When your child wakes up howling at 3 a.m. from some unknown malady, the internet is quick to provide tips and advice. But how are you supposed to make sense of the often contradictory information?
NYT Parenting, a new site, debuted in May to cut through the noise and offer guidance and support backed by rigorous reporting.
In her mission to make Parenting a trustworthy, indispensable resource for new and expecting parents, Jessica Grose, the editor, not only spoke extensively to experts, but also asked readers what they wanted to know.
She recently answered a selection of readers’ questions about Parenting. Some questions have been condensed and edited for clarity.
What’s the goal? Why now? Will it be policy- and news-focused as much as how-to?
— Amy Veltman, Manhattan
The goal, at least from an editorial standpoint, is to be as useful as possible and to provide parents with the highest-quality information and support. We did months of reader research before we started creating content. What we heard was that, while there’s a lot of parenting guidance out there, much of it is unscientific, unvetted and unrealistic. We wanted to create a resource for parents that they could trust and one they felt spoke to them in a way that felt relevant to their lives.
Why now? I think parents are just inundated with information and it’s often hard to figure out whether a source is trustworthy. They feel overwhelmed and judged. It’s a good time to step in and provide service journalism that helps them navigate parenting.
We’re still figuring out the mix of service, policy and news. Right now, I’d say it’s about 65 percent service with the other 35 percent made up of policy, news and essays. That may change as the site evolves.
Your information about the site states there will be lots of evidence-based information. Did you actually consult pediatricians and family medicine physicians who are trained in evidence-based medicine of pediatric care and parenting?
— Jess, Vermont
In the run-up to launch, we consulted pediatricians and obstetricians from across the country. We asked them what kinds of questions were most important to their patients and how we could best answer them. All of our developmental milestones are written by board-certified pediatricians.
For every single guide, we consult multiple experts — so that means pediatricians, family medicine physicians, obstetricians, gynecologists, midwives, doulas, lactation consultants, psychologists, psychiatrists and physical therapists — depending on what the subject is. We check credentials and look at the research. Many of our writers have master’s degrees in science writing. Others are academics, physicians and psychologists. We take the commitment to evidence-based expertise very, very seriously.
I like what you are doing with birth language (like “natural”). I’m unabashed about correcting people when they err on this. What other plans do you have to make things better and not dive into inflammatory clickbait territory?
— Katherine Miller, Harlem
Thank you! We are doing our best to make sure the framing of our work is not gendered. A lot of parenting articles assume that they are talking to a mother and we want to be talking to all parents.
We also don’t want to make assumptions about the structure of any family — a set of married, heterosexual parents shouldn’t be the default. And we’re trying to be as thoughtful as possible about our headlines. That doesn’t mean we won’t mess up from time to time, but we’re doing our best.
Is it a new section of the paper as well?
— Jamie Toohill, Wilton, Conn.
For now we’re just digital, though we may publish pieces in other print sections from time to time and have occasional stand-alone sections.
Is this only for people who are planning to become parents? A lot of us are beyond that point and would still appreciate information.
— Jessica, New England
While the Parenting site will only be covering children through age 6 for now, The Times has fabulous coverage of parenting issues for older children. For example, don’t miss the psychologist Lisa Damour’s columns in Well Family for advice about teenagers and young adults.
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