Newspaper Bias Against Mom Bloggers

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newspaper bias against mom bloggersThe latest New York Times article on mom bloggers, Honey, Don’t Bother Mommy. I’m Too Busy Building My Brand,  is yet another of many from the Times that attempts to marginalize our industry. Liz Gumbinner has an amazing post about the snarky New York Times article, and the comments there are outstanding. Be sure to read it.

We are not simply complaining about that article. There is a pattern heavily in the New York Times, but also in other major newspapers, of condescending to and insulting mom bloggers. I am here to say that it is time we take a stand against it.

Here are but a few snippets from the latest New York Times article about the Bloggy Bootcamp conference in Baltimore:

ON a brisk Saturday morning this month, a dedicated crew of about 90 women, most in their 30s or thereabouts, arrived at a waterfront hotel here, prepared for a daylong conference that offered to school them in the latest must-have skill set for the minivan crowd.

Teaching your baby to read? Please. How to hide vegetables in your children’s food? Oh, that’s so 2008.

And this is in reference to my friend Tara’s session on SEO (something, incidentally, many companies have budgets for in the thousands annually):

Heed the speaker’s advice, and you, too, might get 28,549 views of your tutu-making tutorial! Whereas so-called mommy blogs were once little more than glorified electronic scrapbooks, a place to share the latest pictures of little Aidan and Ava with Great-Aunt Sylvia in Omaha, they have more recently evolved into a cultural force to be reckoned with.

Why is it so shocking that moms would discuss something besides parenting? How ridiculous. Why was this even in the Style section? If it were a tech conference for men the tone would be entirely different. It would go in business. It would not mention minivans. And I won’t even get into “glorified electronic scrapbooks.” I know many moms who have blogged about topics such as business and social media and politics for years that go well beyond that little dig.

Yes, mom blogging is an industry. It isn’t something cute we adorable widdle mommies do to share diaper stories. Whether we’re making money or not (mostly not), it is an industry. There are plenty of industries in which many workers in it make little or no money, such as writing, fine art and acting.

We get marginalized for a few reasons, including:

  • We are women who are, perhaps for one of the first times, far better at something than men in many cases and far better in an industry that is making a major impact. I should explain that I know many, many men who are talented, brilliant bloggers, but that isn’t surprising. For women to stand out in an industry that major corporations are clamoring to get involved with just sits wrong with some people.
  • We are excelling in the media landscape, which doesn’t sit well with traditional media.
  • We are turning our backs on the mold that has been created for us.
  • We are threatening to traditional publishers, mostly old white men who couldn’t write a blog or use Twitter if you put a gun to their heads.
  • Newspaper circulation keeps declining, while blog readership and authorship keeps growing.
  • Writing snarky articles about mom bloggers encourages mom bloggers to share links and drive readers to the newspaper’s web site. (Here’s a hint, New York Times… we would share positive coverage just as much, if not more).

We are trying to make a living by creating content, and for that we get demeaned, criticized, talked down to, made fun of, and stereotyped as unethical money and swag grabbing whores.

I know of a few other organizations that make their money creating content. Namely, mainstream media.

Mom blogging is a new media revolution.

Many moms blog because we have found the current establishment unacceptable in many cases. How many mom bloggers were once career women? How many have a day job but hope to one day make enough from their blog to leave it? How many found it difficult to balance career and family? How many found it even more difficult to convince their employer to give an inch to make it easier: allow working from home, allow flex time, allow job sharing?

In the midst of this down economy, how many blogging moms kept food on their children’s tables or a roof over their heads?

Mom bias begins in the newsroom.

I left newspapers after 15 years, despite loving my work and being a third-generation journalist raised by two journalists because the field was so family-unfriendly. In fact, another layer of this bias against mom bloggers in media is that the same bias exists in many newsrooms against moms who work there.

Newspapers want employees who place their job above all else in their lives. Moms just won’t do that, and that is a problem. There is this sense that moms, who can’t be on call 24-7 because they have children they need to care for, have it easier than childless reporters. Anyone who thinks being a reporter and a parent is an easily life is a fool.

Women blogging is a revolution, a rejection of the status quo. We have been forced into a box for centuries, and we refuse to accept it. We refuse to be told we have to choose between success and motherhood. We refuse to follow the unbending rules of corporate jobs that in many cases make you prioritize job over family. Most of all, we refuse to accept that mainstream media, with its quality decline and clear bias, should be the only source of information.

It is getting to the point that I am frankly embarrassed for the traditional media. They are making fools of themselves. They are abandoning all of their allegedly dear principles, such as bias, fair reporting and serving readers, in their need to belittle moms and women, in their desperation to remain viable and profitable. They could devote that energy instead to pursuing real journalism, investigative journalism, interacting and hearing their readers, and learning the social media landscape so they could cease the deterioration of their industry.

It amazes me how many commented at Liz’s post that mom bloggers should just be happy to be getting coverage. We don’t need coverage. We are far better masters at building buzz and engaging with readers than newspapers are. Thanks, but no thanks.

When I was a reporter, even covering controversial beats (which is really all I did cover), I always balanced reporting even of cops, courts, politics and business with a mix of positive and negative articles. That, my friends, is lacking bias. You should cover the whole picture, and represent the beat comprehensively.

