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Ethnic Media Journalists Meet In Atlanta


It has never ever happened in Atlanta before- a conference of 500 journalists of ethnic media. It was inspiring to see their energy and passion which drove them to Atlanta even in the current economic crisis to celebrate their growth and expansion. Ethnic media practitioners from different cities across America, and representatives from other countries attended the second national ethnic media expo and awards celebration that was held on June 4 and 5 at Atlanta Hyatt Regency. California based New America Media (NAM) and UGA’s Grady college of Journalism and Mass Communication organized this two-day event. 

On June 4, the celebration kicked of with a roundtable discussion on risk communication through ethnic media with a panel of risk communicators, Peter Macias, crisis communications and public outreach director of the U.S. Red Cross, Ms. Beverly Thomas, vice president of communications and public affairs at Kaiser Permanente, Juan Proano, CEO of Plus three and unveiling NAM’s hotline for emergency messages. While making her opening remarks, Sandy Close, executive director of NAM said that ethnic news either in print or in digital, it is not just conveying news; it should cater to all needs of your community. Risk communication is very important to your readers or viewers at the time when epidemics break out and natural disasters hit. The ethnic media play a vital role. NAM’s hotline emergency messages can help. These services ensure communities treat the media more than just a communicator of news. 

In the afternoon, U.S. Census 2010 officials from Washington DC and Atlanta briefed representatives of ethnic media about utilizing their influence to ensure a complete count of census and to increase their communities’ participation in decennial census throughout the states. Arnold Jackson, chief operating officer of the decennial census said the U.S. Census Bureau considers the ethnic media an indispensable ally as it strives to build trust in immigrant and minority communities ahead of the 2010 census. At media educators luncheon NAM’s journalism school and media enrichment partners shared their work on how to expand resources for the ethnic media sector.

Keeping the tradition, NAM lined up an impressive Ethnic Media Awards Banquet in the evening of June 4. Many expressed that they had a great time. Richelle Carey, Anchor and Correspondent of HLN, emceed the proceedings of the banquet. E. Culpepper Clark, Dean of Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication while welcoming the gathering said: “When we see ethnic media, we see future.” Manny Garcia, executive editor of EI Nuevo herald was the key note speaker. 2009 national ethnic media awards were presented to 40 honorees. Echoing the event’s theme of “Ethnic Media Working Together to Build a Stronger Sector,” award winners at the banquet were not only recognized for their outstanding journalistic work, they were also motivated to expand their influence in America's increasingly diverse society. 

Addressing the banquet audience, Sandy Close, NAM executive director, said: “The ethnic media is now taking unprecedented roles in news reporting helping enrich the content of mainstream media during these tough times. I hope to see ethnic media be truly recognized as part of American journalism. In five years, I hope we don’t see 'ethnic media' anymore. It will just be media." 

Juan Gonzales, director of the “Voices for Justice Project, presented a video that chronicled 200- year history of Latino papers in the U.S. Before presenting his video, Gonzales noted in his speech that ethnic media have never stopped shaping American society. 

New America Media also released “A National Study on the Penetration of Ethnic Media in America,” a poll on the significant growth of the ethnic media sector and ethnic media's readership at the opening Plenary session. Sergio Bendixen a multilingual polling expert of Bendixen and Associates presented polling data on the reach of ethnic media in America. Ethnic newspapers, television radio and online services are growing despite the struggles most mainstream media are experiencing. 

A poll conducted by Sergio Bendixen of Bendixen and Associates says: “The ethnic media is growing, and it is growing at a very impressive rate.” It’s jumped from 51 million to 57 million since 2005. The survey also showed that Asian Americans tuned in to ethnic media for news of their home countries and that weekly and monthly Filipino and Asian Indian publications have increased.

“Nearly 60 million Americans now regularly get information from ethnically oriented TV, radio, newspapers, and Web sites, many of which are published or broadcast in languages other than English and that number is on the rise. As mainstream newspapers and cable news channels in the United States are losing more money, readers, and viewers each year, ethnic media appears to be “the most vibrant part’ of the media landscape,” said pollster Sergio Bendixen, releasing the latest statistics. "The ethnic media is growing, and it is growing at a very impressive rate," Bendixen told. 
National Ethnic Media Expo was the Luncheon Expo -- a stand alone exhibition of ethnic media where publishers, advertisers, journalism schools, TV, radio, U.S. Census, Red Cross and other media displayed their work and networked with each other. There were about 80 tables showcasing newspapers, magazines, brochures and media kits of various ethnic publications. The session was ended with awards to the "best of show" made by several judges. Richard Rodriguez, noted author and essayist delivered a luncheon keynote speech on “ethnic media and The future of news.” 

Community organizations, Government agencies, small business sector which represents 70 percent of the ethnic media's ad base, major corporations like Coca-Cola, Church's Chicken, non-profits like AARP, Red Cross, journalism schools and mainstream media organizations like CNN, AJC supported for the success of second national ethnic media expo and awards.

New America Media is the country's first and largest national collaboration and advocate for more than 2,500 ethnic news organizations. Over 51 million ethnic adults connect to each other, to home countries and to America through 2,500+ ethnic media, the fastest growing sector of American journalism. Founded by the nonprofit Pacific News Service in 1996, NAM is headquartered in California with offices in New York and Washington D.C. NAM also partners with journalism schools to grow local associations of ethnic media around the nation.

Other highlights of the expo and awards included simultaneous roundtables and forums on Women in Ethnic Media, Aging in ethnic communities, the environment, immigration reform, covering different news beats, skills building and a series of plenary sessions and professional development workshops for ethnic media practitioners and attendees interested in learning about the sector's vital role in journalism and communications. Atlanta being CNN headquarters, CNN hosted a VIP reception and arranged CNN walking tour to all visiting journalists at their CNN world head quarters.

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