Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has announced an expansion of New York City’s outreach and engagement with community and ethnic media outlets across the five boroughs. The announcement 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, and a system to ensure accountability with the aim of having equitable communications across diverse ethnic, racial and geographic communities. The Mayor and Speaker will convene community-based journalists in the coming weeks to discuss these efforts.
Many New Yorkers turn to neighborhood, youth and ethnic media to get their news, frequently in languages other than English, and the de Blasio Administration is committed to providing equal access to information. Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has advocated for proactive and consistent engagement of community media, and has dedicated resources and expertise in working with the Administration to ensure inclusion of diverse outlets.
“In the city of immigrants, no person should be denied access to vital services or information due to their language. Half of all New Yorkers speak a language other than English at home. Almost one-sixth of all NYC households – 1.8 million people – are proficient in languages that are not English. Today we are ensuring that the City speaks the language of our people,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“Government has a responsibility to engage diverse media equitably so that we can communicate with a wide range of constituents,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I am pleased that we are raising the bar for the way agencies plan and execute their outreach, public service announcements and paid campaigns. By doing so, we move towards being a more inclusive city at all levels.”
“The de Blasio Administration is committed to speaking the language of multilingual New Yorkers, and as part of this outreach we must also reach them in the media outlets that are an integral part of their day-to-day lives,” said Nisha Agarwal, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “The Administration has also deepened its commitment to language access to ensure that information is made available to all New Yorkers by hiring an Executive Director at MOIA who works to implement citywide tools, training, and reporting mechanisms. 311 now also accepts complaints from New Yorkers who have experienced language barriers at City Agencies.”
“The Ethnic and Community Media Directory will strengthen the effectiveness of communications efforts throughout the city,” said Mindy Tarlow, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations. “Now communications teams have a guide that will further ensure their message is heard across the five boroughs.”
“The responsibility of ensuring that our communities have access to relevant news is shared by press and by government. This Council is interested in engaging community press sources in a real way and this commitment is memorialized in part by today’s announcement. Without a doubt, we need to remain engaged about how we strengthen our relationships with community press and by extension, with the communities that they serve. I am proud to be witness to this important first step,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Chair of the Committee on Immigration.
“The ethnic and community press plays a crucial role in our city’s diverse neighborhoods – especially to public school families who collectively speak more than 200 languages,” said Maite Junco, NYC Department of Education Senior Advisor for External Communications. “These media outlets spread out across our city are vital vehicles to reach our families and I thank the Administration for providing communication professionals in city government with an online tool to help us reach every New Yorker regardless of their zip code or language they speak.”
Historically, City Agencies’ media outreach has focused primarily on English-language outlets, in spite of the fact that New York City is the ethnic media capital of the country – with hundreds of community and ethnic media outlets speaking dozens of languages.
This trend has shifted under the de Blasio Administration, with the development of campaigns to inform all New Yorkers about IDNYC, Paid Sick Leave, and Pre-K For All, among other initiatives. Ethnic and community media were central to the outreach strategy, and the engagement and enrollment results clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of multilingual media outreach.