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Alice Tait, Central
Michigan University, Co-editor of the series
What do we mean, restore the public trust? What trust? Who do we trust? Why do we trust them, and have we ever trusted them? Those are some of the questions our panelists are going to answer for you this afternoon.
The other question is, if we don’t trust them, what have we done as a result of that? . . . the panelists will answer that question with respect to their involvement with their ethnic media.
First, I’d like to talk to you about a survey that was revealed in June by the New California Media entitled “The Ethnic Media in America: The Giant Hidden in Plain Sight.” It’s the first comprehensive survey of its type looking at the audiences of ethnic media and how they feel about their relationship to ethnic media, as well as their relationship to mainstream media. And here are a few of the major findings.
The study revealed the striking impact of ethnic media in the United States. Forty-five percent of all African American, Hispanic, Asian American, Native Americans and Arab Americans adults prefer ethnic television, radio, or newspapers to their mainstream counterparts. These primary consumers also indicated that they access ethnic media frequently. This means that a staggering 29 million adults—45 percent of the 64 million ethnic adults studied, or a full 13 percent of the entire adult population of the United States—prefer ethnic media. Eighty percent of the ethnic media population studied is, in fact, reached by ethnic media.
Where Ethnic Groups Get Their News
Even though the ethnic media population studied tended to rely on the ethnic media for information about their communities and countries of origin, African Americans, Asian Americans, Arab Americans and Native Americans prefer the mainstream media when it comes to information about politics and the United States government. Hispanics were the only group studied who prefer ethnic media to mainstream media for their information about political affairs.
There’s a little more information about their relationship with certain news organizations. Four of the five ethnic groups studied trust CNN more than Fox News to deliver accurate news and information. Arab Americans and Asian Americans prefer CNN to Fox News by a more than 4-to-1 ratio, Hispanics, 2-to-1, African-Americans by 4-to-3 also trust CNN, but by a smaller ratio. Native Americans are evenly divided in their opinion about the objectivity of the two major cable networks.
Let me give you a few facts about the consumption habits of each of the groups that came away from this survey.
Hispanics—Spanish language and television has universal reach. There’s a growing penetration of Spanish-language newspapers. Hispanics tend to have very low access to the Internet.
For African-Americans, there’s a strong penetration of African-American radio. There is substantial reach of African-American newspapers, and there’s average access to the Internet.
Asian Americans—there’s strong reach of Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese newspapers. There’s significant reach of Filipino weekly newspapers, there’s significant reach of Asian Indian monthly publications, growing penetration of Korean and Chinese television, and they have high access to the Internet.
For Arab Americans, Arab television was the most popular medium, and they have very high access to the Internet. For Native Americans, tribal newspapers are the most popular media, and they have average access to the Internet.