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First National Ethnic Media Network to Cover DNC

New America Media, News Report, Anthony D. Advincula Posted: Aug 20, 2008

Editor's Note: Eleven veteran journalists and three journalism students from the U.S. ethnic media, who have a harder time getting press credentials than their mainstream media counterparts, are covering the Democratic National Convention for the first time. Anthony D. Advincula is a New York-based editor for New America Media, which sponsored the journalists. Stay tuned to New America Media to read the reporters' articles and blogs from the DNC.

DENVER Kai-ping Liu has been working for a U.S. Chinese-language newspaper for more than 20 years. He has covered political upheavals and natural disasters from the massacre in Tiananmen Square in 1989 to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

But Liu, deputy city editor for The World Journal in San Francisco, has never covered the political parties national conventions an assignment that any mid-career reporter for a mainstream media could have.

Like other journalists who work for the ethnic media outlets in the United States, Liu has had a harder time getting press credentials than his mainstream media counterparts.

Its definitely not easy to get a credential, especially for an ethnic publication, he said. So what we do is just get stories from the news wire.

Although they provide breaking news, wire services present another problem for ethnic media: they dont reflect the needs of the newspapers audience. I have to admit that the coverage may not be through an Asian-American perspective, Liu noted.

But this credential hurdle for ethnic media may be over at least for Liu. On Monday, Liu and 13 other journalists from ethnic media across the country will arrive at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Co. These journalists representing Brazilian, Caribbean, Filipino, Chinese, Hmong, Muslim, Latino, Native-American and African-American communities are considered to be the first network of ethnic media ever to participate in the Democratic National Convention.

Sandy Close, executive director of New America Media, the organization that sponsored the credentials for the reporters and funded their trip to Denver, says that each reporter provides a unique lens to cover the conventions and the stakes their communities have in the presidential campaign. It's like we have a global-local press corps all in this one small group, she said.

This is going to be a dream come true, said Randy Stelly, publisher and editor of The Real Views, a Baton Rouge, La.-based publication that serves the African-American community.

Because of credential denials in the past, Stelly got frustrated and didnt even bother to apply for a media pass this election year, thinking that the convention committee would only ignore his publication. Im such a small player in the game, he said. I dont think they would even give my publication a second thought.

Erline Andrews, a reporter for Caribbean Life in New York City, agreed. If you dont have a big readership, chances are that your publication wont get the credential priority. But I feel lucky to be a part of this historic convention, something that rarely happens in ethnic media.

Most ethnic media outlets in the country are small, but are driven to provide their audience mostly immigrants with limited or no English skills and minorities firsthand and timely information. With limited access or none at all to the conventions, these media outlets end up translating to their native languages the stories that had already been published or aired by the mainstream media.

From the start, this media sector is already at a disadvantage. They are so under-staffed and under-resourced that they could not even send a reporter out of their region, said Gregg Morris, media and communication professor at Hunter College in New York City. The sad part is that their readers suffer when they get delayed information and, to a greater extent, it mutes their voices about the elections.

Morris says that giving the ethnic journalists the same playing field mainstream media outlets get at any conventions will strengthen the presence of ethnic media and expand their coverage. Im hoping that this is the beginning, he said, to change an old bureaucratic system.

Who are they?
The 14 journalists sponsored by New America Media to attend the Democratic National Conventions are:

1. Eduardo de Oliveira, New England Ethnic News (Boston, Mass.)
2. Randy Stelly, The Real Views (Baton Rouge, La.)
3. Erline Andrews, Caribbean Life (New York City, N.Y.)
4. Judith Martinez, Atlanta Latino (Atlanta, Ga.)
5. Cindy Yurth, The Navajo Times (Navajo, Ariz.)
6. Gregg Morris, The Word (Hunter College, N.Y.)
7. Jacqueline Fernandez, The Word (Hunter College, N.Y.)
8. Kisha Allison, The Word (Hunter College, N.Y.)
9. Jonathan Mena, The Word (Hunter College, N.Y.)
10. Kaiping Liu, The World Journal (San Francisco, Calif.)
11. Zuag Kimberly Chang, Hmong Today (Minneapolis, Minn.)
12. Ashahed Muhammad, The Final Call (Chicago, Ill.)
13. Roberto Lovato, New America Media (New York City, N. Y.)
14. Anthony Advincula, New America Media (New York City, N.Y.)

Related Articles:

Obama Speaks to Ethnic Journalists at UNITY Convention

Grassroots Efforts Key to Recruiting Latino Voters in California

Ethnic Media Cautiously Laud Obama's Nomination

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