Is Kid retiring or on vacation?

Jun 1, 2024

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Faith Wylie
John Wylie II

Creators of the Newspaper in Education (NIE) feature For the Kid in You are retiring, but the Kids’ future depends on someone like you.

Co-Creator John M. Wylie II said, “We have enjoyed providing this feature for 30 years and thank our subscriber newspapers and their tens of thousands of kids.”

He and his wife, Faith Wylie, spent a decade starting their careers in Kansas City before buying the Oologah (Oklahoma) Lake Leader in 1984, which they transformed into one of the state’s most honored community weeklies.

They retired and sold the paper in 2017 but couldn’t leave the Kid and their fans — tweens, parents and teachers across hundreds of square miles — adrift.

Publishers of some papers carrying the Kid promoted it, including a successful large-format tabloid in Oklahoma that put Kid teasers on the cover adjoining coverage of state championship games, homecoming royalty, big new business openings, or scandals at the courthouse or city hall.

“I was delighted when that started a number of years ago, having absorbed the power of newspapers as enticing learning tools for all ages while at The Kansas City Star,” John said.

The Kid was born as metro dailies came into the Leader’s large and growing geographical area pushing their NIE papers in the ‘90s. Leader News Editor Carolyn Estes and Faith Wylie fought back by creating the Kid and finding sponsors for the hundreds of extra copies at the target grades in the growing school.

They created a series of fundraisers, which included a downtown golf tournament using balls that soared but were soft enough not to hurt spectators or break windows.

Estes became a national leader in newspaper education programs, traveling thousands of miles and giving dozens of seminars of how newspaper could best put such programs to work, including the Kid, and displaying how it was being used through national trade shows.

“We always stressed the fun and excitement that newspapers offer,” Faith explained.

The Kid was soon syndicated statewide and nationally to more than 30 weeklies and dailies.

Over its 30 years, many teachers were less strained by standardized test periods and could use that time for lessons drawn from newspapers, which meant that even in smaller school districts with just 60 students split between two classrooms, if five grade levels used the papers, that meant 300 kids per year.

Sadly, the exact impact of the Kid historically will never be known. Specific billing, circulation, payment and other records for the feature were all lost after the Wylies sold the Leader.

The Kid moved with them to their lakeside home and office, which was completely destroyed by an 11-alarm fire May 19, 2019, during a major flood.

Although the newspaper industry was contracting, more than a dozen papers held on and begged to keep the feature going.

But as the number of newspapers shrank, and the space of those which survived declined, the numbers could no longer match the costs of major blocks of weekly research, writing, photography, editing to New York Times standards, and transmitting finished columns by email, always designed to reach client publications at a precise time as quickly as one day before publication to no more than four.

Multiple subscribers have said they would be interested in having the Kid, if they could add staff to do all the tasks of the feature. The Wylies hope the growing non-profit structure of news organizations might offer an answer.

“We are willing to provide all the copyrights, assets, artwork, already gathered research for future issues and startup advice in exchange for a receipt for a mutually agreed amount for the donation of the Kid that complies with IRS regulations,” Faith Wylie said.

If interested, contact her at

Well-known educator and Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame member Terry Clark said, “You have the satisfaction of a great idea and service for young readers and local newspapers. It it is a difficult time to grow older and see changes we never imagined.”

Kids Robin Read and Libby Smart hope someone in the newspaper business, which they love, will agree.