Magazine article Editor & Publisher

In Quest of Baby Boomers and Generation X: Larger Alternative Newspapers Are Said to Reach about 30% of Each of These Coveted Reader Categories

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

In Quest of Baby Boomers and Generation X: Larger Alternative Newspapers Are Said to Reach about 30% of Each of These Coveted Reader Categories

Article excerpt

Larger alternative newspapers are said to reach about 30% of each of these covered reader categories

Alternative newspapers have something that many in the mainstream press want: readers who are baby boomers and members of Generation X.

"Most of the bigger alternatives reach around 30% of the baby boomers in their market and a similar number of the so-called Generation X. These numbers have been relatively stable over the past few years and are climbing rather than falling" explained Ben Eason, editor and co-publisher of Creative Loafing in Tampa.

Based in Atlanta, the Creative Loafing Newspapers have combined revenues of some $10 million and a weekly circulation of 250,000.

Eason told the American Society of Newspaper Editors convention, "The three basic themes running through alternative newspapers are: a shared heritage of the counterculture of the sixties, a custom tailoring of newspapers to fit the lifestyles of these baby boomers, and a shared sense of passion and commitment in the writing."

Pointing out that the ASNE members' "newspapers were a part of these institutions that boomers rejected in the '60s", Eason said, "a trust was broken during this period between your newspapers and this generation and you have never really regained this trust....

Alternative and underground newspapers expressed the language of |do your thing,' and of the ideals of love, self-fulfillment, accommodation and freedom, while your newspapers spoke the language of order, structure and caution," he said. "You may find this to be a trivial point, but this generation looks carefully at the language to discern authenticity and commitment to the passion of the '60s."

Since music "remained the dominant carrier of cultural messages and themes," Eason said, the alternative newspapers "provided the forum for these activities in their calendar sections and in their articles. This reference information was far more central to boomers' lives than your newspapers imagined. This was more than just entertainment and leisure information - this was a search for meaning."

Pointing out that boomers feel entitled to their own products, including publications and reference guides, Eason told editors he cannot understand their "attempts to mix lifestyle choices to four different generations in a one-size-fits-all fashion that has been traditional to daily newspapers. …

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