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Rochester Targets Under-40 People Coping with Economy

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle launched a special report tied to its ongoing effort to better serve young professionals in and around Rochester. ㄀

Surviving and Climbing is a Web section on that features compelling stories of people under 40 who are coping with the economic crisis on several fronts — in careers, investments, debt management and expenses. The section focuses on dozens of avenues for finding credible solutions uniquely tailored to this age group.

Most important about the project is the platform it provides for networking. Through blogs and forums, young professionals can seek help from their peers and offer suggestions in areas where they have experience.

YPs have special needs in getting through these unprecedented times, and we’re finding that the mainstream coverage of the economy is not meeting those needs.

The multimedia and enterprise packages in Surviving and Climbing are a team effort headed by staffers Enid Arbelo, Scott Norris and Chris Dicken.

Cynthia Benjamin, who coordinates community conversation, is working closely with members of Rochester young professionals organizations to ensure they see the benefit of networking their way through the recession using this site.

We had a core group of YPs seed the forums and blogs at the launch, and then we promoted it extensively on the D&C homepage and YP section, in Friday’s insider and in Sunday’s newspaper. While the Web section focuses on tips and solutions, the insider (YRP) cover story — ‘You’re laying me off, aren’t you?’ — featured vignettes from five who recently lost their jobs. In Sunday’s newspaper, we targeted an older audience with enterprise that explained the significance and unique issues of a generation that has never known economic downturn, until now.

We’ve had great response so far from the young professionals who have read it. The president of one of the YP organizations, Maria Thomas,㄀sent the link to more than 1,500 young professionals, and we received feedback on what we posted and ideas for further coverage.

“At RYP, we’re looking at ways to help our members. We know we can’t retain members if they don’t stay in the area due to job loss. This is such a great idea,” said Thomas, president of Rochester Young Professionals organization.

We have added elements since launch, and we’ll keep the site promoted prominently off the Young Professionals site and off the D&C home page as it is updated.

The second phase of the initiative, which we’ll launch this spring, is a breakfast series in which area business leaders will speak to young professionals about how they made it and what they advise in today’s climate. The meetings will be intimate – 20 to 30 YPs invited — and they will choose the CEOs we approach. We’ll record each on video and post as vodcasts.

Last Modified: February 2009