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Former Times reporter’s Time cover story gets national attention

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A former Watertown Daily Times reporter is getting national attention over her Time magazine story on attachment parenting — and its controversial cover photo showing a woman breastfeeding her 3-year-old son.

“We’re really glad people are responding,” said Kate Pickert, an Adams native who worked for the newspaper in 2001 and 2002.

Time’s May 21 cover, released Thursday, shows Jamie Lynne Grumet, 26, a stay-at-home mom in Los Angeles, breastfeeding her son under the headline, “Are You Mom Enough?”

The image has caused a stir over the past couple of days, leading to several interview requests for Ms. Pickert, other Time staffers and Mrs. Grumet, who says her mother breastfed her until she was 6 years old. The South Jefferson High School graduate was even interviewed for Friday’s edition of the ABC television news show “Nightline.”

“It gives you an appreciation for what other people feel like when you interview them,” Ms. Pickert said.

The writer, who has worked at Time since 2008, said magazine executives had expected the photograph to elicit some controversy. They hoped the attention would translate to more readers for the story, a profile of attachment parenting guru Dr. Bill Sears titled “The Man Who Remade Motherhood,” she said.

“The point of the cover is to point attention to the story inside,” Ms. Pickert said.

Dr. Sears, who 20 years ago wrote one of the attachment parenting movement’s bibles, “The Baby Book,” encourages extended breastfeeding, sleeping with children and baby “wearing” through slings, among other things.

“I think he’s a very important cultural figure,” Ms. Pickert said.

The writer, who now lives in Brooklyn, said she spent about two months researching the story, which included spending two days with Dr. Sears in southern California, speaking with him by telephone on other occasions and interviewing numerous mothers around the country who practice his parenting theories.

“He has a real following,” she said.

The cover photo notwithstanding, Ms. Pickert said she believes the story is engendering so much discussion because of its subject matter.

“Parenting is one of the things where everyone has an opinion,” she said.

While the attachment parenting story is getting a lot of attention, Ms. Pickert said the nice thing about working at a weekly magazine is that the focus Monday will shift to the next issue.

“We still have to put out another magazine next Thursday,” she said.

Ms. Pickert said she regularly writes about national health care policy and politics, so her focus will be primarily on the Affordable Care Act, also referred to as ObamaCare, and the presidential election.

A graduate of the University at Buffalo and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Ms. Pickert primarily covered the Carthage area during her tenure at the Watertown Daily Times. Following her time at the newspaper, she worked at New York magazine and spent some time in Mexico City and Los Angeles as a freelance writer.

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