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The (Ethnic) Medium is the Message

Working on a project yesterday about diversity in the environment, I ran across a new (to me) national ethnic media resource: New America Media.

This nonprofit describes itself as “the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 3,000 ethnic news organizations,” and it’s funded by some top national foundations, including ones familiar to us in Minnesota: the Knight Foundation, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Ethnic Media in Minnesota
Part of New America Media’s network is Minnesota’s own Twin Cities Daily Planet, a project of the Twin Cities Media Alliance (which also receives support from local philanthropies, including the Bush Foundation, The McKnight Foundation and The Minneapolis Foundation).

The Twin Cities Media Alliance publishes a Minnesota Ethnic Media Directory and offers citizen journalism classes and media skills workshops.  Here’s a snapshot of its work:

Why Diverse Media, Anyway?
If you’ve read this far, you might still be wondering, why are these diverse media outlets important?  You might be thinking: “If our nonprofit gets mentioned in the Strib or on MPR (or if we’re on Facebook), won’t we automatically achieve our outreach goals?”

I could write an entire post about defining and segmenting target audiences, but for now, I’ll just refer us to Marshall McLuhan’s now famous concept: “The medium is the message.”   Quite simply, we should never underestimate the vast social implications and overriding influence of the media vehicles that we choose to deliver our nonprofit news.

So who are your constituents and which communities do they represent?  And which ethnic media outlets do they prefer?  Think about this as you develop your outreach strategies . . . and explore diverse media options in Minnesota and beyond.

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