Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Gannett Task Force: Better Keep the Boomers Happy

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Gannett Task Force: Better Keep the Boomers Happy

Article excerpt

Gannett, which was the first major newspaper chain to systematically overhaul its papers' online operations with the 24-hour Information Centers on each Web site, is not ignoring its print products either. In fact, the company is guiding its papers to maintain a strong print approach for baby boomers and senior citizens.

In 2007, a Gannett task force that studied the wants and needs of readers 40 and older distributed a report chainwide that offered specific ideas, suggestions and, in some cases, warnings about how to handle this most loyal and largest readership group. "The future of print within the next five years hinges firmly on our ability to satisfy newspaper readers over the age of 40 -- primarily baby boomers," the report states. "Because they're the ones most inclined to be regular newspaper readers."

Among the findings were 10 "primary newspaper recommendations" for keeping and attracting these 40-plus readers.

The study found:

Hard news and local news remain the papers' greatest strengths, and boomers' top news priorities. If editors are forced to cut content, these should "remain untouched."

Keep the newspaper "essentially in its traditional form."

Establish in each market which baby boomer segments to pursue. "There are distinct differences within this generation."

Provide comprehensive lists of places to go, things to do, and leisure information. Day trips, travel, movie and restaurant reviews, book reviews, and cooking "are important to boomers."

These suggestions and others were the result of reviews of numerous market research studies, interviews with researchers, and a survey of 115 Gannett newspaper readers across different markets. …

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