Hopkinton parents Kirk and Laurie Davis purchased what became baystateparent in June 2002. The parents of a son, with a daughter on the way, the Davises longed to own a parenting magazine that would be a blend of their personal and professional ambitions. Today the father of two teens — and a 20-year-old magazine — looks back at the past 14 years, as well as the changes along the way.
1. Twenty is a big milestone. What springs to mind when you think “20” and “baystateparent”?
What springs to mind is the fact that I have had the privilege of owning the magazine for 14 of its 20-year run. I have been in publishing all of my life. Nothing I’ve done quite compares to the pride and joy I’ve derived from helping to guide parents and families, and share their stories
2. When did you first see the magazine, then known as Today’s Parent, and what made you think, “I want to buy that magazine!”
I became aware of Today’s Parent in 2001. It was shortly after I acquired the wonderful weekly newspaper, The Landmark, which is based in Holden. I desired to build a small, high-quality, local publishing company, and thought that the parenting magazine would be a great fit.
3. Eighteen months after you bought the magazine, you changed its name. Why did you decide to make the change and how did you decide on baystateparent?
In 2002, there was already a proliferation of parenting publications and online sites. I wanted to make sure that the magazine identified with a geographic region. I wanted to emphasize that we were focused on families in Massachusetts and their stories.
4. baystateparent has a noted and long-standing commitment to covering adoption, but readers may not know why. Why is continued coverage of adoption important to you and the magazine?
As I was going through the process to acquire the magazine, my wife and I were also going through the process of adopting our daughter. At one point, I had reviewed over 50 parenting publications from across the country. I was surprised that so little attention was given to educating, inspiring, and celebrating adoptive families and children. Acquiring the magazine coincided with our journey to adopt our daughter, Skylar. So, as I noted that coverage of the adoption community was thin or nonexistent in most regional parenting publications, I wanted to change that. When you become part of the adoption community, you learn how large it is and how many resources are available throughout the region to guide families through the process. We are blessed to be adoptive parents, and felt we had a wonderful opportunity before us to shine a light on the many families that grow through adoption.
5. What has surprised you most about the magazine over the years?
There are two things that come to mind. First, that I haven’t outgrown my passion for the magazine, despite the fact that my kids are now teenagers. Also, the magazine clearly resonates most with expectant and new parents, which means we are always attracting a new audience.
6. Family life has changed dramatically over the past two decades. What do you think are the most critical issues affecting families today?
One that comes to mind is how families stay “connected.” Technology is clearly changing our culture as everyone in the home spends increasingly more time technologically connected to everything else, making it harder for families to enjoy consistent quality time and conversation. We all face that. Of course, violence and safety concerns in society are more commonly and vividly known and shared as a result of technology, too. It’s important to work hard at ensuring there is consistent quality time to discuss things. I’m no parenting expert, but I’m living this. Keep the conversations going — on all things that are important in your child’s life. And look over their shoulder…
7. Just like the magazine has grown, your children have grown from toddlers to teens. How has parenting changed for you over the years?
I think the safety of our kids has become a larger issue and concern. A little adversity is great, but I worry about everything and it is very difficult to let them go. So the discussions and lessons about things that I believe could help and protect them are on the rise — everyday. I don’t want them to take their own safety for granted.
8. What’s next for baystateparent?
The next 20 years! Bringing all the tools available to provide an even greater resource to families. To keep telling the story of people’s lives here in Massachusetts. It’s a great place to live and raise a family. That’s our beat and we’re ready to take our mission to the next level. Thanks for supporting our mission.