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Working with the ethnic media

Working with the Ethnic Media

 

California is home to print and broadcast media that serve many cultural and ethnic groups. The ethnic media radio, television, online services and community newspapers cater to specific language and ethnic groups. They provide a good opportunity to target your message to a specific segment of the population, and these media outlets are more likely to cover community stories overlooked by the general media and larger media organizations.

 

The ethnic print, broadcast and online media communicate more than just content. They communicate culture, tradition, attitudes, and reflect the communities they serve.

 

California boasts an eclectic mix of ethnic media, including Spanish, African American, Armenian, Chinese Filipino, Russian, Thai, Korean, Pakistani, Japanese and Indian media outlets. The ethnic media foster close ties within their communities as they reflect social needs and diversity.

 

Together with radio, and to a lesser extent television, community newspapers serve as valuable guides for recent immigrants, introducing them to a new culture and way of life. In most cases, the publishers approach their mission to inform, educate, and entertain with great passion and enthusiasm.

 

Print publications remain close to their readers’ home base. Some ethnic publications are owned by large media companies but generally are small- and medium-sized operations with limited resources. Most of the ethnic community newspapers are free publications.

 

Few media markets have changed more than Hispanic print in the past few years. Today there are more than 900 newspapers and magazines nationwide reaching the Hispanic population -- in Spanish, English or in a bilingual format.

 

The type of information the ethnic media is seeking will to some extent reflect the nature of the group being served. According to a recent survey of the Hispanic media market, topics of greatest interest included family well-being; parenting, health and medicine; family finances; food and nutrition; youth development and consumer issues. Least sought after topics included agriculture, gardening, animal care, farm safety, energy, op-eds and commentary.

 

In most cases, staff members speak English, as well as the language of the target audience. Depending on the size and resources of the publication, providing them with information in the target language may increase the chances of having your news release or announcement published or broadcast. However, it is better to send information in English if you do not have the staff or resources to provide a good quality translations or adaptation.

 

The same guidelines that apply to working with the general media are relevant when working with the ethnic media.

 

  • Become familiar with the ethnic media in your area.
  • Conduct an informal survey and analysis of each media outlet: find out who does what; look for clues to the taste, style, point of view, primary geographic focus, and personalities you may want to know; request a media kit.
  • Subscribe to or pick up a copy of the publication. Learn about sections, topics covered, format, frequency of publication, reporters covering various beats and types of stories published.
  • Listen and watch! Listen to or have someone monitor a radio station. Become familiar with the format, type of music played, programming offered, on-air personalities, news programs or segments and community calendars. Find out in advance what the newspaper, radio or TV station prefer and/or want. The same applies to television.
  • Establish and maintain contact with the ethnic media. Identify and send information to the right person. It is critical to cultivate ongoing relationships and to be responsive when a reporter or editor, working on deadline, calls with requests for information.
  • Although the ethnic media tend to be community-oriented, it is important to keep in mind that they are commercial media outlets in the business to make money. There is competition for the available time and space.
  • Update your media list regularly.
  • Familiarize yourself with media deadlines.
  • Make suggestions to reporters and editors. Prepare interesting and timely information. Prepare a short letter to go to the newspaper editor, producer, news or public affairs director; include names of possible guests and state you will call in a few days.  
  • Follow-up with a phone call. If the story is aired or printed, send a complimentary note and encourage them to contact you in the development of future stories.

 

For additional information, check New California Media, a network of more than 200 ethnic publications. The network's listing of member publications can be accessed at www.ncmoline.com.

 

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