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.