One of my faithful PR LEADS called with a nit to pick.

A freelance writer for a well-known, national publication said they couldn’t use his comments because he was over 50. They wanted to appeal to people in their 20’s and 30’s.

While magazines targeting readers in certain age groups, ethnic groups, geographical groups or other groups is nothing new, having them limit their sources to those groups seems a bit odd.

Why wouldn’t people in their 20’s or 30’s want to learn from someone who has more years of experience? It seems like this magazine is cutting off its nose to spite its face.

I recall several wonderful leads offered by writers for Black Enterprise magazine that were answered by people of every demographic group. BE writers didn’t discriminate!

While I can see why my silver-haired client wouldn’t be a good cover boy if they are appealing to recent college grads, I can’t see why his advice wouldn’t be useful.

He also made a good point: Why do they even have to put in people’s ages?

Well, that shut me up. I couldn’t think of a good reason why. Newspapers and magazines have done it for years as a convention. But TV never has done this (unless age was relevant, like when a 60 year old woman gives birth to twins. At 60, it is news. At 20, it isn’t. Makes sense.).

I remember when I was a daily newspaper reporter and my city editor kicked back a story to me because I didn’t include the age of the city manager I quoted. When I asked the city manager her age, she was aghast! She immediately blasted me and my city editor (who she assumed was a man!). She was equally surprised when I told her my city editor was a woman.

She never did tell me her age. We ran the story like, ” ‘blah, blah, blah,’ said Jane Smith, city manager, who would not disclose her age.”

Sounds pretty stupid, doesn’t it?