Liz did a fabulous job of listing the many amazing stories from the mom blogosphere that are being missed, so I won’t try to replicate that. Major newspapers missed the entire story of Jaeli, where mom bloggers joined forces to save the life of a baby. Apparently, that isn’t newsworthy. Most missed the amazing and inspirational story of Anissa Mayhew, a fellow mom blogger whose stroke motivated an entire community of hundreds of bloggers to rally in her support.

If you think this post is about one snarky article, or even just one snarky article by the New York Times, I would like to offer a collective of their so-called fair and balanced reporting of the mom blogosphere. (I use so-called because I find it amusing, considering how many times news articles have referred to us as “so-called mom bloggers,” like it’s some sort of scam).

Here is just a small sampling of mainstream media coverage of mom bloggers. I’ll start with New York Times:

There was Drinking in the Land of Mommy Blogdom (and yes, it’s about what you think it is).

Then there was Approval by a Blogger May Please a Sponsor, which goes so far as to insinuate that moms get kickbacks:

The proliferation of paid sponsorships online has not been without controversy. Some in the online world deride the actions as kickbacks. Others also question the legitimacy of bloggers’ opinions, even when the commercial relationships are clearly outlined to readers.

And the Federal Trade Commission is taking a hard look at such practices and may soon require online media to comply with disclosure rules under its truth-in-advertising guidelines.

A short two months later, the New York Times writes about dad bloggers getting in on this action. You can read the two articles for yourself to compare tones, but this one has but a brief mention of FTC guidelines. Instead, this is mentioned:

Sony emphasizes that the products it is sending daddy bloggers are on loan, not gifts, and bloggers are not being pressured to write positive reviews. “We expect the reviews to be very honest,” said Marcy Cohen, a Sony spokeswoman.

I believe the title of this one speaks for itself: Beauty Blogs Come of Age: Swag Please!

Ah, and he is an oldie but a goodie. Mom’s Mad. And She’s Organized. Noteworthy quote:

A BABY was passed around like the hors d’oeuvres.

Nice. Clearly, this was an article about something cute and trite, right? Not so much. It was about MomsRising, an organization to empower and give political might to moms.

The only nugget of wisdom about moms I found on New York Times has such irony, especially when you consider their coverage of an industry of women bloggers. The Anti-Mommy Bias isn’t specific to mom bloggers (that must be how it slipped past editors), but it sure is enlightening on this topic. Just replace employers with journalists for a snicker.

Employers sometimes assume that women with care responsibilities will be, and should be, less committed to their jobs. Such assumptions and beliefs can influence employment outcomes even when caregivers work just as long and hard as everybody else…

In one experiment, about 200 undergraduates were asked to rate paired applications for an imaginary midlevel managerial job. Both female and male students rated mothers lower on competence and commitment, recommended lower salaries for them, and judged them less worthy of promotion than childless women.

In an even more convincing audit study, fictional résumés and cover letters were sent to employers advertising midlevel marketing and business job openings at a large Northeastern city newspaper. Childless women received 2.1 times as many callbacks as mothers. Fathers, however, were not penalized.

What did I say about bias against moms in the newsroom? Yeah.

To be fair, New York Times is not the only newspaper to show bias against moms who blog. Here is a sampling of some of the oh-so flattering coverage in other major newspapers:

I know this is a long post and I know these are a lot of links. But I have a reason for that. This is not an isolated incident. This isn’t even just one major newspaper. This is a pattern.

I would say that we should boycott newspapers, but are we even reading them? I mean, except when they write this drivel? And we are forced to either ignore it or drive readers their way by criticizing it.

We need to take a stand. So what are we going to do about it?

Edited to add: I think we are all at a loss as to what to do about this. I wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times, and I highly recommend you also write one. There are instructions here. I would also recommend emailing the Times’ ombudsman at public@nytimes.com. His name is Clark Hoyt, and this is the paper’s description of his role: “The public editor works outside of the reporting and editing structure of the newspaper and receives and answers questions or comments from readers and the public, principally about articles published in the paper.” We may not be a big corporation, but our voices are our might.

Photo of man with newspaper and woman with laptop, © FaceMePLS on Flickr.

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About the author: Kelby Carr (521 Posts)

Kelby Carr is the founder and publisher of Type-A Parent. She also is the organizer of the Type-A Parent Conference. She is the author of Pinterest For Dummies and Pinterest Marketing For Dummies. You can follow her on Twitter at @typeamom and circle her on Google+.

 

Comments

  1. Jamie wolf

    March 14, 2010

    Wow! What a powerful post on a subject that infuriates me to no end. Thanks for raising awareness to this disturbing trend.

    Jamie Wolf
    @fitforamom

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  2. Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting

    March 14, 2010

    As usual, friggin’ brilliant, Kelby. I don’t and will not read newspapers, especially because of this. Wonderful post!

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    • CountryFriedMama

      March 14, 2010

      Wow, seriously, Lisa? I can see how this pattern is upsetting, although the one article in question did not raise my ire quite as much as many others'. But to say you are done with newspapers in general seems like overkill.

      I don't love that the NYT belittled mommy bloggers as a whole, or that they consider all moms who blog to be doing the same thing. We have a technology platform and biology in common, but other than that, there are lots of different ways to be a mom who blogs.

      Despite the horrible art and ugly headline above today's article, I'm keeping my subscription to the NYT because I consider it part of my human responsibility to know what is happening in the world, and there's no better way to know it (in my humble opinion).

