Recognizing the important role they play, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio last month announced that the city was committed to “deepening” its relationship with the community and ethnic media and would give their representatives more access to City officials and buy advertisements in these publications.
At a roundtable with the ethnic media representatives Feb. 17 Blasio said that members of the community and ethnic press would gain more ready access to city officials, and added that three seats would be reserved for community and ethnic media representatives at the City Hall press room.
The City’s advertisement budget with ethnic and community media has more than tripled since 2013 with the Administration spending more than $1.3 million in 2015. This year’s spending is expected to outpace the previous year’s spending.
“We are the ultimate city of immigrants. We honor that fact and know that it’s essential to our greatness and that means we need to communicate with people” in a way that they trust, he said. In the past, he said that “New York City government too often attempted to basically communicate with the people of New York City only through traditional mainstream media and didn’t understand the power of community and ethnic media,” he said.
Blasio said that the City is going to start changing that reality and will deepen these changes over the next few years as it seeks to reach all people.
Along with Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Commissioner Nisha Agarwal of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant met with the members of ethnic and community media as part of the Administration’s efforts to broaden its reach across communities in the five boroughs to keep New Yorkers better informed.
At the roundtable, the Mayor also discussed a new directory with the names and contact information of ethnic and community media that will be used by City agency communications staff, the City Council, and Borough Presidents’ staff to share op-eds, press releases and other information with publications that serve a broad and diverse readership. In addition, the directory also will function to allow City agencies to create more focused advertisement campaigns for target demographics.
A 2013 report issued by the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism revealed that the city reserves 82 percent of its advertising budget for mainstream English-language publications like the New York Times, New York Post and the New York Daily News, according to Observer, a Manhattan-based weekly. Jehangir Khattak co-director at the Center for Community and Ethnic Media at CUNY told the Observer that the report highlights that ethnic media deserves more attention and that it needs to get its fair share of the advertisements.
At the roundtable Commissioner Agarwal also announced that New Yorkers can call 311 and say “language access” in the language that they speak to log a complaint if they did not have access to interpretation when seeking key city services.
Mark-Viverito said she understood the role that community and ethnic media play in the city, and was “very passionate” about developing a strong partnership with that media.