NEW YORK CITY (TIP): At a Dec. 11 roundtable with ethnic, community and independent journalists, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced the launch of an initiative to strengthen the Council’s outreach efforts to diverse media across New York City.

“My vision is for a New York City that is more equitable and inclusive -and this includes of all media,” said Mark-Viverito to a meeting attended by more than 60 representatives that covered dozens of ethnic publications, communities of color and a cross-section of neighborhoods. “We also know that editors and reporters like you are leaders in your communities and that you wear several hats – as guides to navigating a broader society, as providers of news and information that is relevant to your communities, and as advocates for their rights.”

As part of this vision, the Speaker has brought on Juana Ponce de León as Director of Media Diversity Relations, a position created specifically to provide ethnic, community and independent media with equal access to information. Ponce de León is the former Founding and Executive Director of the New York Community Media Alliance, a nonprofit organization that worked with and advocated for more than 350 publications in New York City serving the city’s immigrant and communities of color.

At the roundtable, the Speaker heard the concerns of some of the attendees, who expressed interest in more responsiveness from city agencies and fairness in the distribution of ad dollars, among other issues. The Speaker also outlined some of the Council’s achievements during the first year of her leadership, including passage of legislation to create a Municipal ID, funding for legal services for unaccompanied minors, and a stabilization fund for community-based organizations.

This is the first time that such an effort is undertaken by a New York City Council Speaker to promote a culture of media diversity and ensure that the Council’s outreach is inclusive and consistent. The roundtable was convened with the help of the Center for Community and Ethnic Media at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and is the first in a series to be held during the Speaker’s tenure.