America is in the midst of an age boom. The 50+ population in America has grown from 74 million in 1999 to more than 99 million today, and is projected to be 127 million in 2030. While part can be attributed to the sheer size of the boomer demographic, part is due to a dramatic increase in longevity ““ at the beginning of the 20th century, life expectancy was 49 years, and today it tops more than 80 years.
In response, the PBS system introduces Next Avenue, an extensive new website. Designed to meet the needs and the potential of this age boom, Next Avenue will engage, inspire and inform the more than 100 million people who are transitioning into what many see as a new life stage in human development ““ a stage between young adulthood and “old old.”
Next Avenue is tailored to engage the 50+ population and help them plan for these “bonus years” as the most comprehensive, accessible, intelligent, and thought-provoking daily stop for this growing audience.
“We are literally seeing a new life stage emerge in America, and like with any transition, people need trustworthy information and perspective to plan for and navigate it,” said Jim Pagliarini, president and CEO of Twin Cities Public Television (tpt). “These are the people we already talk to ““ PBS reaches 59 percent of the 50+ population every month on television. It’s a natural online extension for us. This initiative will help those of us in our 50+ years shape the most meaningful and vibrant life possible.”
The Next Avenue website, nextavenue.org, will provide visitors with in-depth content that the organization creates with its own editorial team, as well as aggregates and commissions from expert sources. The site focuses on topics people may experience differently because of their stage in life, including health, finances, work, leisure and caregiving. The content comes from four major sources:
Contributors: Top experts and leading journalists will create original content designed to suit Next Avenue’s mission of providing inspiration, advice and perspective.
o Led by Senior Editor Richard Eisenberg, the Money & Security and Work & Purpose channels offer perspectives and advice for achieving financial well-being, maximizing present careers and preparing for meaningful new work. Contributors include Chris Farrell, Financial Editor for NPR’s Marketplace Money, Pension Research Council Executive Director Olivia Mitchell, Encore.org’s Marc Freedman, and journalists specializing in personal finances and careers, including Kerry Hannon, Caroline Mayer, Ben Popken, Catey Hill, and Gwen Moran.
o Led by Senior Editor Gary Drevitch, the Health & Well-Being and Caregiving sections will feature John Sharp, a Harvard University neuropsychiatrist; Pauline Boss of the University of Minnesota, a pioneer in the field of stress reduction for family caregivers; Margaret Morganroth Gullette of Brandeis University, a nationally-recognized authority on aging in American culture; and Sherri Snelling, a nationally recognized expert on America’s 65 million family caregivers.
o Led by Senior Editor Suzanne Gerber, the Living & Learning channel includes content focused on the home, arts, travel, family and relationships, spirituality, arts and entertainment, technology, personal reinvention and more. It will include contributions from marriage expert Terri Orbuch, PhD.; a founding editor of Ms. magazine, Suzanne Braun Levine; home and design author Akiko Busch; family relationship author Francine Russo; architect and author Michael Litchfield; cookbook author and chef Joanna Pruess; former New York Times gardening columnist Leslie Land; technology authority Simon Munk; travel expert Stephanie Oswald (“travelgirl”); and former People magazine film critic Leah Rozen.
Public media: As a PBS system product, Next Avenue will provide a wealth of video and public television personalities on the site, such as the PBS NewsHour and Rick Steves, host of the popular travel show, “Rick Steves Europe.” In addition, PBS stations throughout the country will provide relevant local information on “localized” sites that specifically address community needs and interests. PBS stations will also help ensure their audience knows this online resource is available.
Formal relationships with reliable sources: Deep content will come from Next Avenue’s formal relationships with key public and non-profit organizations that have a wealth of well-researched and trusted information. These organizations include the Administration on Aging, Encore.org and Civic Ventures, Family Caregiver Alliance, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Leading Age, National Council on Aging, National Endowment for Financial Education, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, and SCORE.
The Next Avenue editorial team: An in-house staff will create original content designed to suit Next Avenue’s mission of providing inspiration, advice and perspective to help grownups keep growing. With this dedicated staff, Next Avenue can better develop its exclusive offerings and respond to visitors’ needs and feedback. The editorial team is led by Donna Sapolin, Next Avenue’s Vice President and Editorial Director, who brings three decades of experience in both print and online journalism. Sapolin served as editor-at-large of the multi-media enterprise FLYP, editor in chief of This Old House magazine and design and style editor of Food and Wine magazine, among others.
“Our experienced editorial team and the variety of contributors and content is designed to offer Next Avenue visitors new perspectives and ways of thinking about their futures,” said Judy Diaz, Next Avenue president. “The 50+ demographic is huge, diverse and influential, and Next Avenue will give them the tools they need to enrich their lives and confidently plan for their futures.”
Next Avenue is led by Twin Cities Public Television (tpt) in partnership with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), American Public Television (APT) and PBS stations nationwide, Major funding provided by grants from The Atlantic Philanthropies, the General Mills Foundation, Medtronic Foundation and others.