New Report by CUNY’s Center for Community and Ethnic Media Finds That NYC Government Agencies Spend Little of Their Advertising Dollars with Ethnic and Community Media

CUNY’s Center for Community and Ethnic Media uses findings in a new report to urge Mayor Bloomberg, the heads of city agencies, NYC’s Comptroller and the City Council to allocate more of the government’s advertising dollars to ethnic and community media whose combined circulation reaches 4.5 million, equal to 55 percent of the city’s population.

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The Center has come up with a number of ways that public officials – both current and future - can address the problems identified in our research. We hope there will be a constructive dialogue with them in the future.

New York, NY (PRWEB) March 03, 2013

The Center for Community and Ethnic Media (CCEM) at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism today released a “white paper” analyzing the advertising practices of New York City’s government.

Chief among the findings are:

1. New York City is currently spending about $18 million a year to convey messages about health, education, transportation, economic development, as well as job opportunities at city agencies, to the public.

2. About 82 percent of the ad budget of city agencies is earmarked for mainstream publications such as The New York Times, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, amNY and MetroNY. The rest is disbursed among smaller community and ethnic publications, many of which are published in languages other than English.

3. Although the combined circulation of community and ethnic publications is about 4.5 million, equal to 55 percent of the city’s population, they receive only about 18 percent of the city’s ad budget.

4. Hispanics make up over 28 percent of the city’s population, but in recent ad spending by NYC agencies, Spanish-language publications have garnered less than 4 percent of the total

For years, publishers of small community and ethnic newspapers have complained that New York City government agencies overlook them when choosing where to run ads about their programs and services. These newspapers comprise a significant segment of the local media market. According to the New York Press Association (NYPA), the combined circulation of 95 ethnic papers in New York City is 2.94 million, or about 28 percent of the city’s population, and the combined circulation of 80 weekly community newspapers is 1.6 million.

To weigh these concerns, CCEM interviewed city officials, advertising executives and newspaper publishers. CCEM also reviewed publicly available records, including some retrieved through Freedom of Information Law requests.

The report concludes with a series of recommendations for the Mayor’s Office, heads of city agencies, members of City Council, and the Comptroller to try to redress the imbalance in the New York City’s advertising spending, including.

  • Asking city agencies to apply language-access policies to government advertising, and to take concrete steps to ensure that their public messages are conveyed to all New Yorkers.
  • Asking City Council members to consider legislative options to ensure that government ad dollars are allocated in a way that better reflects the city's demography.

“The Center has come up with a number of ways that public officials – both current and future - can address the problems identified in our research. We hope there will be a constructive dialogue with them in the future,” says Garry Pierre-Pierre, executive director of the Center for Community and Ethnic Media.

Other findings of CCEM’s research are:

  • Of New York City’s 8.2 million residents, 37 percent were born outside the United States. Nearly a quarter of the population, or more than 1.8 million people, speak little or no English. Nearly half report to census takers that they speak a language other than English in their homes.
  • There are more than 270 publications that serve the immigrant and minority populations in the city, published in 36 languages. Eighteen of them are daily papers that are published in nine languages.
  • The city has language-access laws and executive orders on its books to ensure that essential city services are known about and understood by residents who are not proficient in English. These policies have not been applied to the city’s advertising messages.
  • The city requires all city agencies to place their ads through advertising firms that have been awarded city contracts to provide that service.
  • Two small, private ad placement firms have consistently won the city’s advertising contracts - one for 15 years, the other for 24 years.
  • Although public officials assured representatives of the Center and NYPA in 2011 that the next round of contract bidding would generate fresh competition, those two firms were again awarded new contracts.
  • The city’s ad contracts have previously been for terms of one to three years; the new contract is for five years.

To read the full report, go to http://ccem.journalism.cuny.edu/research/

The report was researched and written by Professor Sarah Bartlett, director of the Urban Reporting program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, with the assistance of Garry Pierre-Pierre, executive director of the Center for Community and Ethnic Media. Funding for the report was provided by the Charles H. Revson Foundation.


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