May 8, 2008

Some Parenting Is Local

I don't know if it's a trend, but I do seem to be hearing more these days about very local parenting blogs, sites, and communities being sponsored by the hometown paper.

I just got a tip about The Miami Herald's new "Guide for South Florida Parents," which is called--what else?--Moms Miami. Which is just like The San Francisco Chronicle's new all-things-parenting channel, Bay Area Moms [Oh, don't cry! Dads are welcome!] I haven't been, but I'm very interested to see The Santa Cruz Weekly Journal's parenting portal, Breastfeeding Attachment Parents Who Gave Birth At Home [But Don't Worry, All Are Welcome!]

But not every local media parenting site automatically assumes "parent" equals "mom. Raising Bakersfield is sponsored by The Bakersfield Californian. I suspect their inclusiveness is due in large part to the involvement of longtime dadblogger--and Time Magazine at-home dad swimsuit model--Jason Sperber, who runs the paper's community initiatives. And the Seattle Press-Intelligencer dodged a bullet with their site, by launching alongside it. [In that case, it's probably the P-I's crack reporter Paul Nyhan, who covers kid, family and parent issues for the paper while also publishing a blog, Working Dad , who deserves a lot of credit for the save.]

Newspapers' parent blogs can range from Big Thoughts [like the Washington Post's On Balance, which opened as a frontline in the Mommy Wars before Rebel Dad Brian Reid muscled in and saved it] to Big Tent & Practical [like the SF Chron's excellent, very dad-friendly The Poop], to the personal [like DaddyFiles, which was just launched by Aaron Gouvela, a brand new dad who's also a reporter at the Cape Cod Times, and like Jeremy Olshan's Dawn of The Dad, where the NY Post reporter chronicled their various fertility treatments (they had twins, by the way, mazeltov!)]

What do you find useful and useless in a local parenting site? If your local paper has a great example of a useful, interesting parent site, especially if they seem to be even slightly aware of the existence of dads, please share it below. Or if there's an independently awesome local parenting site you like, give them a plug, too. Of course, hopeless gender stereotypes are welcome, too, for entertainment purposes only.


What I find useful in a parenting website is a shopping guide focused on products that an ad rep thinks will be, broadly defined, of interest to parents -- products that are sold at local stores so that the newspaper can make its parenting website profitable. Okay, not.

How about a photo-based playground guide? Our area lacks an awesome mega park, so we identify neighborhood parks by specific unique aspects of the playground equipment that the kids enjoy (a slide composed of rollers, presence of infant swings or not, sand digging equipment, etc.).

[you know, moms DO make like 110% of all household purchases... -ed.]

I write for, a local site for kids (and the people who raise or entertain them) based out of Providence, RI. Although we feature local content, we appeal to a national audience and our stats are worldwide... We are dad-inclusive and other caretakers, too. We just launched a article series about PARENTS who work from home called HomeWork. Every family is different and I think it's important to recognize that. I'm looking forward to seeing other examples of local sites that are reaching out..

Thanks for the shout-out, Greg. And actually, for a town with as conservative a reputation as this one, there was quite widespread support, from staff and community members, for making the site targeted to parents of all genders. We've got an interesting mix of moms and dads on the site so far, considering we've only been in our live soft-launch phase for less than a month.

Once I get my act in gear and start my stuff-to-buy blog on RaisingBakersfield (cuz doesn't every parenting site need one?), rest assured that DT and Thingamababy will be in the blogroll. :) And AJ, your idea is AWESOME. I'm sitting here with our company's interactive mapping expert, and we're already planning our next move. So thanks!

As for why a hyperlocal parents' site, let me give an anecdote from a RL friend who I got onto the site. She has her own momblog on Wordpress, and reads some friends' parentblogs. And the other day, she told me that she always saw the comments on our blogs from friends all over the country and thought that it was cool, but when she started her blog on RaisingBakersfield, and started conversations in the comments with people right here whom she didn't know but, if she wanted to, she could, started see recommendations and references to local places and things to do she could actually go do, she got really excited and energized in a way she hadn't before about blogging. Some folks need and want that local feel. That's why we're here, as a resource, as a virtual place to gather and share.

Oh, and Greg--oh no you di'in't! (re: that photo link/mention) Oy...

Greg, thanks for pimpin' the new site. And just my two cents but the wicked (pardon my Boston vernacular) local parenting sites are gaining steam mainly because people can relate to them. I'm not telling anyone anything they don't know, but they feel better knowing someone -- especially someone close by -- is going through the same things.

I've been meaning to send you the link to a new site that your home-town paper (Raleigh News & Observer) just started:

Yep, And the Charlotte Observer just started one too:

Even though I am a mom, I have felt no need to check out either site yet. In fact, a quick look at each of them has almost immediately turned me off. And apparently, dads are not welcome in Raleigh or Charlotte.

Well, you're not gonna like this, but I just got a notice in my inbox at work about a site that Globe just launched on Sunday:

[to their, uh, credit, their about us page manages to perfectly avoid any reference to "parents," much less "dads." It really IS all about moms. sheesh. -ed.]

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