The presence of ethnic media sources is a reflection of the Texas' population and demographics, as is evident from the high number of Spanish and African American outlets.
This is in line with the national trend as Hispanic and African American publications make up half the ethnic press in the US. Such sources in Texas include Al Día Dallas, the largest Spanish language newspaper in North Texas with an average weekly distribution of 250,000, and the Houston Forward Times, an African American award-winning and historic weekly newspaper which boasts a paid circulation of roughly 65,000.
African American media provide a unique perspective and direct line into their community. For example, the philosophy of the weekly Dallas Post Tribune newspaper is: “The Black Press believes that America can best lead the world away from racial and national antagonism when it accords to every man, regardless of race, color or creed, his/her human legal rights. Hating no man, fearing no man, the Black press strives to help everyone in the firm belief that all are hurt as long as any are held back.”
However, Texas is also home to other ethnic groups, many of whom speak languages other than English. According to the 2009-2013 American Housing survey, of the nearly 24 million people in Texas five years or older, 65 percent speak only English at home. The rest speak more than 160 languages combined. The top three languages spoken in Texas other than English are Spanish (6,983,380), Vietnamese (193,408) and Chinese (140,971). Rounding out the top ten other languages in Texas are Tagalog, German, French, Hindi, Urdu, Korean and Arabic.
By monitoring ethnic media sources, MIREMS removes language and cultural barriers so that non-English speaking communities can be heard, offering insight into how and what they think about a range of social and political issues.
All ten of these languages are represented in the ongoing sample of ethnic media sources that MIREMS has compiled in Texas. The sample contains 64 sources covering 13 language groups: African, African American, Arabic, Chinese, Filipino, German, Korean, South Asian English, Spanish, Tamil, Urdu and Vietnamese. Most prominent are the number of Spanish (15), Vietnamese (11), African American (9) sources.
The number of Asian sources reflects the fact that the percentage of Asian immigrants to Texas has more than doubled in recent years, from 17.3 percent in 2005 to 40.4 percent in 2013. For example, DKNET Radio AM 730 broadcasts Korean language programming to more than 100,000 Koreans every day in Dallas and nearby areas. Founded in 1976, the World Journal is the most influential Chinese-language newspaper in North America and is published in various major US cities including Dallas.
Urdu is also represented in MIREMS’ sample with six sources in Houston, including the Urdu Times, which is North America’s first Urdu newspaper as well as the largest circulated Urdu publication in the world outside of Pakistan. It simultaneously publishes out of multiple US cities including Houston.
For the South Asian community, Sangeet Radio celebrates a leading position in Houston and surrounding areas as one of the longest running, multicultural radio programs of its kind. Its distinct programming reaches out to over 500,000 listeners throughout Houston and the city’s surrounding areas. According to The Express Tribune, the first internationally affiliated newspaper in Pakistan, “What truly sets Sangeet apart is its dedicated hour-long political show, which has been launched keeping in mind that the US elections are right around the corner.” Saeed Gaddi, who started Sangeet Radio in May 1997, explains: “From 7 to 8pm, we have a political show to accommodate American politicians, both local as well as congressional candidates, so that they can talk about the community’s issues.”
Many other ethnic media sources are also expressing their political opinions, including the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung, established in 1852 as the first German newspaper in Texas. It published an opinion piece in January of this year titled “Democrats have good candidates”, discussing how U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke held livestream events all over the state and saying “there’s much for Democrats and other progressives to be excited about” in the New Year.
Our sample collection of ethnic media sources in Texas includes 40 newspapers: 4 monthly, 1 twice monthly, 25 weekly, and 10 daily. This means that, out of MIREMS’ sample list, 95 ethnic newspaper issues are published each week. The remaining 24 sources are websites, TV and radio programs. As shown by the population demographics in Texas, the state’s ethnic media sources are worth paying attention to in order to listen to voices the communities which are making themselves heard in multiple languages.
As Florida’s population continues to rise—scheduled to reach 26 million by 2030—and some cities and counties already exist as minority-majority communities, it’s no surprise that the means of communication in those communities is becoming more and more important. Not just for those living in the communities, but anyone hoping to work with, influence, support, learn from or communicate with them.
More than 27 percent of Floridians speak a language other than English. And it’s more than just Spanish.
In Hallandale Beach, 25 percent of the cities 40,000 residents speak a language other than English or Spanish at home. It’s projected that 6.2 million Floridians will speak a language other than English at home by 2030.
