Former Gannett editors target parents to grow their new publications

Aug 15, 2022

CEO and Creative Director | Kid Scoop

A former veteran editor of 30 years at Gannett starts her own weekly newspaper.

A young Gannett editor and photographer buys a Gannett weekly.

Both recognize parents as a key group of subscribers and chose the weekly children’s feature Kid Scoop to grow circulation.

“You’ve got to get them young,” Jonathan Vickery, new owner of The People-Sentinel in Barnwell, South Carolina, told us.

After 11 years as a staff writer, photographer, and then editor of the weekly, Vickery bought the paper from Gannett in July of 2021. “We’re growing every week,” he said. “I’ve already heard from parents a lot. They tell me their kids really enjoy Kid Scoop. It’s fun, but I also saw the educational value in Kid Scoop for the elementary grades right away.”

In September of 2021, Vickery added Kid Scoop Junior to reach the pre-school-age children in families living in Barnwell County, a circulation area of 21,000. With the circulation growing so quickly, “we’ve been able to add more pages and bigger photos," he said. "The page has been a hit with readers. It has also allowed us to increase revenue through pages sponsors.” 

Meanwhile, during her 30 years with Gannett, Karen Schneider of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was startled to learn that prison population forecasts were based on fourth-grade reading scores.

“I watched the steep decline in local news coverage,” she told us. She also discovered reports that 46% of Oshkosh fourth-graders were scoring below grade level in reading.

After her position as general manager/ad director for two dailies was eliminated by Gannett mergers, Schneider founded the weekly Oshkosh Herald to focus on local news and literacy. The paper published its first edition in January, 2018, and introduced the Kid Scoop feature in June, 2019. Her first sponsor of the Kid Scoop weekly page was a law firm whose clients are school districts.

Fulfilling her commitment to literacy, she arranged for hundreds of students to use Kid Scoop in the Oshkosh Herald during the 2019 summer reading program at libraries, summer school classrooms, and Boys and Girls clubs. Deliveries were funded by a local Altrusa International organization.

As publisher, she makes her new weekly Oshkosh Herald available to teachers along with free lesson plans and materials for parents to use at home. These resources are all provided by Kid Scoop at no cost to newspapers subscribing to the weekly Kid Scoop page. The colorful Kid Scoop page is designed to develop reading skills using fun puzzles, word searches, writing contests, plus reading, math, history and geography activities that lead young readers to explore other parts of the newspaper. Each activity is aligned with the state Common Core learning standards.

In January of 2022, Schneider expanded her success with the Oshkosh Herald by founding a second weekly, the Neenah (Wisconsin) News.