Youngest political writer debuts in new newspaper

Youngest political writer debuts in new newspaperCrinkling News editor Saffron Howden (left) and 14-year-old political correspondent Diya Mehta (right)

Fourteen-year-old Diya Mehta became the youngest political correspondent in Australia when she interviewed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for Crinkling News, a newspaper for young and teenage readers launched this week.

A cocktail of fear, anxiety and excitement stirred in the stomach of Diya Mehta as she headed to her exclusive interview with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The 14-year-old from Sydney and Australia’s youngest political correspondent interviewed the PM for Crinkling News, the country’s only national newspaper for young Australians which launched on Wednesday.

Diya spoke to Mr Turnbull about solar panels, his favourite book character – Frodo from Lord of the Rings – and, if re-elected, the most important thing he would do for young Australians.

She recounted the experience during the paper’s launch event, held in Sydney, and said it helped demonstrate why the weekly paper was so important.

“It shows us that behind the complicated jargon and the quick newspeak and the flashy headlines that we as kids and as young people can connect to news and media,” she said.

Articles from the PM interview will feature in Crinkling’s first official edition, which will be published next Monday, and the following week’s edition – as well as the paper’s website.

Children pour over the Crinkling News special launch edition.

Children pour over the Crinkling News special launch edition.

Crinkling News covers local and international news presented in an engaging and child-friendly way and was founded by former The Sydney Morning Herald journalist Saffron Howden.

The paper is funded by $4.50-per-week subscriptions and carefully chosen advertising. Advertisers include the Museum of Contemporary Arts, NSW gymnastics, private school MLC and the National Institute of Dramatic Arts.

The paper has attracted international attention and more 1000 subscriptions despite it only launching this week.

“Some people have laughed at the idea of starting a new print newspaper in Australia,” Ms Saffron said at the launch.

“But they laughed when the UK’s print paper for kids First News launched a decade ago too. First News now boasts two million readers a week and it is growing all the time. There are children’s print newspapers in France, in Germany, in Austria, in Norway in India and they are all going from strength to strength.”

“I hope Crinkling News ushers in a new era in Australia, one in which our kids are better informed about their local and global communities and one in which we listen more to what they have to say.”

Ms Howden wants the paper to bring children into the national conversation and said that was why opinion and reviews were written by child reporters, and why the paper took two teenagers to Canberra.

Fifteen-year-old Madeline Murphy also travelled to Canberra to interview Opposition leader Bill Shorten and Greens Leader Richard Di Natale.

National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell attended the launch event as well, and said the paper was important because it gave young people “the opportunity to realise their right to a voice by sharing their news, their ideas and their concerns”.

“And by getting involved with Crinkling, kids can set their own agenda and get involved with the things that matter to them. They can exchange ideas with both each other and adults,” she said.

For more news from The Newspaper Works, click here.

Leave a comment