I received this letter earlier today, and following it is my response. I put it here, because I want to know what YOU think. And did it offend you? How would you explain the teaser on the front to your child if she or he asked about it?
> I have been a reader of your publication "Birmingham Parent" since my family
> relocated to Alabama 7 years ago. I have always enjoyed your magazine. That
> until I picked up the October 2007 issue in the Pelham Public Library and was
> astonished to find on the front cover a reference for an article entitled
"Birth Control for Busy Moms."
> I am saddened and disappointed that a magazine that purports to be about
> parents, families, and children would actually have an article in it that is
> about birth control - much less to have it blatantly advertised on the front
> cover. You'd best hope that these "busy moms" don't take you too literally or
> there won't be much need for a publication aimed at parents. In addition to
> this most unbiblical article on birth control I find it disturbing that I now
> have to censor this magazine from my children. This I would expect from
> something trashy like "Cosmopolitan" or "The Enquirer" - but from "Birmingham
> Parent??" In case you are not aware - children as young as 1st and 2nd grade
> are more than capable of reading what is printed on your front cover. I don't
> really think I should have to try to explain to my 7 year old daughter what
> birth control is when we haven't even had the "birds & bees" talk yet. I find
> it truly appalling that you would take something as sacred and private as the
> marriage act to be the basis of one of your feature articles.
> I'm sorry to say that I won't be able to support your publication in the
> - nor the people who advertise in it. I'll be sure to let my friends know as
> well - in case they unwittingly pass by this magazine with their young
> in tow. In future, I sincerely hope you will be more careful about what you
> consider to be appropriate for your publication.
> Monica Duvall
Thank you for your honest opinion. I appreciate it very much. I am truly sorry
you were offended by the story in our Oct. issue. That is never our intent.
I am also sorry that you will let one story discourage you from picking up our
magazine again. If you use those standards with other publications, you will
probably not be able to read media including the newspaper or watch the news.
And you will always find things you disagree with, no matter what you read.
Our magazine has never been a children's magazine -- it is for parents, so we
try to offer subjects we believe our readers are interested in. I believe we
are an excellent local resource for parents -- but that is the point, it's for
parents. This topic was something that was proposed to us and some readers had
an interest in. I think it was handled tastefully, though it was definitely an
adult subject -- not a child's one. Just a year or so ago, we did a series on
online predators -- definitely NOT a subject for children to see or look at due
to the things we discussed, but still very important for PARENTS to know about.
I hope that your child did not read those stories, either.
I am so sorry if it caused a problem for you with your child. I do take to heart
your complaint, and we will reconsider the language we use on our cover in the
future. However, we have to present subjects of interest to the parents, so I
doubt that part of the process will change, though will we always try to provide
such subjects in a tasteful, considerate way.
Again, many thanks for making your opinion known.
Carol Muse Evans
Publisher, Birmingham Parent
Now, what do you think of the article? The reader's letter? Our response? We want to hear from you?