Local communities feeling underrepresented in American mainstream media flock toward ethnic media to follow the news, Majeed Babar, executive editor of Weekly Asia Tribute told convention attendees Saturday.
Babar started the Weekly Asia Tribune in 2006 to keep South Asians in the U.S. up to date on news from tribal areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan. “It’s our role to bridge the gap between communities – we’re the ones who can do translation,” he said.
Editors joining Babar for a panel discussion talked about factors keeping them better afloat while some of their purely domestic counterparts flounder.
“Mass media outlets are dependent on shareholders and non-profit media outlets are supported by founders and foundations,” said Lisa Vives, executive director Global Information Network. “Ethnic media is not beholden to any of those. We didn’t have founders that pulled out and that’s one of the reasons we’re surviving.”
Some outlets are keeping afloat by adopting different strategies to court advertisers. “We’re almost 5 years old now but we’re not making enough to cover costs,” said Navdeep Kathuria, editor-in-chief of ABCDLady, a South Asian magazine similar to Essence. “We tried to get local South Asian businesses interested but not much luck. So instead, we targeted businesses that try to target South Asian audiences – matrimonial services or companies that sell beauty products for South Asian skin and we had better luck with that.”
-- By Sindhu Sundar, New York University graduate student.