"We are tired of the stereotyping of older people in the media and by brands that target us with outdated notions of what it means to grow older. We are not the wrinkly hand brigade. "
Bob Alston, Talking About My Generation editor,
A generation that claims to feel misrepresented by media and brands have launched their own news site - and are experiencing a spike in readership since lockdown began.
The Greater Manchester-based Talking About My Generation news site launched by and for the over 50s has grown its readership since the pandemic hit by reporting on stories that focus on how this age group is playing active roles in combatting the current Covid-19 crisis rather than being portrayed as victims.
Editor of the publication, Bob Alston, aged 66, said: “We are tired of the stereotyping of older people in the media and by brands that target us with outdated notions of what it means to grow older. We are not the wrinkly hand brigade, we are not Mr V. Angry who writes to the local paper complaining about wheelie bins, we are leading climate change campaigns, fighting for the rights of the LGBT community, enjoying Northern Soul nights, travelling across the world, propping up the volunteering world, drinking gin and playing footie with our mates.
“Lockdown has seen a spike in readership as we share experiences of how people are keeping mentally and physically well and supporting their communities. We have reported on positive news stories that are serving as an escapism from the depressing mainstream news agenda and we are interacting daily with our readers with quizzes, sharing memories of Mancunian music and culture.
“We’re sick and tired of our generation being labelled. Our news site celebrates our generation and the vibrant areas we represent from Oldham to Wigan and everything in between – that each have an identity of their own.”
Talking About My Generation news site – made up of 16 community reporters all over the age of 50 – came to life at the end of February this year – sharing news, views, and nostalgia from across the ten Greater Manchester boroughs.
The news team was created as part of an Ambition for Ageing funded project in 2019 led by social enterprise Yellow Jigsaw, who saw the potential in running the newsroom as an independent entity when funding ended in March.
It has now grown as its own brand with the online news website attracting almost 3000 monthly visitors since launching three months ago, a bi-monthly printed magazine, a monthly podcast, and a growing following on social media.
Kirsty Day, former MEN Media journalist of 12 years, who now runs social enterprise Yellow Jigsaw, alongside Grace Dyke, is supporting the news site, and says the news team themselves and the stories they report on are challenging stereotypes of the general public, mainstream media, and advertisers, to positively shape the perception of age through unapologetic representation.
She added: “So many news sites and social media channels want to identify with and wow Millennials and Gen Z, they seem to forget there are more than 20 million people aged over 50 in the UK that they are missing out on. It is a huge demographic of potential readers, who we believe have been misrepresented and under-represented in the media to date. We want to change that.
“And on top of the social mission to break ageing stereotypes, put an end to awful stock images and negative angles on news agendas – this age group are an advertising department’s dream, with the highest disposable income of any generation.”
For more information go to www.talkingaboutmygeneration.co.uk