From Russian papers with no online presence, Haitian weeklies stacked in corner stores and pirate radio stations, there’s a huge presence of ethnic media and the diverse voices they carry in the state of Florida.
Florida is home to the US’s second highest Russian population with 260,000 people. Sunny Isles, which has a weekly Russian newspaper called Express Courier, has seen many Russians arrive over the past 20 years and it has experienced an increase in recent years due to conflict in the region.
Little Haiti, aka “Lemon City”, has a large population of Haitian exiles as well as other Caribbean immigrants. Haitian-Creole is spoken widely in the area.
Florida’s largest language increases have come from Middle-Eastern languages like Pashto, and Asian languages have seen a 47 percent increase from 2005-2015.
Two main ethnic groups, Latino and African American, make up almost half of the ethnic press in the US. Florida also contains a large number of Spanish media, including well established daily newspapers such as El Nuevo Herald (with a circulation of 48,079) and Diario Las Americas weekly.
The African American newspapers include the likes of The South Florida Times and The Miami Times (with a circulation of 80,000).
MIREMS sources comprise of upwards of 250 ethnic media editions or broadcasts published or produced every week.
Written by Caora McKenna
A month ago, MIREMS reviewed how ethnic media is discussing immigration reform in the US. We saw how immigration reform was widely seen as a divisive wedge issue and how, contrary to the perception that it mostly affects Hispanics, each ethnic minority feels the impact on members of their community.
With the March 5 deadline for an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program come and gone - thus rendered merely symbolic by court action - there is still no permanent solution for the Dreamers in sight. In fact, the deadline passed almost unnoticed in the ethnic media, where not only the Parkland shooting and calls for gun control but also reports on Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) raids and abuses, Trump's war on sanctuary jurisdictions, and growing fear of deportation in the immigrant community dominated the news.
The national Spanish TV station Univision has almost daily reports on raids by immigration authorities and their impact on the Hispanic population. Many immigrants, even with legal papers, are afraid to drive, take public transit and go to work after news spread that ICE was conducting operations on buses and at work places. "A nut factory outside Fresno lost 5-10 percent of its employees when a raid was announced, even though the employer checks all employees' status on e-Verify as required" (Univision, New York, 1 Mar. 2018).
While the Hispanic weekly La Raza denounced that ICE was targeting Dreamers for arrest (La Raza, Chicago, 6 Mar. 2018), the weekly Hoy Los Angeles criticized immigration authorities for separating children from their parents at the border as "cruel and unnecessary" (Hoy Los Angeles, 5 Mar. 2018).
Univision reported that only 2,000 out of 11,000 unaccompanied minors who filed asylum claims were accepted because many are unable to articulate their legitimate fears well enough (Univision, New York, 1 Mar. 2018).
The Vietnamese daily Viet Bao reported on an incident where 92 Somalis were shackled at the wrist, waist and legs for over 48 hours during their deportation, were not allowed to use the rest room and were beaten and threatened (Viet Bao, Los Angeles, 7 Mar. 2018). Also according to Viet Bao, Vietnamese immigrants across the country have filed a lawsuit alleging US authorities are rounding them up and holding them in detention facilities for deportation even though Vietnamese immigrants who came to the US before 1995 cannot be deported (Viet Bao, 1 Mar. 2018).
The national Chinese daily paper Sing Tao reported on the conflicts between mayors of sanctuary cities like Oakland and New York on the one hand and national authorities on the other. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned undocumented residents of an ICE operation in 77 California businesses and identified ICE activities as a tactic to create fear (Sing Tao USA, New York, 26 Feb. 2018). Chinese organizations, including Chinese For Affirmative Action and Chinese Progressive Association, participated in a demonstration outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in San Francisco in solidarity with the more than 10,000 undocumented Chinese migrants in San Francisco (Sing Tao Daily, San Francisco, 1 Mar. 2018).
The expiration of the DACA deadline was reported in Voice of America Vietnamese, which noted that options for a resolution were "on the back burner" and the White House apparently expecting a Supreme Court victory (VOA, Washington, DC, 6 Mar. 2018). The weekly Russian Bazaar was hopeful that the court rulings meant that DACA beneficiaries could renew their permits indefinitely, would not be deported and would eventually get permanent residence, even if it is under the next president (Russian Bazaar, New York, 28 Feb. 2018).
