The Center for Community and Ethnic Media, which is housed at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, is releasing a report today on the advertising practices of New York City’s government.
The report documents how little of the city’s ad budget goes to community and ethnic publications despite their large and devoted readership. The combined circulation of the 95 ethnic newspapers and 80 weekly community papers is about 4.5 million, or 55 percent of the population, yet they receive only about 18 percent of the city’s advertising dollars.
Chief among the findings are:
* New York City is currently spending about $18 million a year to convey messages about health, education, transportation, economic development, as well as job opportunities at city agencies, to the public.
* About 82 percent of the ad budget of city agencies is earmarked for mainstream publications such as The New York Times, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, amNY and MetroNY. The rest is disbursed among smaller community and ethnic publications, many of which are published in languages other than English.
* Hispanics make up over 28 percent of the city’s population, but in recent ad spending by NYC agencies, Spanish-language publications have garnered less than 4 percent of the total
For years, publishers of small community and ethnic newspapers have complained that New York City government agencies overlook them when choosing where to run ads about their programs and services. To weigh these concerns, CCEM interviewed city officials, advertising executives, and newspaper publishers. CCEM also reviewed publicly available records, including some retrieved through Freedom of Information Law requests.
The report concludes with a series of recommendations for the Mayor’s Office, heads of city agencies, members of City Council, and the Comptroller to try to redress the imbalance in the New York City’s advertising spending.
“The Center has come up with a number of ways that public officials – both current and future – can address the problems identified in our research. We hope there will be a constructive dialogue with them in the future,” says Garry Pierre-Pierre, executive director of the Center for Community and Ethnic Media.
The report was researched and written by Professor Sarah Bartlett, director of the Urban Reporting program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, with the assistance of Pierre-Pierre. Funding for the report was provided by the Charles H. Revson Foundation.
Read the text of the full report here.