Monday, November 5, 2007

Ethnic Media Cover the California Fires

Monday, November 05, 2007

Several recent stories from the New America Media (NAM) newswire illustrate the MTF Journalism Program’s interest in working with ethnic media around emergency preparedness.

“Ethnic Media Cover the Fires” is a roundup of stories from Southern California’s ethnic media on the devastation and targeted information to evacuees and those wishing to help. The Spanish-language publication Enlace reported on undocumented immigrants affected by the fire who are reluctant to seek help. In fact, many of these "invisible victims" apparently even remained in the canyons. Enlace provided information for those wishing to help these immigrants by donating tents, sleeping bags, blankets, water and food. This is a good example of ethnic media reaching very targeted audiences with practical, pertinent information.

The piece looks at other coverage of the fires too, such as the Chinese-language media. China News Service reported that at least 1,000 Chinese had been forced to leave homes. The Ming Pao Daily provided startling context by reporting that the area burned by the fires was roughly the size of Hong Kong. Another NAM story examined how the Mexican media is covering the border fires.

MTF’s Journalism Program recently made several grants targeting the ethnic media with an eye toward better preparing all sectors of U.S. society for emergencies. In addition to continued support of NAM, MTF has awarded grants to:
+ The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) to host a conference on strengthening coverage of emergency preparedness for journalists from Spanish-language news outlets in the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean.
+ The Texas State University at San Marcos to study the ability of emergency agencies in Texas and Illinois to reach Spanish-speaking populations via the ethnic media.

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