Data on the much of the rest of the nation’s ethnic media are, by nature, scattered and usually not measured in comparable ways. Each group’s studies are generally highly localized geographically or highly segmented by ethnicity. Not surprising, New York and California, which have large ethnic populations, have the most data.
These data indicate there has been noticeable growth in the media for many ethnicities, particularly in major metro areas. The figures below, gathered in New York City in 1976, 1990 and 2000, are sketchy. They are drawn from different surveys. And some of the figures, provided by the publishers themselves, are probably overstated. Still there are some notable shifts, particularly among Bangladeshi, Caribbean, Chinese, Indian, Korean and Russian newspapers. Even if the figures are overstated, the changes and growth speak to a vibrant immigrant press in New York and to a lesser extent the growth of the ethnic press in smaller cities.
In addition, the Editor and Publisher 2003 Yearbook lists 143 weekly ethnic newspapers nationally covering a wide variety of nationalities. These papers are a mixed bag. Circulation is as low as a few hundred for some, such as the Nasinec, a Czech newspaper in Granger, Texas, with a paid circulation of 420, and Russian Life, a San Francisco weekly with a circulation of 750. For others it ranges up to near 100,000. Haiti Proges in Brooklyn boasts a paid circulation of more than 70,000. And African Times in Los Angeles has a paid circulation of more than 85,000.1 In future years, this report plans more in-depth study of all these ethnic media.
Other Ethnic Media Ownership
Beyond the Spanish-language media, the rest of the ethnic media are at an earlier stage of development. In California alone there are more than 1,000 media outlets for the growing ethnic populations, according to Pacific News Service. Many, if not most, of them are small and independently owned. That trend may continue so long as the populations represented remain too small to represent large buying power. Big, diverse media companies are unlikely to make the investment in buying a cadre of outlets aimed at different populations in different languages. If there is a possibility of pulling together ethnic media outside of the Hispanic outlets, it will likely center on small companies specializing in specific ethnicities (a Korean media company, for example, or an Indian one). At this point, it seems that large national ethnic news companies are years away.