President Obama Sparks African Amercian Media Companies and Communities


Over the last four years, the ethnic media have picked up 8 million new readers, viewers and listeners, and now regularly reach 57 million people in the U.S., according to a poll released today by New America Media (NAM). The increase comes as mainstream media, especially metropolitan daily newspapers, struggle to keep their audiences. NAM, an organization that collaborates with more than 2,500 ethnic media outlets, released the poll during their National Ethnic Media Expo & Awards at the Atlanta Hyatt Regency Hotel. The survey, conducted by Bendixen & Associates, contacted 1,329 African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American adults. It has a 2.7 percent margin of error. “The poll results demonstrate significant penetration for the ethnic media,” said Sandy Close, NAM’s executive director, noting they regularly reach 82 percent of African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American adults. “The thirst for relevant news and information has made many residents of ethnic communities turn to media outlets that do substantial reporting on their culture, issues and neighborhoods. The increase in ethnic media audiences is incredible, considering the declines that many mainstream media outlets are confronting.” Moreover, the poll found that Asian Americans reported that they turn to ethnic media for news coverage of their home countries. For instance, new ethnic television stations, such as KCNS-TV (Chinese) in San Francisco and VATV (Vietnamese) in the Washington, D.C., metro area, are popular because of their home country coverage.

Sergio Bendixen, president of Bendixen & Associates, said the polling also showed that a substantial percentage of African American, Hispanic and Asian American households have cable or satellite service. “What’s clear is that even as the country suffers through a recession, ethnic communities are staying tuned into ethnic media,” Mr. Bendixen said, noting that an increase in penetration for African-American publications was sparked, in part, by interest in Barack Obama’s candidacy and presidency.

Ms. Close said the increases in penetration come as the ethnic media are transforming themselves and preparing to play broader roles in their communities.

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