Stereotype smashing publication thrives during lockdown

The news site run by older people has seen a spike in readership by publishing positive stories of how people are keeping mentally and physically well and supporting their communities. Climate change campaigning, quizzes and gin are all part of the winning formula.

Talking About My Generation

A generation of people sick of being misrepresented in the mainstream media have seen their news site thrive during lockdown.

The Greater Manchester-based Talking About My Generation news site – launched by and for the over 50s – has experienced a spike in readership in lockdown as it reports on how this age group are playing active parts in combatting the current Covid-19 crisis rather than always being portrayed as victims.

“We are tired of the stereotyping of older people in the media, we are not the wrinkly hand brigade, we are not Mr V. Angry who writes to the local paper complaining about wheelie bins,” said Bob Alston, Editor of the publication.

“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, sharing daily interactions with our readers with quizzes, memories of favourite gigs and much more.

The 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.

“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,” said Bob.

The news team was created as part of an Ambition for Ageing funded project in 2019 led by social enterprise Yellow Jigsaw with support from regional AGE UKs.

Human Lending Library alumni Yellow Jigsaw 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. The team also produce a bi-monthly printed magazine and a monthly podcast, and have a loyal following on social media.

Grace Dyke, who runs Yellow Jigsaw with Kirsty Day, former MEN Media journalist, says the news team and the stories they produce challenge stereotypes believed by the general public, mainstream media and advertisers, to positively shape the perception of age through unapologetic representation.

“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,” said Grace.

“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.”

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