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Wisconsin Newspaper: No More Birth Announcements

wisconsin news paper no longer printing birth announcements
Photograph by Getty Images/iStockphoto

Announcing your new arrival in the local paper is every parent's first foray into the world of baby bragging. (OK, aside from those hundred or so Facebook photos you post before you even leave the hospital.) But for Madison, Wisc., residents, it looks like the next generation of babies won't get to see their name in print that early, after all; it seems the local State Journal has decided to do away with the practice altogether.

It all started with the two local hospitals: St. Mary's and Meriter both announced recently that they will stop providing information to the paper on newborns, for fear of prompting infant abductions. But without a trusted source like a hospital to turn to, the newspaper felt it couldn't very much rely on phone calls and emails to corroborate birth stories. And according to Phil Brinkman, an editor with the State Journal, the potential for "mischief" was just too great.

And Kathy Kostrivas, an assistant vice president for women's health services at Meriter Hospital, said that birth announcements merely "set people up as targets for somebody who might want to steal a baby."

Sound a bit paranoid? The story has been sparking a bit of a debate lately between those who find it a practical solution and those who find it just a tad over-the-top. Either way, it's not that unheard of; some birthing centers have actually moved away from this practice for some time now. According to the L.A. Times, all county hospitals in Orange County, Calif., have done away with the practice since 1994, for the very same reasons.

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