      As far as getting mainstream media to tell a different story about blogging, maybe some of these conferences should start offering sessions on how to pitch meatier stories to local press. If we start with building some credibility and respect in the smaller markets, the large ones will — probably slowly, but eventually — follow.

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      • blm03

        March 16, 2010

        I've lucked out that my local papers (Chicago Sun Times and Chicago Tribune), so far have given us good coverage. I just don't understand what these other papers have against us.

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  3. The Well-Versed Mom

    March 14, 2010

    Thanks for yet another good commentary on the NYT article.

    I have faced the same bias in the advertising world that you experienced in journalism. Most agencies are typically good ol’ boy places that let men dominate strategy and creative execution – when it’s well-known that women hold the purse strings and make the majority of purchase decisions, no matter the product/service.

    I’ve seen far too many talented women ignored or only brought on board as the token female – mostly when a stereotypically “female” product needed promotion.

    I’m not sure how to combat the problem, but certainly being successful at what we do is a big step in the right direction.

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  4. mom101

    March 14, 2010

    Thanks so much for this Kelby – and for the incredibly kind words about my post.

    I tried to link up a bunch of past newspaper coverage of momblogs in a comment and frankly, I had a date with my kids and ran out of time. What can I say, once a month or so I put them first.

    So thanks for that excellent list. Damning evidence of a pattern of bias. But then, you know how to support your claims. You are a pro, after all.

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    • kelbycarr

      March 14, 2010

      Liz, I actually thought you did list quite a few. I thought I would focus on the pattern since you covered so much of it so well. My knowledge is on the journalism side, and I really wanted to nail the lack of journalistic integrity. The arguments that all coverage is good coverage is absurd (just ask any politician caught in a sex scandal). I also think this article by itself… well, it is hard to say what my reaction would be if this were the first. It is such a part of a long, well-established pattern that I think our outrage as mom bloggers is rooted in the pattern more than the individual post.

      And hah! You did something with your kids? But HOW did you build your brand while parenting? I don't get it. *snicker*

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  5. Deb

    March 14, 2010

    Well, if the NYT or anyone else wanted to make us feel bad, they most certainly failed. Over the past day of thinking about and reading fantastic responses to this issue, I’ve never been so proud to be a mom blogger. Thanks for this post!

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    • kelbycarr

      March 14, 2010

      Yes, I was thinking just the same reading all the insightful, brilliant comments at Liz's post. How can anyone think we are a bunch of silly moms reading that? We are amazing, smart, clever, so many wonderful things.

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  6. Kathy Sykes

    March 14, 2010

    What needs to be done, is have the mom bloggers community to “tell thier own story”. I know this is done on an individual basis by bloggers, but wouldn’t it shut some folks up if you give specific stats behind the mom bloggers? Many that I know and follow are MBAs, PhD, or in corporate America. We (yes I am one too) blog not to get laundry detergent, I can buy my own three times over, but because we want more than being a slave to coporate America. We want to clear the path for our own destiny. We want to prioritize what’s most important to us (family) and still flex our business skills. Yes, we can do it all AND that comes with creativity. I blog about parenting, work-life balance, strategic management, and homeschooling. You cannot tell me or limit what I blog about. Because I am a mom blogger makes me an essential part of society and business because I AM EVERYWHERE!! And you need to know my opinion.
    Loved your take on the NYT article

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  7. Bay

    March 14, 2010

    What a wonderful & thoughtful follow-up to a ridiculously vitriolic article. It is a shame that NYT has such a jealous and belittling stance on “mom-bloggers” and new media in general. I also felt as if the author was just bitter that she was once listed as a “lesser known” blogger. Some people (and media outlets) need to grow up.

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  8. muskrat

    March 14, 2010

    This? Is just sad.

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  9. Chrysula WORK. LIFE. BALANCE.

    March 14, 2010

    Both you and Liz and the incredible comment chain on both posts, and even some of the content in the original piece all point to one place. These guys are watching their business model fall apart at the seams and they don't have a clue. Not the grey lady, certainly not Murdoch and the rest of the gang. And they certainly don't know what to do with us. Bring it on big boys. We're way ahead of you.

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    • kelbycarr

      March 14, 2010

      You nailed it, and I agree. Bring. It. ON! We are far more ready than they are.

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  10. Donna

    March 14, 2010

    Newspapers are threatened by their perceived loss of control over what is disseminated in to the public consciousness. Mommy bloggers are a convenient target because they feel that somehow or another, we've contributed to the decline in their readership. But here's the rub, their own attitudes, poor quality and lack of originality (watch how quickly a poorly researched article jumps from news site to news site) have actually driven more and more women in to the blogging world.

    Personally, I'll stick with the blogging world. I know I will get get a wider variety of opinions on any given subject written by people who have actually taken the time to think about it.

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  11. R_Mattocks

    March 14, 2010

    Hey, more power to you moms. I might be a dad blogger, but I don't mind playing second fiddle here. Besides, when it comes down to it, we're all parents anyway. Kids are our equalizer.

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  12. reallifesarah

    March 14, 2010

    {Standing ovation} Brilliant analysis, Kelby! I have never considered myself a “feminist” in the mainstream use of the word, but this makes me want to stand up and say, “I am Woman, HEAR ME ROAR!” OK, I'm going back to scrub my kitchen floors now…

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  13. Mommy of 5

    March 14, 2010

    It is so frustrating. As a'community news' reporter for a mid-size Canadian paper I work from home to be with my kids more. As advertising stress has fallen on the industry I have noticed that news has fallen back on a more 'male' centered focus, business results, sports and cars have all kept their section size, the arts and community not so much.

