Four of the five Democratic candidates showed up for a televised debate that was a contest over who is the most immigrant-friendly.
Tag: New York Community Media Alliance
Ethnic media reporters are told they have a crucial role in covering the fall campaign.
Census representatives made a plea to New York ethnic journalists to help them spread the message that every New Yorker will benefit from the 2010 Census, even undocumented immigrants. City officials and immigrant organizations supported the initiative, during a press briefing held Tuesday at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
“Census data determine the number of delegates the city gets in Congress and the State Legislature, as well as the size of each of our 51 City Council districts,” said Stacey Cumberbatch, New York City director for Census 2010. “But they also determine how much federal funding New York City gets each year. This money funds things like health care, housing, education or senior services.”
Cumberbatch told the few dozen journalists at the briefing that in 2007 New York City got $22 billion (or $2,700 per person) to fund its various programs. That amount was calculated based on Census data using a simple equation: the more people counted, the more funding appropriated.
During the Democratic and Republican National Conventions Feet in Two Worlds worked with the New York Community Media Alliance to bring a group of ethnic media journalists to Denver and St. Paul to cover the conventions, the candidates and the parties. The following article was written by a member of the group, Jehangir Khattak, a free lance Pakistani journalist who reports for newspapers and radio in the US and Pakistan.
For more reports from the conventions by ethnic media journalists click here.
America’s minority communities are the driving force behind major economic sectors such as agriculture, service, hospitality, and construction. They fill the jobs common folks are unwilling to do, as well as create job opportunities through their enterprising skills. However, major parts of these communities remain in the shadows, and their contribution to the American dream is barely mentioned in the national media. Little wonder that mainstream media’s intentional or unintentional neglect of these fledging communities has created huge room for the ethnic press to take root and grow. According to the National Directory of Ethnic Media, there are more than 2,000 ethnic media organizations nationwide reaching out to more than 50 million Americans, or roughly one-fifth of the total population.
The demand for ethnic media is growing at such a pace that in New York alone there are nine different Urdu-language weekly newspapers. Nationwide, the number of Pakistani community weekly newspapers, radio and television channels has crossed the 20 mark. However, the strength and importance of this uncelebrated segment of the American media has rarely been recognized in the mainstream media. In fact the more the mainstream media ignores ethnic minorities, the more it strengthens media from these communities.
There has always been a need for organizations that could recognize, highlight and connect the ethnic media with the mainstream and build its capacity to market publications meeting the highest possible journalistic standards. It’s in this context that the New York Community Media Alliance and Feet in 2 Worlds sponsored journalists from the New York-based ethnic press to cover the DNC in Denver. The initiative proved to be more productive than many had thought as it exposed the ethnic media journalists, many of whom were covering a DNC for the first time, to the vast trove of information for their respective communities. For the first time ten different communities saw the convention coverage from their angle.
Not only that, the NYCMA and FI2W’s project had some impact on the mainstream media too. The New York Times “embedded” one of its reporters with our group of ethnic journalists to write about a story about ethnic media’s coverage of the convention. Thus the initiative not only generated several blogs, dozens of stories and radio interviews, but also mainstream media recognition of our efforts. The New York Times story could be the beginning of a nationwide mainstream media effort to pull the ethnic media out of the shadows and into the limelight, recognize its strength and utility, and enter into partnership to dig deep inside America’s immigrant population. NYCMA and the FI2W deserve full credit and accolades for the thoughtful intiative to empower a forgotten side of the larger American information sector.
Jehangir Khattak is a US-based Pakistani journalist, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
There are many points where Senator John McCain’s career and life story intersect with immigrant communities across the US. He was one of the principal sponsors in the US Senate of comprehensive immigration reform, legislation that he subsequently repudiated during the presidential primary campaign. He and his wife Cindy have an adopted daughter from Bangladesh. He comes from a state with a large Latino population. During the Vietnam War he was held prisoner by the North Vietnamese government, and later became a strong advocate for normalizing relations between the US and Vietnam.
Despite these points of contact, ethnic media journalists say McCain has a long way to go in cementing support among immigrant voters.
“The McCain campaign is using double-speak,” said Pilar Marrero, a reporter with the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion in Los Angeles. “To the mainstream they are going to the base with a lot of red meat. To Latinos and to the Latino media they are talking a different talk. What they are saying to them is ‘don’t pay attention to the party and the platform.’ The platform that has English-only and, let’s build a wall on the southern border, and lets just kick out all the undocumented workers. ‘Pay attention to the man, the man who pushed immigration reform. Pay attention to him because in his heart he still believes in immigration reform and he’ll still support it. He loves Latinos, he is from Arizona.’”
Marrero spoke at a panel discussion in Minneapolis sponsored by Feet in Two Worlds and the New York Community Media Alliance. The panel was held at the Weisman Art Museum as part of the American Politics Sideshow on the final day of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.
Marrero said the McCain campaign’s tactics with Latinos did not appear to be working. “There always (are) some Latinos that vote Republican,” she said. “As far as getting to that 35 or 40 per cent that (the Republicans) know they need to win certain states, that’s yet to be seen.”
Wameng Moua, the editor of Hmong Today , a newspaper that serves Minnesota’s large Hmong community, said McCain had made a connection with older Hmong voters. “John McCain has an historical tie to the Hmong community in the sense that the Americans in the Vietnam War recruited the Hmong to save fighter pilots who were shot down in Laos. Unfortunately John McCain was shot down in Vietnam, so he wasn’t able to be saved by Hmong people. But nonetheless there still is that historical connection.”
Moua noted that even younger Hmong voters were taking a look at McCain after the Democratic National Convention in Denver. “There was a lot of excitement about the Obama campaign at first. But now, talking to a lot of my friends, they seem to have a second thought on the premise that they really weren’t riveted by Obama’s speech (at the convention).” But Moua also said there are two Hmong members of the Minnesota state legislature from St. Paul. Both are Democrats, and both are expected to support Barack Obama.
Obama and McCain were faulted for their lack of outreach to immigrant communities by Ka Chan, communications director of the New York Community Media Alliance. Chan said that the candidate who had done the most to connect with immigrants was Hillary Clinton. “It’s not surprising,” Chan said, “because Hillary has so many ties with so many ethnic community groups.”
As to McCain, Chan added, “(he) could have been a front runner or the maverick, as he calls himself, in immigration reform, but he did not. There is speculation that he needed to win the primary, that’s why he distanced himself from what he stands for in immigration reform. Just like his war hero image, he could have been an immigration reform hero for all these immigrant voters. But these days we don’t really hear that rhetoric anymore, ever since he entered the direct race with Obama. The effort still needs to be seen.”