Richard Eisenberg is Marc’s expert guest in this episode. Richard is the Managing Editor for PBS’s Baby Boomer website, NextAvenue.org, a site for people 50-plus, and Editor of the site’s Work & Purpose and Money & Security channels. He previously worked at Money Magazine, Yahoo, Good Housekeeping, and USA Today. He is the author of How to Avoid a Midlife Financial Crisis, and The Money Book of Personal Finance. Richard lives in New Jersey, and will be 61 in July.
Marc and Richard start the discussion with Richard’s career history, how he heard about Next Avenue, how he got involved, and what were the attractors that brought him to work for a virtual company starting in his mid-fifties. Richard comments on some of the issues faced by the fifty-to-seventy demographic, and what Next Avenue is doing to educate and inform about these challenges of mature life. Richard tells of the surprises, mostly pleasant he found at Next Avenue.
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[2:43] Richard became a journalist because he is curious. He likes to learn things, and relate them to other people.
[3:06] NextAvenue.org is a website by the public television station of Minneapolis-St. Paul, TPT. Next Avenue was the idea of Jim Pagliarini, TPT President and CEO. Jim researched for seven years how PBS could serve Boomers, as they had served children with Sesame Street. He settled on a website. Richard helped launch it in May, 2012.
[4:50] Richard decides which pieces to publish and when to publish them. He maintains the home page and copy edits all the articles on the site, which includes new content every day. His main job is editing two of the five channels — Money & Security, and Work & Purpose. He also assists with the other three channels.
[6:10] Next Avenue has developed in five years. Based on the economy, there is less concern now over major layoffs and “Will I ever get hired?” The audience has grown, and they give feedback. Partner companies republish some Next Avenue articles.
[7:58] Gen X people are moving into the 50-and-older group, and the site writes now for Boomers and Gen Xers. The content is targeted to people in their 50s and 60s. In the years to come, Richard sees the groups becoming more educated about age-related topics, so Next Avenue will go into more detail beyond the basics in articles.
[9:12] Marc has also pivoted his site to address Gen Xers in the second half of life. Some Boomers are 70-plus, crossing the demographic boundary.
[9:30] Richard was referred to the site as it was launching, and he wanted to be part of a startup, where he could write again. The role and the opportunity were right for him. He had spent his career doing service journalism, and this site was for his own age group.
[11:19] Next Avenue is a virtual operation, headquartered in St. Paul, Minn. There are about nine people who work on the site full-time, in various cities. A lot of the articles are written by freelance writers or by the editors, or are excerpts from books.
[12:24] Next Avenue gets between one and two million visitors a month. This is from five years of publishing. Richard would like more people to know about it, and read the articles.
[13:25] Marc joined the Next Avenue Facebook group in 2011. From there, he met someone who introduced him to Richard. Marc and Richard were in the same graduating class at Northwestern, but never knew each other, in their separate majors.
[14:23] Richard enjoys learning new things every day about his channel areas, and about the other channels, which he might not read if he didn’t work there. He likes to be able to talk to people that are the smartest people in the areas of the site channels, to pick their brains, and also to read the latest research.
[15:16] Richard’s readers are more upbeat, positive, and resilient than he might have expected, even in view of serious challenges of employment and health. They tell how they’ve managed to survive in spite of the challenges. People are hopeful, and willing to do what they need to do.
[17:20] If you have hope, you will likely get through it. The internet is allowing us to learn more, through other people who have gone through these challenges in the past. One of Richard’s big disappointments is with people knowing what to do, but not doing it, such as saving for retirement.
[18:40] The reality is the environmental change isn’t slowing down, it’s speeding up. We need to adapt. It’s a lot harder to do than it sounds. If you’re not preparing yourself for the things that you need, it will be even harder when the time comes, to do something.
[21:06] Marc’s final words: NextAvenue.org is not just a website, it is a community to go to for inspiration. Marc would like you to pick up Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide to the Second half of Life, at Amazon or other online retailers. When you complete reading the book, Marc would appreciate an honest review on Amazon.com.
Mentioned in This Episode:
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LinkedIn: Richard Eisenberg
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