The image of our older generations depicted in the media is often negative, so to right this, an initiative was birthed to honour media agencies who refute stereotype. We at TBS wholeheartedly agree, with our team ranging from 22 to 81!
I would hazard a guess that if you watched television you would see older people shown as greying retirees who want a great deal on funeral insurance or more sensitive toothpaste for their dentures. I would also hazard a guess that if you read the paper you would be told about how older people, by selfishly living longer, are bankrupting future generations or making it harder for first home buyers to enter the market.
Sadly, this is how older people are too often portrayed in the media. This inaccurate portrayal negatively impacts the way people, the community and employers view our aged generations.
This, in turn, has the potential to affect things like the level of employment for older people. Employers might be perturbed from hiring older people for fear they don’t know how to turn on an iPad or work a computer.
We need to get rid of out-dated ideas about ageing. We need to realise that how people aged 10, 20 or 50 years ago is not how people age today. Older people today are the healthiest, wealthiest and most active than ever before. They are living longer and better than their parents or their parents’ parents.
It is clear then that the media plays an important role in shaping or influencing the public’s perception of older people and ageing in general.
To that end, the NSW Ministerial Advisory Committee on Ageing (MACA), the peak advisory body to the NSW Government on all matters related to ageing, has developed a new initiative.
The inaugural NSW MACA Media Awards will celebrate and recognise excellence in reporting on ageing. Importantly, the Awards are an amazing opportunity for members of the public and media to celebrate news or media that challenges negative stereotypes towards older people.
The Awards will help change public opinion, and hopefully, reduce ageism in the community.
Nominations are now open for news, current affairs, health and lifestyle, advertising and photos. They can come from newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, blogs, websites or YouTube.
All nominations will be judged by a panel of experts in the field of journalism. The winner will then be announced at an awards ceremony later in 2016. Nominations close at 5:00pm on Wednesday 31 August 2016, and must be submitted online through the SmartyGrants portal.
So if you have read, watched or heard a story that you think hits the mark – depicting older people and or ageing as it truly is – then I would encourage you to nominate.
John Ajaka is NSW Minister for Ageing