    I've offered to blog about Motherhood and community issues for the corporate website, but have been told there would be no advertising market. -Yes it was a team of male leadership from the Publisher on down who said so.

    The paper rarely publishes anything my mom friends are willing to read, we get our news online or read mommy blogs. I've been told at the playground by friends they have quit reading because there is never anything about their interests printed. I suppose I should be grateful we aren't actively publishing the snide judgmentalism of the NYTimes.

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  14. FeminineWiles

    March 14, 2010

    Thanks for the concise analysis. You're right — this morning's article came across as smug and snarky. As a mom blogger, I was stunned. It hadn't occurred to me that newspapers may feel somewhat threatened by — and envious of — our very existence. My own little blog is growing, bit by bit, in very direction I'd hoped, without the mandates of an editor or publisher and without advertisers, either. And somehow, that irritates the NYTimes? Makes me feel kinda powerful …

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  15. FeminineWiles

    March 14, 2010

    Thanks for the concise analysis. You're right — this morning's article came across as smug and snarky. As a mom blogger, I was stunned. It hadn't occurred to me that newspapers may feel somewhat threatened by — and envious of — our very existence. My own little blog is growing, bit by bit, in very direction I'd hoped, without the mandates of an editor or publisher and without advertisers, either. And somehow, that irritates the NYTimes? Makes me feel kinda powerful …

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  16. TheProfessionalFamilyManager

    March 14, 2010

    What happened with the recent NY Times article is, as you said, not the first time the media bashes mothers; and, as you stated, it isn't that the NY Times gave an unflattering review of a blog conference that has so many women disappointed.

    I wonder how much of this “mom-blog-bashing” has to do with trying desperately to marginalize this growing successful phenomenon as we bloggers now compete with the traditional mainstream media. We are smart, sophisticated, do our research…and are a cheap source of information. And we are succeeding, whereas newspapers and other media outlets are fighting to increase revenue as there is a rapid decline in readership and sales.

    And how dare bloggers accept pitches from companies…just like the newspapers/television/cable/radio outlets do?

    No, they want to make it sound as though we are rich, bored housewives ignoring our children (or passing them around like appetizers) instead of leaving the real work and thinking to corporations. They can't give us credit for all we do, because the media then has to admit it's failing. The media can't admit that…so it has to resort to name-calling.

    Thank you for the intelligent, well-reasoned, and insightful post.

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  17. anymommy

    March 14, 2010

    With intelligent commentary and responses like this flying around social media networks, I think the point is made pretty darn effectively. The need to marginalize and belittle one group by another, traditionally more powerful group, is usually rooted in something. I think you've hit on it exactly. Loss of control. Traditional media is losing its monopoly on information, on audience and even on what is news. Scary. Damn those mommies. They just won't stay in the style section. Great post. Very thought-provoking.

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  18. Kris Cain

    March 14, 2010

    Way to go. I so hope that they all read this post and the others that are popping up. It's a shame that the negativity is the main way that they see fit to draw attention to Mommy bloggers. How about the good? Geez.

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  19. The (Un)Experienced Mom

    March 14, 2010

    Kelby…..this post is so beautifully written. To the point, honest, and spot on! I love all of the examples you've laced throughout the post to further illustrate how many traditional media outlets just don't “get” what bloggers, specifically mommy bloggers, are about.

    Like you said, rather than write something off the top of their head, they should take the time to dig a bit deeper; to find the heart of blogging and learn a bit more about our community. Things can look very different on the surface. Think about how many times we've passed up a fabulously interesting book at the library simply because we didn't like the look of the cover? Rather than take a few minutes to find out a bit more about the content in the book, we just make assumptions based on a brief glance, or maybe even one review of the book.

    Couldn't have said it better Kelby…and I won't even try! Love it!

    Tamara
    http://www.theunexperiencedmom.com
    http://www.blogconferencenewbie.com

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  20. Holly

    March 14, 2010

    Great article and commentary. Thank you!
    Even the word “mommy” is used with such sarcasm in the media that it has become a loaded word–a not-so-subtle term of derision.
    Even if a woman DOES blog about diapers and cute things the kids say, why is that something to be mocked? Why is raising and teaching other human beings and writing about it somehow more ridiculous than writing about any other occupation?
    Watch your tone, New York Times!

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    • kelbycarr

      March 14, 2010

      Absolutely!!! Why IS that a lesser activity deserving of derision? Their moms would be disgusted!

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  21. Jessica

    March 14, 2010

    Great post! I realized earlier this week that I don't get my news the “traditional” way. Instead, I find out everything through blogs and twitter.

    I have to admit that there are times I read a blog and become frustrated with their inability to spell or use the write/right/rite word. I feel that only offers fodder to those who would put down Mommy Bloggers.

    Jessica
    @fringies

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  22. Funkidivagirl

    March 14, 2010

    No, we are not even reading newspapers, so there is no need to boycott them. Old media….they really need to stop bashing and take notes!

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  23. MingleMedia TV

    March 14, 2010

    Kelby, well-written post, thank you for putting things into a broader perspective. I have a background in the newspaper industry as well – not as a journalist but as someone who has developed, marketed and sold new technology to newspapers from software on Mac's into unionized composing rooms and pagination systems outputting complete postscript pages… something that changed how newspapers were published while it took many years to get them to change the way they do things, it's still like the titanic in making a change to that culture – especially as editors believe the paper is published solely for the content but how can that content be printed without the advertisers that pay for it?

