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"Influencers in Aging" and Next Avenue

The millennial creator of an intergenerational networking platform. The communications professional who launched a phone-based check-in service connecting isolated LGBTQ older adults. The physician who ensured age equity in COVID-19 vaccine trials. The cultural anthropologist who penned "the next boomer bible." The government official tasked with retooling Social Security for the future.

These are five of the 194 remarkable individuals recognized annually since 2015 by the PBS media outlet for people 50+, Next Avenue, as "Influencers in Aging:" People who, in myriad ways, are driving change in how Americans approach growing older. Each annual Influencers in Aging list also serves as a snapshot of the priorities, concerns, opportunities and sensibilities most relevant at that particular moment in time for the generations of 50+ people, as determined by Next Avenue's editors and the general public.

"The annual Influencers in Aging project allows us to highlight people who are reinventing the path to getting older. Taken together each year, they also represent the issues that are front-of-mind for those fifty and beyond," said Richard Eisenberg, managing editor, who directs the Influencers in Aging process.

On December 7, 12 more leaders and innovators will be recognized when the Next Avenue Influencers in Aging 2021 list is announced.

About the Influencers in Aging

Influencers in Aging bring solutions, innovation, inspiration and big thinking to understanding and redefining how Americans are growing older. Those chosen have come from all over the world and are diverse in terms of race, culture, community, age and area of expertise. They're household names and people next door. Influencers in Aging have been advocates, researchers, thought leaders, writers, educators and everyday people; the common thread is their success at bringing new ideas and breaking new ground.

Choosing the annual Influencers in Aging list is a year-long effort. Through their work, Next Avenue editors continually note changing trends, emerging issues, evolving public curiosity and reader feedback while watching for individuals who capture and address these shifting national interests. In the spring, nominations open to the public as well. Editors review all submissions over the summer, add their own candidates and make the final selections in the fall. The class of 2021 will include both editor and audience nominations.

About Next Avenue

Launched in 2012 by Twin Cities PBS in St. Paul, Minn., Next Avenue has grown to become the premier national source of high-quality content and community for older Americans.

The award-winning Next Avenue website is a daily news and information destination with original content spanning its five channels: Health, Living, Money & Policy, Work & Purpose and Caregiving. Led by a team of experienced journalists with contributions from experts and freelance writers, NextAvenue.org published more than 800 articles in 2020. Although most coverage is aimed at those 50+, it regularly features stories about intergenerational realities and offers practical information for the parents and adult children of its readers.

Next Avenue has reached more than 80 million people through its multiple platforms: The website has nearly 800,000 unique monthly visitors around the world, more than 100,000 newsletter subscribers and nearly 200,000 followers on social media. The audience is as engaged and motivated as it is deep. In annual reader surveys, more than 70% of respondents say Next Avenue is personally important to them and 97% have taken an action based on its content. Hundreds of comments from readers are submitted monthly, many inspiring coverage and generating guest commentaries.  Among 2020's special initiatives were "Still Here, Still Positive," a series on how the first generation of Americans with HIV/AIDS are aging and "Telling Our Stories," 12 original written and audio essays by readers reflecting on the pandemic's first year. 

In addition to its own digital channels, Next Avenue content is distributed through leading news and business media outlets including Forbes, PBS NewsHour and MarketWatch.

In 2020, the brand explored new areas. As a diversion during the pandemic, it launched Next Avenue Arts Learning Courses, a series of mini-guides to performance, jewelry-making, photography and poetry. It also produced a comprehensive digital toolkit for Fast-Forward, a 2021 PBS documentary following four families through an "aging bootcamp" to understand future-planning. In partnership with FLX Entertainment, the film's producer, Next Avenue created a suite of resources including email courses, a master checklist of planning steps, task lists and how-to guides.

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