The Washington Post has run three articles recently that give me hope for changes in the daily paper. The first was a short mention stating that readership among women 18 to 49 has plummeted. The second was a blurb at the bottom of an inside page telling us, “a Post readership committee is soliciting ideas from women ages 18 to 49 with children younger than 18 at home.” The third is the promotion of Katharine Weymouth to CEO of Washington Post Media. (Congratulations, Katharine!) As a mom with three young children at home, I’m hoping that she understands.I happen to love the Post. I have always loved it. As a young girl growing up in Mississippi, I envied the thick sheafs of newsprint, the carefully researched editorials, the features that depended on sending the writer to farflung countries over time. I loved the rare opportunity to sink in and read it on the rare occasion, and I was more than delighted to discover that the Post delivered to my college dorm when I went away to school. I read every word, catching up on the politics, the current affairs, the world events that my local paper had only skimmed over. It was my entry into a different world.
But now I’m living in a world far different than the one depicted in the Post. Instead of cannons, I have whispers. Instead of opera, I have rhythm sticks. Instead of fashion, I have two little boys who grow out of their clothes almost as fast as I can buy them new ones.
That’s the other gaping hole, of course. There is very little interesection between life as depicted in the Washington Post and life out in the hundreds of thousands of families that have their own blogs and tell it like it really is. Women age 18 to 49 with children are going out and finding other sources for their news — the news that is vital to them as they raise their children, no matter what else they balance in their lives. The Post risks being a thing of the past, a tradition, just one more thing to recycle, if it doesn’t see this and adapt.
I think the editors see this now.
I hope that they choose to adapt.
My two concrete suggestions for the committee are these: Add a weekly section to the paper called “Raising Children” and introduce us to some new voices willing to talk about the experience. If staff time and money are tight, invite guest editorials from the community. There are many talented women at home right now reading WashingtonPost.com and writing on their own blog sites … wouldn’t you want some of them writing for you?
This post was originally posted at DC Metro Moms Blog and sent by email to the suggested address, firstname.lastname@example.org. I encourage you to write your own posts or emails, or leave comments over there and I’ll send them in for you if you wish. I know we’re far from a monolithic group, but it’s time that our voices be heard.