About the Age Boom Academy

The Age Boom Academy was conceived by Robert N. Butler and Jack Rosenthal and launched in 2000 as an intensive seminar for journalists, editors, and producers in all media — print, on air and online.  A joint program of the Columbia Aging Center and the Columbia Journalism School, the Age Boom Academy is a forum in which to educate journalists about the complex health, social, and economic issues facing our aging population. Nearly 200 journalists have participated in one or more of the annual Age Boom Academies since its inception.

Bringing together the resources of a top-tier research university, the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center uniquely incorporates a range of disciplines from the medical sciences to urban planning to architecture, including the humanities and the social sciences in between, to study and better understand the aging process and its societal implications.

With a focus on the continuous interaction between biological, behavioral, and sociocultural factors, the Center and its faculty encourage innovative disciplinary and multidisciplinary research, support rigorous academic training and forge corporate partnerships while providing policy advice and engaging in community outreach.

Purpose 

The concept behind this groundbreaking series of workshops for journalists is to provide an intensive seminar to deepen understanding of the health, economic, and social issues around aging.

Age Boom Academy Fellows participate in high-impact courses on targeted topics to make reporting easier.  Led by leading experts in the field, the courses are a resource for journalists who are covering a complex and interconnected field.  After the Academy, leaders often continue to serve as resources for Academy alumni in their aging-related reporting.  Fellows have the opportunity to brainstorm story ideas with colleagues from print, radio, video, and online media.  Alumni continue to collaborate with and support one another after the Academy, sharing story ideas and resources.

History and Mission

For the last 16 years, the Age Boom Academy has served as a forum to educate journalists about the complex health, social, and economic issues that our society of longer lives faces.  Some 200 journalists have participated in one or more of the annual Academies since its inception.  The Academy was founded by Jack Rosenthal, then-president of The New York Times Company Foundation, and the late Dr. Robert N. Butler, president of the International Longevity Center (ILC) and a globally recognized geriatric authority.  From two distinct perspectives, the founders shared concern about the superficiality of reporting on older adults, particularly as America’s Baby Boom generation approached retirement age.

In 2011, the International Longevity Center joined the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center.  Anchored at the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University, the Columbia Aging Center is an interdisciplinary hub for research, policy, and education on healthy aging.

Alumni of the program are a sophisticated press corps, covering the multifaceted topic from the full range of journalistic platforms: print, on air, and online.  Following the program each year, Age Boom alumni typically exchange information about sources and compare notes about how to frame the importance of the topic from the field for their editors and news directors.