June 4, 2009
This evening New America Media will bestow its annual Ethnic Media Awards. At what is bound to be the most diverse gathering in Atlanta tonight, representatives of the 2500 ethnic media outlets around the U.S., who serve 51 million Americans– in 150 different languages– in all 50 states, will celebrate excellence in their field.
It’s a field to watch: NAM was founded by Sandy Close in 1996 as New California Media. Sandy was acting on two key realizations; first, that California was on the leading edge of a demographic wave sweeping the U.S., as a product of which, by 2042, there will be no ethnic majority in the country (put another way, Non-Hispanic Whites will no longer be the majority; in 10% of U.S. counties this is already true);
Secondly, Sandy realized that “non-mainstream media,” largely the ethnic media, already reached more Californians than did the mainstream media– a reality that was “masked” by the fragmentation of the ethnic media landscape; at the same time, a reality sure to grow.
Indeed, it has grown. And as it has, NCM became NAM, and expanded its services to the field.
NAM has become essential to the ethnic media community in the U.S. (and increasingly, abroad). But it’s important– it’s essential– to us all.
- At a personal level, NAM provides a window through which any of us can better understand the rest of us. (In a non-majority world, all of are “minorities,” with the cultural biases– too often, blinders– that come with our cultures.)
- At a professional level, NAM is education about, a window on, and a channel to the the colleagues and customers in our future.
- And most fundamentally importantly, because NAM is a critical resource to its ethnic media membership– journalists and communicators– it is critically important to the communities they serve.
As we look forward over the next few decades and the challenges that they hold, we realize that we Americans are in this together. And we realize that we will succeed only to the extent that we find ways to celebrate and to harness the extraordinarily rich diversity that is our nation’s heritage and its hallmark.
NAM is working to help all of us hear all of the “Voices of America.” It’s never been more important.
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Tags: Alternative Media, ethnic journalism, Ethnic Media, ethnic press, jounalism, NAM, New America Media, Sandy Close