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AETN brings Arkansas Boomers Next Avenue website

Expansive online initiative provides expertise from contributors, public media, trustworthy sources on aging

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) has launched Next Avenue, an extensive PBS system website designed to meet the needs and the potential of the state’s 50-plus population.

America is in the midst of an age boom. The 50-plus population in America has grown from 74 million in 1999 to more than 99 million and is projected to reach 127 million in 2030. While this can partly be attributed to the sheer size of the boomer demographic, it is also partly due to a dramatic increase in longevity – at the beginning of the 20th century, life expectancy was 49 years. Today it exceeds more than 80 years.

In response to this dramatic change, Next Avenue was created to 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.” The website is tailored to be the most comprehensive, accessible, intelligent and thought-provoking daily stop for a growing audience planning for their “bonus years.”

AETN is one of 73 Next Avenue affiliates. When area users log on to aetn.org/nextavenue, local information will be integrated within the site on the home page.

“AETN is very excited to be one of the first public media stations in the nation to be participating in Next Avenue,” AETN Executive Director Allen Weatherly said. “There is no doubt that this online portal will be extremely valuable for Arkansans, and we are thrilled that we will be able to join forces with Next Avenue to provide content specific for our state, in addition to programming from AETN.

"I strongly believe this is an invaluable addition to our ongoing mission in education at AETN, which is truly a place where learning never ends."

The Next Avenue website will provide visitors with in-depth content that the organization creates with its own editorial team, as well as information aggregated and commissioned 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. From perspectives and advice for achieving financial well-being, maximizing present careers and preparing for meaningful new work to content focused on the home, arts, travel, family and relationships, spirituality, arts and entertainment, technology, personal reinvention and more, there’s something for everyone.
  • 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 that specifically address community needs and interests.
  • 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," Judy Diaz, Next Avenue president, said. "The 50-plus 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.

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