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Ethnic – Intro


By the Project for Excellence in Journalism

The story of the ethnic media heading into 2007 is one of a bright past and present, but perhaps a more complicated future.

On the surface of the numbers, there is a lot of good news to report. While many mainstream outlets are suffering declines in audience and revenue, the ethnic media seem to be riding above it all. For the most part, their audience and revenue numbers are still growing. Demographic figures show not only that the number of foreign-language speakers has grown, but also that the communities in which those people live have fanned out around the country, creating new markets for the ethnic print and broadcast outlets to serve. And more of the publications are having their circulations audited, a sign of growing maturation and interest in giving advertisers more solid measures of their readerships.

Still, there are signs of potential difficulty in changing demographics. The year 2006 was the first time that growth in the U.S. Latino population came more from births than immigration. And there is reason to believe that those second-generation citizens are more likely to turn to English-language outlets. In addition, experts in the industry say ethnic media are at least five years behind the mainstream media in moving to the Internet, with many smaller publications having done little or nothing in that area. And the sale of the Hispanic broadcast giant Univision in 2006, while it was a blockbuster deal, did not generate the interest from buyers that many had expected.

But this vibrant media sector is healthy, though going through some changes.