Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

June 8, 2009


One World - Nearly 60 million Americans now regularly get information from ethnically oriented TV, radio, newspapers, and Web sites, many of which are published or broadcast in languages other than English -- and that number is on the rise.

As mainstream newspapers and cable news channels in the United States are losing more money, readers, and viewers each year, ethnic media appears to be "maybe the most vibrant part" of the media landscape, said pollster Sergio Bendixen, releasing the latest statistics. "The ethnic media is growing, and it is growing at a very impressive rate," Bendixen told a meeting of media producers here. . .

To determine where the 69 million Hispanics and African and Asian Americans in the United States get their information, Bendixen's company conducted a poll in eight languages -- Cantonese, English, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, Tagalog (a language of the Philippines), and Vietnamese.

They determined that more than four out of every five Americans of those ethnic backgrounds are now being informed on a regular basis by ethnic media. Many consider non-English programming their primary source of information, though most also get information from mainstream, English-language media . . .

The number of U.S. adults consuming ethnic media is up 16 percent -- from 51 million to 57 million -- since 2005, when Bendixen conducted the first poll of this sort.

Among all the ethnic print media, African American newspapers and magazines showed the sharpest rise in readership, up 42 percent since 2005. Poll respondents said coverage of national politics was a significant reason they read African American publications like the Oakland Globe. Bendixen couldn't say for sure that the candidacy and election of Barack Obama has caused this spike in readership, but he suspects the two "are linked."

Spanish-language radio is also growing across the country -- and in many non-traditional Hispanic states including North Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Washington, and New Hampshire.

The pollsters surveyed over 1,300 ethnic Americans in April and May, but due to budget constraints they did not examine the reach of Arab American, Native American, or other ethnic media outlets. . .


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