Age Boom Academy: Combatting Loneliness in Aging - Toward a 21st Century Blueprint for Societal Connectedness

Thursday, May 6, 2021 to Friday, June 11, 2021

Age Boom Academy 2021

The Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center and the Columbia School of Journalism will host the Age Boom Academy: "Combatting Loneliness in Aging: Toward a 21st Century Blueprint for Societal Connectedness" online this Spring. This signature press training program is co-led by Columbia faculty members Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH, and Bruce Shapiro. The call for applicants is open to staff journalists or editors working at radio or television outlets or for a major newspaper. Journalists may apply at: ageboom.columbia.edu. The deadline to apply is March 12, 2021.

Journalists will be convened with leading-edge loneliness and aging science researchers for an intensive series of online workshop sessions to learn how to effectively translate science into accessible reporting on the complex issues of the effects of loneliness and social isolation on health and in aging.

This project was made possible by a generous grant from RRF Foundation for Aging and a gift from the AARP Foundation. Our RFA is below and additional information may be found at: ageboom.columbia.edu.

 

JOURNALISTS: WE ARE SEEKING APPLICANTS TO OUR SIGNATURE PRESS TRAINING "THE AGE BOOM ACADEMY"

Over the course of four sessions in May-June 2021, the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center and the Columbia School of Journalism will host an online training for on-staff journalists known as the Age Boom Academy. The 2021 topic is "Combatting Loneliness in Aging: Toward a 21st Century Blueprint for Societal Connectedness."

If you are an on-staff journalist, apply to join this signature program co-led by Columbia faculty members Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH, and Bruce Shapiro with Caitlin Hawke. A selective process identifies Fellows who will then convene with researchers for an intensive multipart online workshop to learn how to effectively translate science into accessible reporting on the complex issues of the effects of loneliness and social isolation on health and in aging.

Why loneliness? There is evidence that loneliness has been escalating substantially and has emerged as a distinctly 21st century issue because for much of the latter part of the 20th century, we designed loneliness into our society. In the U.S. in the 1970s, 11-17% of Americans of middle age and older reported being lonely; in 2010 that had risen to 40%. And today?  A majority, or three in five Americans, reported feeling lonely in 2019. With Covid-19, the rates have increased dramatically.

The causes of loneliness vary by age group, but many of the reasons in aging are socially constructed: age-segregation, ageism, disconnection both within and across generations, exacerbated by the geographic dispersion of families and the tech divide. Loneliness is a painful subjective experience that has severe health, economic, and societal consequences. Our longer lives, our changing work environments, technology all contribute to loneliness at older ages. So, what if we could design loneliness out? What would the blueprint for societal connectedness be to combat loneliness in aging? 

During the Academy, journalist Fellows will learn about the causes and envision through sources the solutions by interviewing assembled scientists and experts, participating in story clinics led by researchers and senior journalists, having their story ideas critiqued by researchers and potential sources. Speakers to include experts like: Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH; Louise Hawkley, PhD; Tom Kamber, PhD; and Becca Levy, PhD; as well as many others. The training will include story clinics and breakouts with Bruce Shapiro, trainers from Solutions Journalism, and senior press members Rodney Brooks (formerly of the Washington Post), Rich Eisenberg (NextAvenue), Chris Farrell (Marketplace), Kerry Hannon (New York Times contributor), and Carol Hymowitz (formerly of Bloomberg News).

 

 

There is no cost for accepted Fellows to attend; full FAQ and application available at ageboom.columbia.edu.

Contact: Caitlin M. Hawke, Senior Science and Strategy Officer, Columbia Aging Center [email protected].

Funded by a generous grant from the RRF Foundation on Aging with additional support from the AARP Foundation.

 

 

 

Age Boom 2021 "Combatting Loneliness in Aging: Toward a 21st Century Blueprint for Societal Connectedness"

 

 

The 2021 Age Boom Academy Virtual Sessions are:

 

Pre-Academy Video Library 

Thursday, May 6, 5:30-7pm ET  -- Framing 

Friday, May 7, 9am-11am ET -- Root Causes and Kinds of Loneliness

Monday, May 10, 9am-11am ET -- Blueprint for a Solution: Building Cohesion Back In

May 10-June 11: Supported Story Incubation (as needed)

Friday, June 11, 9am-11am ET -- Showcasing Interventions

 

NB: Exact session times subject to slight changes

 

 

Apply by March 12, 2021 at: ageboom.columbia.edu