A Push for Ethnic Media- MOME Awards CUNY J-School$1 Million to Train Community and Ethnic Journalists

NEW YORK CITY (TIP): The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) has granted $1 million to the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism to help New York City’s community and ethnic media outlets stay competitive in the current media landscape and bring them further into the digital age. The announcement of the grant was made, Monday, June 27 by MOME Commissioner Julie Menin at a well-attended press conference at CUNY School of Journalism in Midtown Manhattan.

The funding will allow a major expansion of training opportunities for journalists working at these publications, which have an enormous readership and are of vital importance to communities around the city.

In addition, the J-School’s broadcast facilities will be officially renamed the “Made in NY Broadcast Center” in recognition of MOME’s commitment to this important element of New York’s media sector. “The diversity and breadth of New York City’s community and ethnic media reflects the diversity of our city as a whole, and it is crucially important to keep these outlets thriving,” said MOME Commissioner Julie Menin. “These publications add key perspective to our local news landscape, and they keep New Yorkers in the know – whether their native language is English or Bengali. We look forward to collaborating with the J-School on this important initiative, which builds on their history of providing excellent training for journalists at ethnic and community publications.”

“Since 2006, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism has been dedicated to opening doors for a diversity of reporters and ensuring that everyone in the media industry has access to the new tools of the trade,” said CUNY J-School Dean Sarah Bartlett. “This partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, which ensures that the community and ethnic press throughout New York City will have many opportunities to benefit from professional training sessions, recognizes and builds on the CUNY J-School’s track record.”

New York City is the ethnic media capital of the world, with more than 350 community and ethnic outlets that produce news in dozens of languages for print, radio, television and the web.

A significant portion of New Yorkers – one-third of whom are foreign-born – rely on these outlets as a key source of news and information. Combined circulation of daily and weekly community and ethnic publications reaches 4.5 million people -more than half of New York City’s population.

The CUNY J-School launched the Center for Community and Ethnic Media (CCEM) in 2012 to address the need to support these news outlets in particular, and help them tackle the unique challenges they face.

Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced an expansion of New York City’s outreach and engagement with community and ethnic media in January of this year. The initiative includes the launch of an online directory of ethnic and community media for city employees to use in outreach and informational and paid campaign efforts.

While New York’s community and ethnic outlets are a key element of the city’s media landscape, many of them are struggling to keep up with the quickly evolving world of tech-driven journalism. In addition, many of the news outlets that CCEM serves are under financial pressure.

Their employees often wear multiple hats: reporter, publisher, editor, publisher, photographer, ad salesman, and social media director. These publications are stretched thin: they often cannot afford to devote resources to professional development, and few have been able to fully migrate to a digital environment.

Through this grant, MOME will provide CCEM with the means to create new, affordable courses building on the J-School’s current offerings in subjects such as social media, video storytelling, podcasting, and broadcasting techniques. It is estimated that MOME’s grant will allow the J-School to train 200 to 300 journalists per year over five years.

Potential courses supported by this grant, which will be developed by CCEM in collaboration with the J-School’s CUNY J+ professional development division include: Multimedia and data visualization: Journalists will receive training with tools for multimedia presentation, training on Microsoft Excel, and sessions on how to effectively use data visualization. Video: Courses will focus on video storytelling for the web, the fastest-rising application in the news industry and one that is increasingly drawing the attention of advertisers.

Social media: Participating journalists will learn to use platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube effectively. They will also learn strategy around different social media platforms, and how to use analytic tools to inform content.

Podcasting: Using the “Made in NY Broadcast Center” facility, participating journalists will learn about the components of a podcast and have the opportunity to make their own.

Broadcast skills: Courses will provide journalists with training for on-camera appearances, as well as practice with public speaking and presentation skills.

The “Made in NY Broadcast Center” is composed of a high-definition TV studio and radio recording facility, all with cutting-edge equipment including DSLR cameras, video cameras and audio recorders. Training for community and ethnic media reporters will include use of camera, audio, video, and lighting.

“I join my colleague and co-director Karen Pennar in thanking Commissioner Julie Menin and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment for their very generous grant to support a new training initiative at the CUNY J-School’s Center for Community and Ethnic Media,” said J-School CCEM co-director Jehangir Khattak. “By helping this sector to adopt new technologies effectively, the Center’s training initiative will help community and ethnic media outlets improve the quality of their journalistic content, and support them in the important role they play in increasing the civic engagement of the diverse communities they serve.”