Changes in the ethnic press

As a former newspaper copy editor, I lament the alarming decline of print journalism. Still, change is inevitable, and some news publications will adapt well—or they already have. Kirk Semple in The New York Times* today reports on plans to shut down the Ming Pao Daily News. This is not quite as terrible as it sounds, because Ming Pao produces a free almost-daily newspaper that is expected to continue, and there are three other Chinese-language dailies in New York.

It seems to me that Semple is pushing a bit of a skeptical attitude toward  Ming Pao’s prospects. It may be warranted; barely a day goes by that I don’t refer to the world going to hell in a handcart. But for people who care about disappearing newspapers, the most important thing is to think creatively about the future. Fighting change is futile; trying to influence it is the way to go.

In 2001, according to the Gotham Gazette, the New York ethnic press comprised nearly 200 magazines and newspapers in 36 languages—the largest number in the city’s history. I’m sure that has declined substantially; I’ll try to find out. You can link to some of them through New America Media; that’s a handy resource that wasn’t available in 2001.

*Now, if the New York Times were to go online only—a possibility I refuse to take seriously—it would drastically alter my life. But I can see a bright side to that.

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