I am a parent and I have been a child and I can say with some authority that parenting looks a lot different now to what it did 30 years ago. These days people hire childcare not based on price, but on criteria like being able to help our nippers at school. There are even instances where eager parents hire coaches in order to help their kids get into colleges or universities. When I was a kid I was lucky to get sugar on my cereal!
This trend of info for parents with the associate dean for programs at Rutgers University, Dafna Lemish commenting “This is the craziness of the push and the competitiveness and idea that all we want is our children to be successful, successful, successful.”
It is nothing new for parents to want to see their kids succeed of course. However, in this day and age, the internet has possibly given rise to a new breed of parents that believe that every other parent is doing a better job than them. It is difficult when there is so much content on how to do a good job of parenting. If you are not careful you can fall into a negative mindset of anxiety about your own parenting skills.
Parenting blogs are very much in fashion at the moment and there is a plethora of content online if you want to access it. These articles are well-meaning but are mostly anecdotal and the majority of them have no studies or scientific facts underpinning them.
Take, for instance, Jessica Grose. She boasts the title of lead editor at the New York times and even she joked about a parenting message board that claimed crystals can cure leprosy. She commented, “There is so much bad information out there and it’s hard even if you are an educated consumer to parse the information. There’s an endless appetite for us to explain complicated, thorny things; a Google search engine isn’t going to cut it.”
And that is why news organisations are filling in gaps in peoples “knowledge”.
Several noted and well-respected publications including HuffPost, The New York Times and The Week have increased their focus on parenting articles. Other sites such as Fatherly have built their entire business around parenting. All of these publications are “catering to the thirst parents have for somebody to give them some clear instructions, expert information,” according to Lemish. In fact, way back in 2018, the NY Times stated it was going to create a parenting section.
The Times started slowly, first creating a Newsletter in order to ease their readers into the idea. Their initial team consisted of five people, but these weren’t just hack writers but contained people with a scientific background in order to weed through the disinformation found on less reputable sites. The team have discovered through their work and research that the public has a particular interest in stories that detail how to avoid burning out and articles that focus on maintaining good mental health.
Joel Kaplan for is the associate dean for professional graduate at Syracuse University said,
“All these news organizations are expanding because traditional news doesn’t do it anymore in terms of digital advertising. They’re trying to get as many eyeballs as they can,”
Joining the fight
Like the Times Huffpost also begin their plan to become part of this lucrative parenting niche with a newsletter. Whereas the NPR has begun their foray with a novel podcast.
Hilary Ross, VP of podcast media at Veritone One said,
“Podcasting has provided a platform for individuals to document their journey through these major life events and share it with others. I think that this vertical is nowhere close to saturated and has a lot of room for growth.”