A while back I commented on the greying of Mormon studies. I just ran across something that further confirmed my initial intuition. According to a survey collected at the 2003 Sunstone Symposium, the age break down of Sunstoners looks like this:
- 6% — Under age 25
7% — age 25-34
8% — age 35-44
14% — age 45-54
35% — age 55-64
30% — age 65 or older
Wow! Think of what that means. Well over half of the participants are over the age of 55. A whopping 79% of Sunstoners are over the age of 45, and under the most generous reading of the data less than 15% of Sunstoners are in their twenties. Unless Sunstone can do something to reach younger folks, they probably ought to think about marketing promotional deals with modern maturity.
Here is one bit of unsolicited advice. One thing Sunstone might want to think about is its rather awful on-line presence. Their website is clunky in the extreme. One problem that Sunstone has is that even if it wanted to change its reputation to one that was more hospitable to mainline Mormons, the costs of (especially young) Mormons finding out anything about current Sunstone topics are quite high. In a rather obvious move to protect what I assume are dwindling subscription dollars, very few Sunstone articles are on line. The result is that folks have to actually fork over the money to buy a piece of paper in order to find out about it.
One thing that Sunstone ought to seriously consider is creating a blog. A lot of traditional print outlets — The New Republic (Greg Easterbrook) and The National Review (“The Corner”) come to mind — have done this, using the blog as a way of generating interest in their print publication and generally providing themselves a voice to largely paperless readers (like me).
Are you listening Dan Wotherspoon?