    Which goes back to the reason they printed this article… money. They are losing advertisers and now bloggers – and mommy bloggers are growing in numbers and taking their cheese. The decline of subscribers to newspapers as well as where they are going to get their next advertiser is in the balance.

    We should focus on our local communities and as moms reach out to those businesses we frequent and get them to advertise on the blogs we write (no, I'm not a blogger – but if I were one… that's what I'd be doing right now).

    There are many ways to answer the NYT and others who discount the value of the content found on mommy blogger sites, and that's to “show me the money” in the words of Cuba Gooding Jr. in Jerry Macguire – monetize your blogs and don't look back.

    One final thought….Maybe the NYT published this article because they needed the viewership but do you think they underestimated what happens when you piss off the mom community?

    http://www.minglemediatv.com

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  24. Shannon Sullivan

    March 14, 2010

    I like your widdle article! Seriously, the NYT can say what they want, but others can punch back. Nicely written.

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  25. lindasellers

    March 14, 2010

    OY, I am about to hit publish on a much shorter version of this post…bias is blatant…and making me a little sick

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  26. Anne-Marie Nichols

    March 14, 2010

    As I brought up on Liz's blog, should women bloggers talk to the mainstream media anymore? Should we tune out when the TODAY show does another segment about working (or blogging) moms making their kids fat/stupid/lazy/criminal? Should we cancel our subscription to any magazine or newspaper that puts women in tech stories in the lifestyle section? Yes we can all blog about it in protest (as we should!) but how do we change behavior and perceptions?

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    • Mom101

      March 15, 2010

      Anne Marie:

      You know, let's do what we do best – write. Let's write our own articles. Let's pitch editorials. Let's send letters to editors. Let's just be out there as pros. Think of the article you wish that had been…and write it.

      I think we're our own best PR, right?

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  27. Dr. Daisy aka Dr. Mommy

    March 14, 2010

    Excellent post Kelby as usual. It is obvious that the NYT never perused your blog or many of the other sites managed by professional Moms…but I'm sure they are wanting the exposure and just a way to gain more traffic to their site…let's not fall prey to their antics:)

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  28. janice5minutesformom

    March 14, 2010

    You are brilliant Kelby! Dead on as usual.

    This ongoing mom bashing is getting so old. Can't wait for them to realize they are missing reporting on a fascinating, powerful revolution and stop wasting everyone's time on this non-news drivel!

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  29. Amy Lupold Bair

    March 15, 2010

    Kelby, what makes me sick beyond the fact that this author set out to trash bloggers from the beginning (of which I am sure based on our interview – one leading negative question after another) is that once the article was published multiple bloggers posted it on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere with a “YAY! Look I'm in the NY Times! WOOHOO!” No. No, no, no. Keep me out of the NY Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wallet Pop – all of the places that have called me with the express purpose of trashing me and my community – until they decide to report an actual story and not a snarky snapshot of their view of “mommy bloggers.” We need to tell these reporters, “You cannot suck me into your trap. You want a story? Here is the truth,” not participate in their stories if they don't “get it,” and then put our own egos aside when stories like this do appear instead of telling the world to go read a “great article about blogging!” WHAT!?

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    • kelbycarr

      March 15, 2010

      Yes, bloggers need to get much more media savvy, and fast. I can tell you from my days as a reporter, even a reporter who acts like your friend and spends 90% of the interview asking nice questions can just be getting you comfortable for when they throw out their zinger, the question they had in mind when they called you.

      Also, there is NOTHING wrong with asking the reporter a few questions. Like asking what the angle of the story is. They might lie, but then you can call them out as a liar. Like insisting on recording the interview. Like saying you only do email interviews so it is in writing because you've been misquoted.

      I am also going to add something to the post. I sent a letter to the editor, and I emailed the ombudsman for the New York Times. We should all do that.

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      • Scatteredmom

        March 15, 2010

        Thanks for the heads up, Kelby. I'm a smaller blogger who has never talked to a reporter, so this kind of advice is really valuable. I'll know not to take them at face value now, but to really question.

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      • blm03

        March 16, 2010

        I've got to agree with you. I've been interviewed by two local papers myself. Now, I and blogging got good coverage. But I've learned a lot with those articles. First, they don't actually quote what you said. They pretty much paraphrase everything.

        I think I will go with the email interviews from here on out myself.

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    • dipaolamomma

      March 15, 2010

      Out of the amount of time you spent talking to this “reporter” and all the positive, honest and insightful things you choose to share with her, the only excerpt that made it in was a brief sentence about how being at the bus stop for pick up and drop off, is a perk of being a mom who blogs. What it boils down to is they will write what they want, obviously. I may be new to this “game” but I tell you, I'm learning fast (FYI canceled my Sunday New York Times subscription on Friday)

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    • deb@birdonawire

      March 15, 2010

      Amy, you're absolutely right! Becoming 'media' savvy is more than just a little bit necessary. Most of the uproar makes the community sound like the 'howler monkeys' that flew around the Witch of the west in The wizard of oz.. The NYT has yet again sucessfully baited mommy bloggers and shy this write up and a couple more from Liz and edleman and well we know where they are..few comments on the NYT site reference the actual issue with any intelligent thought. If I were a begging woman, I'd beg the community to do the letter writing to the editor and ombudsman, refrain from commenting at the times and basically skip referencing it. don't feed the monster so to speak…you're right on..Ego aside I refuse to post..

