With foundation support, NYCMA has developed a sophisticated cluster of programs to encourage informed civic participation in communities that are not well served by the mainstream media: low-income and working-class communities, communities of color, and immigrant communities where English is not the primary language. As well, the programs work to project news and analyses from these communities beyond the confines of ethnicity and the boundaries of their neighborhoods.
NYCMA's vertical model – rooted in the city's immigrant and low-income communities through the media that serve them – works. By encouraging collaboration among journalists across ethnicities and neighborhoods, NYCMA has helped forge a broader public identity as a media sector, increasingly recognized by candidates and legislators alike. As well, city governemnt agnencies, such as the Dept. of Health, the Office of Emergency Management, HPD, Consumer Affairs or the Dept. of Education, call on NYCMA to reach journalists from this media sector to attend their briefings. NYCMA also works closely with advocacy groups to help them disseminate their messages into targeted communities.
The Ethnic and Community Press Fellowship, a 10-month program offering journalists training to strengthen investigative reporting skills, networking with city and advocacy leaders for a more in-depth understanding of the issues, and help expanding their pool of resources.
Voices That Must Be Heard, a weekly online publication that culls articles from NYC's ethnic and community press, translates them into English when appropriate, reaches 4,200 direct subscribers, including mainstream journalists, advocacy groups, City and State agencies, and students. Voices projects their reporting to other communities confronting similar issues and to an audience of mainstream journalists, legislators, advocacy groups and educators who normally would not have access to this information. Voices is picked up by various listservs and through media partners is accesses by an excess of 1.2 million readers.
The Independent Press Institute (IPI) offers press briefings to ethnic and community journalists and technical workshops to editors and marketing staff. IPI press briefings are key to expanding reporters' access to information sources. Similarly, the IPI technical assistance workshops help publications navigate the difficulties of staying strong and viable, particularly in light of the inevitable media shift to the Internet.
The Ad Service draws advertisers to the network of ethnic and community newspapers, which are not always easily accessible, and brings them needed dollars, to help the publications' bottom line. As well, it serves as the gateway to the ethnic and community media for many organizations, including city government agencies, advocacy groups, health care service providers, and schools.
The Ippies Awards is the only journalism awards in NYC to honor reporting in English and in languages other than English in the ethnic and community press. The Ippies are considered a bechmark for journalism excellence and are a coveted prize for the publishers, editors, and reporters in New York City's ethnic and community press.
Many Voices, One City, now in its fourth edition and accessible online, provides contact and key information for the 300 plus ethnic and community publications in New York City and the metropolitan area, useful to advocacy organizations, government agencies, service organizations and businesses wishing to sell their services or products to the economically robust communities served by this media sector.