However, Spanish media including the Miami daily El Nuevo Herald did not believe President Trump's assurance that Dreamers "don't need to worry" about deportation and feared that their migratory limbo could be "lethal in the anti-immigrant era of Trump" (El Nuevo Herald, Miami, 6 Mar. 2018). Hoy Los Angeles and La Raza reported on high rates of anxiety and depression among Latino parents and adolescents and avoidance of medical attention, police help and social services support due to fear of immigration authorities and family separation on the part of both legal and undocumented residents (Hoy Los Angeles, 1 Mar. 2018; La Raza, Chicago, 2 Mar. 2018).
Meanwhile, Haitian and African American media focused on a lawsuit by Haitian and Salvadoran immigrants who claim President Trump's cancellation of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians, Salvadorans and Nicaraguans was racially motivated (South Florida Times, Fort Lauderdale, 1 Mar. 2018, and Haitian Voice of America, Washington, DC, 2 Mar. 2018).
While the DACA deadline passed with little notice or end in sight, immigration issues remain a central preoccupation of the ethnic media. Each community has its own concerns and perspectives, which are reflected in the papers, websites, radio station and TV programs they turn to for news, analysis and perspectives relevant to their own lived experience.
At MIREMS, we continue to tap into these voices, and make them accessible to decision makers. For immigrants - undocumented or not - and their families, raising their voices is more imporatant now than ever.
More than one in five Americans speak a language other than English at home. From majority-minority populations in California to small but mighty Brazilian communities in Marlborough, Massachusetts, they make up part of 63.2 million American residents who think and speak and even work in a language other than English.
Over the past month MIREMS consultants dove into these communities via the newspapers and radio stations they use to communicate with each other and the world around them. The headlines that topped mainstream media stories found their voice in the immigrant communities they were talking about. The volatile navigation of immigration reform is having a big moment right now, and the country’s ethnic and multilingual media is certainly along for the ride.
Italian sources focused on President Trump and immigration. The Italian outlet America Oggi from Norwood, New Jersey says Trump’s “wedge politics” which are “pitting illegal aliens and Americans against each other,” keeps the Dreamers issue “controversial.” The source also had regular cover of Russia related issues, and Trumps state of the union address.
Smaller language groups wrote about their place within immigration reform. Chicago’s Polish Dziennik Zwiazkowy, with a circulation of 30,000, called for “The abolition of visas for Poles” as a “matter of honor and national pride.”
A column in a Korean outlet in Atlanta, The Korea Daily says that “a popular perception is that Trump's anti-immigration policy targets mainly Latinos - which is wrong.” The article says “the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been arresting Asian immigrants over criminal records as old as 20 years.” It continues saying “Asian rights advocate groups have been emphasizing that Asian immigrants must make a collective voice against discrimination, as the popular perception of Asian immigrants as a ‘silent group’ undermines their political power in the States.”
A Punjabi source in New York, The Daily Hamdard, joined the “us too” discussion, reporting that 40 percent of foreign born tech workers in Seattle, the home of Microsoft, are from India. Punjab Radio USA, broadcast out of San Jose, also commented on immigration reform noting that among the “6,90,000 undocumented immigrants, who came to the US as minors...are several thousand people of Indian descent.”
Vietnamese source Viet Bao from Los Angeles reported on the pockets of the labor force with large proportions of immigrants, namely construction. The article notes that while the “majority of immigrants originate from Latin America, Hawaii attracts mostly immigrants from Asia.” It warns of sweeping changes in immigration as right now “immigrant workers comprise over one quarter of the work force, the highest ever since the American Community Survey (ACS) first established its tracking records.”
Not to be forgotten, the Spanish media is robust: Sources in Florida and California have larger readerships that some of the country’s largest English publications. As headlines in the past month have been focused on immigration, unsurprisingly, the Spanish media has been highly critical of the current state of affairs. From editorials discussing the “cruel” treatment of Salvadorians in Miami’s El Nuevo Herald titled “In our opinion: The end of TPS demands a humanitarian solution,” to the Diario de Mexico in New York calling it “another hit” to an already troubled group, coverage of the Trump’s cancelling of the TPS was critical and empathetic. Articles offered advice and messages of solidarity.
As immigration remains on the forefront of national and local politics, these local multilingual, often immigrant run media will be paying close attention. The question is whether or not you should be listening to them, too.
Written by Caora McKenna