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  30. mdtaz

    March 15, 2010

    Blogging has heightened my awareness of my role as a mother and helped me to appreciate my kids and their unique quirks and traits. Is that such a bad brand?

    I say we just keep doing what we're doing, pay them no heed. (They're on life support anyway.)

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  31. niri

    March 15, 2010

    Brilliantly said Kelby! The passion that drives us and the support we have for each other is something they miss and makes traditional media crazy. I think you hit is beautifully with the point of writing sensational pieces to drive traffic.

    I would love to add that if a mom blogger is offered a chance to be interviewed in these pieces that more than focusing on the fact that it brings her traffic, she focus on carefully chosen words so that they are not twisted to try and judge the entire blogging community.

    Frustrating acts like these make many bloggers (myself included) wonder about dealing with all this and whether to continue blogging or not.

    Thanks Kelby for your wonderful articulation, as usual.

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  32. nicolefelicianmo

    March 15, 2010

    Thanks for putting this amazing list together.

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  33. Boston Mamas

    March 15, 2010

    Excellent post K, with all the examples to back it up. You rock.

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  34. Melissa Smallwood

    March 15, 2010

    This boils down to the fact that mainstream media is intimidated by the fact that we “mommy bloggers” have figured out a way to leverage our time, knowledge and skills in a way that is getting the attention of their audience (not to mention brands and each other). We know more about navigating the world of new media than they do- and it scares them silly.

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  35. dianaelee

    March 15, 2010

    I'm increasingly offended by the mainstream media's dismissive attitude toward blogging in general. Many of us are trained journalists who have simply taken a different path and are taking advantage of new media to carve out a different way of doing things. Given that there are fewer and fewer jobs in traditional print media how would we survive if we didn't adapt?

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    • Kristi S

      February 7, 2011

      Well said. This boils down to the fact that mainstream media is intimidated by the fact that we “mommy bloggers” have figured out a way to leverage our time, knowledge and skills in a way that is getting the attention of their audience.

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  36. dipaolamomma

    March 15, 2010

    Thanks for yet another of your articulate and insightful posts. I was in attendance at Bloggy Bootcamp. The SEO presentation that Tara gave was among the most engaging and valuable tutorials I've ever had the privilege to be on the receiving end of, both for personal and professional pursuits.

    I'd love to have an answer for this question: If “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” can receive accolades and BIG MONEY sponsors for helping families in need, why are moms who blog not afforded comparable respect? Tiffany and her partner in SITS, Heather, have helped families dealing with childhood cancer, supported women in developing countries, reached out to those in need and helped to build a sense of community that we are all lucky to have the opportunity to be a part of, should we choose. Yet if they get free Jello that's cause for ridicule?

    This new tactic the Times is taking, of using an aspiring freelance writer (who is also a mom WITH a BLOG) is the most disturbing part of this latest volley for me. I think that to some extent, the Times preyed on Jessica Mendelson’s naivete about the workings of “traditional” media, using her, one from among our own ranks, to lash out like the ailing wildebeest on the Savannah does at the younger and faster; we the moms who blog, and who are quickly becoming the more reliable, talented and influential members of the herd.

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  37. Susan (5 Minutes For Mom)

    March 15, 2010

    It enrages me that many men (and even some women) believe once a woman births a baby, she is no longer a woman with professional value… now she is just a “Mommy”. Surely her resume was tossed out with the afterbirth. If that woman decides to stay at home or work from home? Well then… clearly she is only fit to wipe a baby's butt.

    Thanks Kelby for pulling together all those examples. It is ridiculously obvious that many reporters are threatened by bloggers and find “mommy” bloggers to be an easy target.

    It's funny… I'm so used to articles bashing mommy bloggers, that this particular article didn't even sound that bad.

    When I was first referred to the article it was through Facebook from someone mentioned in it. She was happy to have the link, and I passed on my congratulations for getting a backlink from the NY Times. Because even if the article was laced with snark, a backlink for the NY Times is still valuable. (I'll take those links anytime I can get them. LOL… Mostly kidding here.)

    So while I found the article unsurprisingly minimizing the professional value of mothers, it didn't ruffle my feathers as much as previous reporters' rants.

    But, it is true that this pathetic trend needs to stop. However, I haven't much hope that it will.

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  38. meredithknowles

    March 15, 2010

    Want to aggregate all of the outrage against the NYT article in one place? Join my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=368728623… and show the NYT that there is strength in numbers!

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  39. Amie aka MammaLoves

    March 15, 2010

    Not surprisingly, the MSM had it wrong in their initial assessment. No parent bloggers I know started writing to share our pictures with “Aunt Sylvia.” We started blogging to share our thoughts and connect with other bloggers as a way to remember that we were smart individuals while the rest of the world marginalized us “mommies and daddies.”

    Great piece Kelby.

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  40. amandamagee

    March 15, 2010

    Well, well said.

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  41. Christy

    March 15, 2010

    Great post, Kelby. What do we do about it? We continue to write intelligent, thought-provoking content. Traditional media may seem snarky, but I think they're simply defensive. We're damn good at what we do and they're feeling threatened. What saddens me most about this is that these nasty articles are coming primarily from female reporters. I can see why they are concerned about retaining their credibility in a male-dominated field, but think it's pathetic that their response is to tear us down rather than helping to raise up our entire gender.

