Ah, youth

I could be wrong. Or the French could be strange. Of course, both are distinct possibilities. But I have been skeptical about newspapers’ efforts to lure the young with new print products targeted at them. I tend to think they pander to a demographic with the false voice of an oldster trying to talk down to a youngster. And I’m not sure that luring the young to print is either feasible or desirable.

Yet last week, Focus, the German newsmagazine, reported on the success of a French effort to publish newspapers for young people (no link to the story, unfortunately). Mon Quotidien (my newspaper), a paper originally for readers between 10 and 15 launched in 1995, sells 200,000 copies. Along with three other papers for readers of various ages — one serving readers up to age 7 — they claim 2.5 million readers.

So it’s spreading. This month, former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan launched First News in the UK. And in Germany, Springer head Mathias Doepfner uses the French success to argue for a kinderpaper there.