Newspapers Pursue Older Audiences

by Kate Knable  on Monday, May. 28, 2012 12:00 am  

Mature Arkansas, the Arkansas Times’ newspaper for senior citizens, became a monthly publication as of the May issue.  

The Arkansas Times in Little Rock launched Mature Arkansas as a free weekly paper about six months ago, and Times publisher Alan Leveritt said the newspaper didn’t attract enough advertising for such frequent publishing. “There’s enough business here to make it as a monthly,” Leveritt said.

Mature Arkansas didn’t cut staff, but it also won’t need as big a freelance budget now, he said. The newspaper targets “active retirees” in Conway, Hot Springs, Hot Springs Village and across Pulaski County, Leveritt said.

Meanwhile, The Leader of Jacksonville this month launched Arkansas Aging, a statewide monthly newspaper geared toward the former audience of a publication, with a nearly identical title, that stopped printing in October.

The nonprofit Aging Arkansas Foundation oversaw the original publication, Aging Arkansas, until the organization lost federal funding for the paper.

The Arkansas Times hired Anne Wasson, who had been editor of Aging Arkansas for 24 years, to edit Mature Arkansas.

The Leader, which is a 25-year-old, twice-per-week newspaper, printed Aging Arkansas on its presses for about five years, Managing Editor Eileen Feldman said, so starting a new version seemed natural. Feldman edits both The Leader and Arkansas Aging.

“There was a gap there,” Feldman said, explaining The Leader’s interest in starting Arkansas Aging.  

Like the original Aging Arkansas — and unlike Mature Arkansas — Arkansas Aging will focus much of its content on health care information, Medicare and Medicaid. The new newsprint tabloid will be delivered to senior centers all around the state, and has an older target audience than Mature Arkansas has, Feldman said.

Unlike the original, Arkansas Aging is not a nonprofit, and The Leader is selling advertising to support it.

The Leader’s current staff generates content for Arkansas Aging. The Leader printed 25,000 copies of the first issue, and plans to keep circulation to about that number.

Garrick Feldman, publisher of The Leader, said the original sponsors of Aging Arkansas endorsed the new tabloid and helped get it into senior centers.



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