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  42. Christy

    March 15, 2010

    On a side note, that article is piss-poor journalism. It's no wonder we're not taken seriously when other women are writing fluff like this. It wasn't a playdate, it was a professional conference. If you're going to cover it, cover it like a professional. I mean, who puts a blogging conference in Style/Fashion?!

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  43. Kelly Whalen

    March 15, 2010

    This combined with Mom01's post are the perfect response to the article and the bias that seems to be all about where the wealth and eyes are spreading. Mom101 highlighted amazing uses of social media, and her opinion, you tackled yours and your experience as a journalist and included many concrete examples of eye-roll inducing articles about social media moms. Now if I could just get everyone to read them.

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  44. Blond Duck

    March 15, 2010

    Popped in from SITS. Like you did, I work as a reporter for a daily paper and have to agree for you. I started out in small community papers, which were bought out, and know my days are dwindling. I'm lucky enough to be small enough to keep my family my priority, but the “hardcore and real reporters” (I do features); scorn the idea of family and children, as you stated. I'm not a mommy blogger, but I think the mainstream media has no idea how powerful moms are.

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  45. Joey

    March 15, 2010

    I don't think I'm in the right mental state to read all of the other articles bashing mom bloggers. I'll have to take it one at a time. It just illustrates for me that our world is not interested in positive news. 'Mom Bloggers Make a Difference' wouldn't pull the buzz that this does. Our outrage is actually making Sunday a successful day for the NY Times. Why would they run any other story?

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  46. Adrian

    March 15, 2010

    >>We are trying to make a living by creating content, and for that we get demeaned, criticized, talked down to, made fun of, and stereotyped as unethical money and swag grabbing whores.<< A-freakin'-men! I am so tired of the media marginalizing and making fun of what I do. And I'm mad at them for slamming Heather and Tiffany. I was a participant in their SITScation event in Vegas and I even won a free ticket for the Phoenix BBC and have been looking forward to it for months. I just hope there aren't any reporters at that one, I don't think they would get a very warm welcome after this.

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  47. Karie

    March 15, 2010

    Here is my take on what “WE” as a village, community, however we choose to describe us, can do about the situation as we are perceived by traditional media: We continue on our path. We continue to evolve and grow and EARN. Next time they want to interview a “mommy blogger” be sure to quote us in the socialite section as well since we clearly don't have to work right? Our “job” at home wiping butts, earning some bacon and frying it up too clearly is non deserving of recognition, so recognize us as a bunch of socialites for Pete's sake.

    When I joined this community I was BLOWN AWAY by the brilliance of some women, such as you Kelby, the SITS Girls Tiffany and Heather, who uplift and support and encourage women. I have since met other fascinating and incredible women such as Lara DiPaolo and Melissa Smallwood. I am honored to know such mini-van driving, tutu creating women.

    Let the Times and other traditional media create what was meant to be an SEO written piece for online hits for them and something to boost their failing sales. Because as a community we have rallied together yet again to say “We are MOMMY, we are brilliant, successful, so get out of the way of my mini-van and blog.” In the end the Times and other media have their “bias,” clearly, based on the tone of the article; so we should continue onward and upward to evolve into an ever stronger force to be reckoned with, and when the great media race is over and “mommy bloggers” (and dads too) are still standing, then who will be writing about the “Fall of Traditional Media.” BLOGGERS.

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  48. dategirl

    March 15, 2010

    I think maybe people are jealous of the fact that you've figured out how to have your cake and eat it too. You get to be home with your families, instead of plugging away at some crap corporate job and missing out on all the special moments. The lucky few who are making money in this industry are damn smart cookies, and should be praised! It's like my own Mommy used to say, “they're just jealous of you baby”.

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  49. Kelly from KellysLuckyYou

    March 15, 2010

    Well said! I linked to you in my post (http://kellysluckyyou.blogspot.com/2010/03/now-…) I hope the media will listen to viewpoints like yours.

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  50. Joanne Bamberger aka PunditMom

    March 16, 2010

    You have written wonderfully what I have been doing a slow boil over for so many years. I, too, spent many years in broadcast journalism and, after years as an attorney, returned to freelance journalism. There is no question from my experience, both before and after becoming a mother, that there is serious bias against mothers everywhere and nothing is going to change that until women become the ones leading major news organizations and corporations.

    This isn't just about mom bloggers, or whatever we choose to call ourselves. This is absolutely about how mothers and mothering are portrayed and viewed in our society. The only reminder I need about that is how Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin were treated and written about during the 2008 campaign.

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  51. lynn

    March 17, 2010

    I know engaging with hateful, crazy people is often a mistake, but seriously, why aren't more people commenting on the motherlode blog? It's ridiculous. It has become more and more obvious that it has almost nothing to do with blogs for some people, but is about attacking women, or mothers, and more specifically SAHMs (but oh, b/c they attack wahms, and are all the same…cue polarized pointless debate between the two). I wasn't aware that all blogs were written by SAHMs (ha) but whatever. I think so many people here could throw up some witty comments to easily tear down the posturing, yet few have. It's so depressing to see so many attacks.

