What Do Kids’ Books Teach Us About the Future of Journalism?

I may read most of my news online, but I still get a print newspaper delivered to my doorstep everyday. I have lots of reasons for doing this but mostly I do it support local journalists and to have journalism be a visible presence for my kids.

At any given point we have a few days’ newspapers lying around the house, along with a few magazines we still subscribe to. The kids see an interesting picture or headline that captures their attention. It sparks conversation, makes them curious about their community and the world around us. We’ll often go from discussing an article in the paper, to looking up something on YouTube and reading more about it online. So I’m not opposed to screens in any way, but I do appreciate the serendipity and spontaneity the physical paper provides.

It is also a way for my kids to understand first-hand the work I do every day on press freedom and media policy.

I’m lucky that my kids are voracious readers and are drawn to anything that has words on it. In the piles of children’s books around our house I began noticing that a lot of them depicted newspapers. I decided to document representations of newspapers and journalism in kids’ books we owned.

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Headache Versus Heartache

For all its joys, parenting can be painful. After the birth of my two sons, who are three and a half years apart, I went through very different kinds of pain. The pain that accompanied my first son was very physical, whereas the experience of my second son has been much more emotionally challenging. Even now, after a few months of being a family of four, I’m still struck by the dynamic between these two types of pain.  Continue reading

The Highs and Lows of Parenthood

Flipping through the journal that my wife and I wrote in while she was pregnant, I stumbled on a entry I wrote almost exactly a year ago and was struck by how appropriate it is to this moment. At that point my wife was nearing the end of her first trimester, now my son is five months old. Here is what I wrote:

Today is perhaps the most beautiful day since we found out we are pregnant. The spring has been manic — in both the pace of our lives and in terms of the weather. As Erica and I have see-sawed between successes and challenges at work and at home, the weather has swung, pendulum-like between frigid rainy gray and steamy bright sun.

Today however, the see-saw seems to have slowed, balancing at level, evenly perched, and the pendulum has settled at the midpoint of its wide arch. This past week has been a microcosm of the entire spring, with highs and lows at work, but towards the end of the week, like a raging stream emptying gently into the ocean, this week has slowed and deposited us here, like silt, forming new land.

The sky is almost too blue, with enormous white clouds accenting the horizon. In the sun it is almost too hot but in the shade, where we are sitting now under a maple tree, the air is cool and the breeze glides by.

Today, this moment makes all the highs and lows worthwhile. This is the kind of day that couldn’t exist without the extremes that preceded it, because those extremes are what make the simple joy of this moment possible.

And I guess that is what I want to say about parenthood. A reminder of sorts. With this new life, this new adventure, there will be highs and lows. We should not despair during he difficult times, nor should we always strive towards the high points. For the most part both are fleeting. But in between there is an incredible depth of beauty and peace. Continue reading