By Roy Jones.
There is a golden rule for those reporting on older people and issues: ask yourself whether words such as old, elderly or aged are appropriate. If they are not necessary or relevant to the story, don’t include them.
In the past, older people were treated somewhat patronisingly by the media, “reaching for their slippers”, for example, but generally in a kindly way. Nowadays, the following comment is more typical:
“The young tax-paying population has to fund, to its detriment, an ageing society.” – newspaper comment.
However, roughly 12 million older people are central, some say critically so, to Britain’s economy and their needs and responsibilities are subject to close media scrutiny and the vagaries of government.
Change the record: NUJ guidelines on reporting age state:
“Language can be a powerful tool in shaping our views and reflecting public attitudes and perceptions – both of which can form…
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