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  52. @marymac

    March 18, 2010

    Excellent, excellent piece.
    It's all about the $$ and mainstream media can't stand the fact that 'mommybloggers' might get some of it from advertisers. Really? They should be HIRING us to write for their online editions. They would, if they'd acknowledge that online news is the future and not an aside to their print editions, which get more expensive every day.
    I was a print media writer for over a decade, too, before I began using blogging as a venue. So I still use the word 'journalist' for myself because of the negative connotation 'mommyblogger' now has. I'm sick to death of the condescension (in the case of the NYT I agree with Jen from hipasiwannabe.com that it was MORE about the headline and the graphic than the piece itself) and I applaud you for bringing the issue to the forefront and covering the issue so thoroughly! Bravo.

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  53. Martin

    April 3, 2010

    Heard on twitter: “I'm coining a new word. Doocebaggery: when all the mommy bloggers create a huge drama out of minutiae and go apeshit on each other.”

    Ha ha ha ha

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  54. Sheds

    June 7, 2010

    I have two points of view on this. The first is that it is an absolute load of rubbish. What is a mommy blogger anyway? I women with kids who works online? I dont know. I know some very successful women who are online marketers. My second viewpoint is that maybe if you didn't publicize these articles they wouldn't write about it. If no-one reads the articles or if it is simply ignored they will become sick of beating the topic to death.

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  55. sheds

    June 29, 2010

    It is an interesting read and how dares anyone questioning moms bloging I had to read the entire article to fully understand what was going on…Lot of mums I know of make a great leaving online so I am a little lost on this one…
    Regards,
    Chris Absco

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  56. Online Marketing

    September 1, 2010

    I am trusting the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your fanciful writing abilities has inspired me to start my own blog now.
    Search Engine Marketing

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  57. shed plans

    December 15, 2010

    Pretty excellent post and valid points. Maybe they're just jealous of your success.

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  58. Lori Wilcox

    December 29, 2010

    I think you are reading into the NY Times article a little too much. Although, I will agree that Blogging in general is under attack by mainstream media.

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  59. Markj

    August 17, 2011

    the problem with blogging is the digital footprint it leaves behind. Imagine your every thought to be immortalised !

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  60. Pamelaadeljah

    August 30, 2011

    Thank you for writing this post. What moms blog about is important and we know better than anyone what we want to read. The more they try to talk bad about us or down play our jobs the more they only draw attention to us. I mean if we don’t matter how did we become a matter for them to report as news worthy? 

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  61. Seo Services London

    September 2, 2011

    This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the
    best bloggers I ever saw.Thanks for posting this informative article.
    Seo Services London
     

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  7. Honey, Don’t Bother The Gray Lady. She’s Busy Angering Mommybloggers. | Strollerderby03-15-10
  8. What Kathryn Bigelow can teach us “mommy” bloggers — Self-Made Mom03-15-10
  9. An Open Letter to the New York Times About Mom Bloggers, Women Writers & the Universe | Moms Who Blog03-15-10
  10. What is the best way to start a fire for a copper fire pit? | Clay Fire Pit03-15-10
  11. — MammaLoves03-15-10
  12. Does the world see moms the same way the New York Times does? | PhD in Parenting03-15-10
  13. That NY Times Article « Punky Mama03-15-10
  14. Bette Nesmith Graham, Mommy Bloggers and the NY Times | The Smart Mama03-16-10
  15. Does the world see moms the same way the New York Times does? | Moms Who Blog03-16-10
  16. Branding and how the New York Times got it wrong « Eat, Drink and Be Mommy03-16-10
  17. Some suggestions for getting the New York Times to listen | Moms Who Blog03-16-10
  18. Mom bloggers upset about media coverage – Talk And Squawk - Wilmington Star News - Wilmington, NC - Archive03-16-10
  19. Mommies, Bloggers, Fashion, and the New York Times: Perspective and is it 2010 or 1910? | Jenny On the Spot: Caffeinated mom, lover of dancing, glitter and glitter.03-16-10
  20. Mommies, Bloggers, Fashion, and the New York Times: Perspective and is it 2010 or 1910? | Moms Who Blog03-16-10
  21. When in doubt, reignite Mommy wars - Team Gray!03-16-10
  22. MrBaxta.com » Brand Seppuku and The New York Times03-17-10
  23. A mommy blogger’s unpopular opinion on The New York Times article | Country-Fried Mama03-17-10
  24. Darryle Pollack: Timely Click: It’s Mommy Time(s)03-17-10
  25. Darryle Pollack: Timely Click: It’s Mommy Time(s) | Best Breaking News03-17-10
  26. Yeah, I’m Actually In THAT New York Times Article… AND I Have An Opinion On It | Hip As I Wanna Be03-18-10
  27. What’s on the Radar | Frugal Upstate03-19-10
  28. The NY Times Just Did Mom Bloggers A Favor…and Opened a Pandora’s Box | The Professional Family Manager05-08-10
  29. blogging tips from expert bloggers - New York Times vs SITS | AspiringFEMpreneur05-26-10
  30. Mommy-Blogging: Bad For The Kids, But GREAT For Their Future Therapists (‘Cause, You Know, Mommy’s Crazy Is All Out There For The Blaming – Plus, the NYT Said So) «08-06-10
  31. Episode 7: In Defense of the Mommy Blogger |09-14-10
  32. Podcast Episode 7: In Defense of the Mommy Blogger10-02-10
  33. Mom 2.0: Blogging in the new age for Cyber moms - Online Conference On Networks and Communities04-24-11
  34. garmin 149007-21-11

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