Ageism & Media

The Media and Ageism Project is a part of the SSM overall plan of Creating a Culture of Inclusion.

Older adults receive messages conveyed by society in many ways, including the news media. These messages reveal societal attitudes that have an effect on how older adults perceive themselves and their value within their communities. Positive perceptions tend to encourage people to be active and to lessen chances for being isolated.

The Media & Ageism committee coordinated research to determine how older adults are portrayed in Saskatchewan local news media. Volunteer monitors throughout south and central Saskatchewan monitored local newspapers, TV and radio from February 6 to 18, 2017. Results were collated and analyzed during the summer of 2017 and a comprehensive report was written.
Results of Media Monitoring

The report revealed that the overall lack of representation of older adults was significant.

  • Although media’s representation of older adults tended to be positive, the picture was often one-dimensional, relying on a “one size fits all” perspective.
  • Monitors found subliminal negative images in the words and phrases used in the stories and where they were placed in newspapers and newscasts.

Older adults are a diverse group and to ignore this reality marginalizes significant segments of the older adult population. Media can better serve the entire population of older adults by expanding what information is considered newsworthy and accurately portraying their distinctive value and needs.

The Media & Ageism committee recognizes that changes to media coverage must begin with partnerships among older adult organizations such as SSM and members of the media; thus avoiding pitfalls such as making impossible demands upon media or media imposing changes without consultation and doing little to alleviate the situation. During 2018, the report will form the basis for engagement with journalists and media managers.

Our goals for media engagement are to:

  • Contact groups of journalists and media managers to raise awareness of the research data and to work collaboratively in order to examine ways in which voices of older adults may be included more often and to reduce any use of negative assumptions and stereotypes.
  • Encourage and work with media to examine the possibilities of reaching the expanding market of older adults. Older adults are present in an amazing variety and have differing interests and abilities as well as widely differing needs for information and preferences for how they access information and entertainment through the media.

SSM contact: Linda Anderson
email at or by phone (306-539-1281).


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Media & Ageism

Linda Anderson, staff person at SSM, was interviewed about media and ageism on CBC Radio's The Story From Here. Listen to her excellent insights by going to the 8:00 minute mark of the program.  You will need to copy and paste this address. ...

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