Twin Cities Honor Hyperlocal Journalism

New America Media, News Report, Laura Goode Posted: Dec 07, 2008

MINNEAPOLIS,Minn. Hyperlocal journalism in Minnesota’s Twin Cities was recognized on Friday, December 5, at the Cities’ first regional Ethnic and Community Media Awards. The event was co-hosted by the Twin Cities Daily Planet (TCDP) and New America Media, both consortiums of community, minority, and ethnic news sources.

AwardsNAM’s Anthony Advincula was one the ceremony’s two MCs, presenting awards to the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, Hmong Today, Mshale – The African Community Newspaper, and others.

“It’s so important to support and encourage community-based journalism,” commented Advincula. “So many of these news sources are facing economic threats right now, and we hope that honoring them with our awards will help to garner them some valuable visibility.”

Hmong Today’s Wameng Moua, who was honored for stories in two categories, provided an individual perspective on the impact of a floundering economy.

“We’re finding new ways to make revenue,” Moua remarked with strained optimism. “We lost a lot of real estate agents and brokers that advertised with us, so we’re shifting our focus to nonprofits and schools.”

The evening’s honorees were lauded for stories covering a wide range of topics, among them Asian-American theater, recent refugee arrivals from Bhutan, education in the Hmong community, and the Service Employees International Union strike in Minneapolis.

Another winner, Matthew Little of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, noted that his first-place Editorial/Commentary award is the first he has received in his career. Little, who was honored for his column “Little By Little”, is “87 years young,” as co-presenter Sarah Bauer noted in his introduction, a World War II veteran, and was leader of the Minnesota delegation to the historic 1963 March on Washington where Dr. King delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech.

“My main involvement [in journalism] has been for civil rights,” Little noted, reflecting on his long career. “The experiences I’ve had in that broad field, anything that I’ve done, comes from adherence, love, and pursuit of civil rights, the ultimate result of which is the advancement of our new president.”

Jeremy Iggers, executive director of the TCDP, said “grassroots media” was “important for the vitality of the community.”

Iggers“These publications keep their own communities informed about immigration issues, neighborhood politics,” Iggers said. “They are a marketplace for local businesses and a forum for community discussion. Some of the liveliest letters to the editor I’ve seen show up in these pages.”

Iggers is best known in Minneapolis and St. Paul for his two-decade tenure as a restaurant critic for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and his fascination with the Twin Cities’ cultural complexity arguably began with food. In his final column for the Star Tribune, he analyzed what he perceived as a local “gastronomic revolution,” citing the influx of Vietnamese, Thai, Szechuan, Ethiopian, Somali, and Mexican restaurants as evidence of the Cities’ evolving ethnic tapestry.

The ceremony’s refreshments revealed Iggers’ passion for Twin Cities cuisine and celebrated the cultural diversity of the event, sampling food from a variety of Eat Street restaurants. “Eat Street” refers to Minneapolis’ Nicollet Avenue, a diverse and well-known strip of urban eateries.

All in all, the ceremony recognized 16 journalists representing nine Twin Cities community, Korean, Hmong, pan-African, and African-American publications. Publications were asked to submit their best work for consideration in five editorial categories: Editorial/Commentary, Arts/Culture, Global/Local Connections, In-Depth/Investigative Reporting, and Community Service. All eligible TCDP honorees of December 5th will automatically be entered in NAM’s National Ethnic Media Expo and Awards, to be held in Atlanta, Georgia in June 2009.

Related Articles:

First Minnesota Ethnic Media Awards

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