if the events are happening right now, you really feel like you are there.
3. How did you decide which stories to include in your war editions?
The front page of each war edition is the announcement of the outbreak of war and the back page is the declaration that the war is over. The pages in between cover all the major events that happened in between – plus there are some really interesting (sometimes amusing) anecdotes about events that happened, such as the Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) sneaking out of Buckingham Palace when WW2 was over to mingle with celebrating crowds. We’ve included lots of original adverts from the time which are fascinating.
Yes. If we don’t learn from the past, what hope do we have for the future? I am very proud of both world war editions. I think everyone should read them – young and old!
5. Tell our readers about the competition What Did you Do In The War?
We are asking any children to interview elderly people – relatives, neighbours, friends – about their war stories. Memories are beginning to fade. It is important to document stories before they are lost forever. The stories that children discover about the war are being reported in a column in First News each week and are being compiled into our What Did You Do In The War book, published by Walker Books in 2015. We’re also working with Esther Rantzen and her Silver Line charity which befriends lonely, elderly people to identify people with great war stories to tell and matching them with children in their area. Last week, two children interviewed Sir Nicholas Winton, aged 105, about his heroics when he rescued 669 Jewish children by getting them out of Czechoslovakia on trains just before the Nazis invaded.