How the ethnic news media can survive, succeed,capture a loyal audience, raise hopes and do it all while enjoying it. Maybe

Here are some strategies that I think have helped the ethnic news media succeed. You can’t rely on one and you need to find the mix that works for you. But you need to work at it .

  1. Know your audience. Know who you reach and who you don’t and decide how you are going to continue by talking to everyone in your audience.
  2. Connect with your community. You are its voice, so you need to speak about its legacies, its values, and its concerns. You need to lead and to listen. If you are connected, you will have a base.
  3. Develop ways to expand your community’s voice with what you do. Expand personal stories. Assign correspondents in neighborhoods, schools, businesses, community and religious groups. What aren’t you  talking about? Is there a campaign, a project, a community wide effort you can support?
  4. Make your community your resource. Train bloggers and assign them to report and comment. Develop sources for stories that you can do in a hurry and online – crowd sourcing. Ask about problems and develop a watchdog – public policy approach. Use software to help people report problems and concerns. Check out see – click – fix. How can you map your community online? Keep a running list of community groups and what they do and how they matter in your community – make civil society your top priority – you, again, are a voice.
  5. Embrace the Internet. Develop a webpage. Update regularly. Promote your weekly, monthly efforts with e-mail blasts. Make your contributors visible online. Involve advertisers online. Take videos of schools and community events. Photos of the same and post online. Ask for photos, videos and audio that you post. Find bloggers back home who can talk about what’s happening and who help keep the link to life there. Make partners with radio, publications, others voices back home that you link online. Learn how to write for the Internet. Don’t write long headlines like I did here!
  6. What’s your business strategy? Get audited, it will help advertisers and help you see who you are serving. Develop links with like-minded ethnic media and media who can help share content, ads, printing costs and access to larger communities. Form an alliance to expand your editorial, business and community bases and to make sure you will be around tomorrow and for some time to come. Join the Chicago Ethnic Media Alliance (CEMA). Learn from New America Media. Find interns. Develop ties with high schools and colleges for students and training. Search for training and grants. Come to the workshops I put on at the Community Media Workshop. Keep learning. Here’s an excellent tool to keep up to date.

Join local and national journalism groups to keep involved, to expand your knowledge, to share your voice. The Chicago Headline Club is a good place to start.

Monsour Tadros, publisher of al Moustaqbil (the Future newspaper), speaking at a conference of Arab-American journalists this weekend, said, “a community without a voice is not a community,” and told of his struggles to keep Chicago’s only Arab newspaper moving ahead. It’s not easy. But there’s a deep loss when such voices disappear.

What did I leave out? What works for you. Let me know. Let’s share. – office – 312 369 7782


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