New America Media tells Congress to use the nation’s ethnic media more

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The US Census Bureau is missing opportunities to provide reporting instructions to diverse communities in the United States by failing to fully utilize the ethnic media that can reach more than 60 million adults in those communities, according to testimony from New America Media (NAM) in
Congress today.

Sandy Close, NAM’s executive director, called the 2010 Census advertising program an “unprecedented investment” in ethnic and community media, having identified 3,000 media outlets across the country. But she cautioned that many key media outlets were left out, including 47% of those that attended roundtable sessions organized by NAM and the Census Bureau last year to learn how they could help with the count. She noted that several prominent African American papers had been excluded.

“Many are frustrated — they don’t know why they fell through the cracks. Some are bitter. All very urgently want a role — even if small — and believe, as I do, that together they can move the needle those extra percentage points,” said Ms. Close, testifying before the Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and National Archives. Her organization represents more than 2,500 ethnic media outlets across the country.

The roundtable discussions organized last year included more than 600
ethnic media representatives in 12 cities from coast to coast. The ethnic media participating included media giants like Univision, Asian language dailies, BET and Clear Channel stations to established black and Spanish language weeklies, upstart radio and TV stations, as well as niche print and online outlets serving Burmese, Ethiopian, Arab, Russian, Mixtec, Punjabi and Samoan communities.

“Their hunger to participate in the 2010 Campaign is intense — you
could cut the exuberance at these gatherings with a knife,” Ms. Close
testified. “For many media, it was the first time they’d come together
as a media sector in the same city. They get the Census: they get
their community’s stake in a complete count, and they get their own.”

In citing the importance of an accurate Census count not only on federal dollars, but private ones as well, she noted the experience of Juan Carlos Ramos of the El Tiempo Hispanic newspaper in New Orleans. Mr. Ramos said the 2000 Census undercounted Hispanics in New Orleans and as a result Coca Cola dropped New Orleans, and his paper, from their national ad campaign.
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