Ask Mar­i­lyn

Los Angeles Times - - PARADE - By Mar­i­lyn vos Sa­vant

Many news ar­ti­cles men­tion the age of the per­son in the story [as Pa­rade does], such as John Smith, 46, did such and such. Un­less it’s a story in which the age of the per­son is rel­e­vant, what is the pur­pose of this prac­tice? It’s never done on tele­vi­sion. —Ati Kovi, Po­tomac, Md. I think it’s just a long-stand­ing habit that arose from a de­sire to sat­isfy cu­ri­ous readers. Un­for­tu­nately, not­ing ages also pro­motes stereo­typ­ing be­cause peo­ple are so wildly dif­fer­ent. Imag­ine news sto­ries that rou­tinely added a per­son’s race and re­li­gion. Who would like that? Per­son­ally, I be­lieve that if a photo of the per­son ap­pears, the age of the per­son should not be men­tioned.

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