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NAM Awards in Atlanta Spotlight Ethnic Media

New America Media, News Report, Vivian Po, photography by Kevin Chan and Min Lee Posted: Jun 05, 2009

ATLANTA, Ga.--The 2009 National Ethnic Media Awards Banquet on June 4, 2009 brought ethnic media together to celebrate the new face of American journalism in the 21st Century, with ethnic media more powerful and integrated into American society.

Despite the recession, the banquet, co-sponsored by New America Media (NAM) and the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, attracted 500 media professionals from around the country to the South, where ethnic media started and continue to expand.

Echoing the events theme of Ethnic Media Working Together to Build a Stronger Sector, award winners at the banquet were not only recognized for their outstanding journalistic work, they were also motivated to expand their influence in America's increasingly diverse society.

Today, ethnic media are on the same stage holding hands together, said Rong Xiaoqing, a reporter from New York Singtao Daily, in her acceptance speech. Separately, we are just Indians, Mexicans and Chinese, but together, we are the new America media.

Rong won her first International Affairs (In-Language Section) award with her report on adopted Chinese children returning to China and their important roles in China-U.S. relations.

Sandy Close, NAM executive director, agreed that ethnic media are now taking unprecedented roles in news reporting helping enrich the content of mainstream media during these tough times, but she hopes to see ethnic media be truly recognized as part of American journalism. In five years, I hope we dont see 'ethnic media' anymore, she said. "It'll just be media."

However, it was not easy for ethnic media to gain its status today. It took many years of hard work and passion, and for the Latino press, it took up to 200 years, as the banquet celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of the first Latino newspaper.

Juan Gonzales, director of the Voices for Justice Project, produced a video project dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the birth of Latino media. Before he presented his video, Gonzales noted in his speech that ethnic media have never stopped shaping American society. Ethnic media are often ignored when we study history of journalism in schools," Gonzales said, "newspapers of communities color are not new to the American landscape, it was long here and has been a part of American history.

As the ethnic media moved from a silent business to a representative part of the transforming American Journalism, they take part in shaping and visioning the future of American journalism, just like what E. Culpepper Clark, Dean of Grady College, described in his introduction, When we see ethnic media, we see future.

Award winners said they are looking forward to some great stories under the Obama Administration, but at the same, they intend to hold him accountable for the issues ethnic communities are concerned about, such as immigration, healthcare and the stimulus package.

NAM received over 800 entries this year, with more than 300 entries for the national competition and more than 500 for the local competitions. Entries were submitted in a dozen of languages, including Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Spanish, Polish to Arabic, on topics ranging from health, moral issues and ethnic elders.

The list of 2009 National Ethnic Media Awards winners can be found at: expo.newamericamedia.org/winners.

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