2003 NCM EXPO & Awards Celebrate Ethnic Media’s Vital Role in American Communications

NCM, Press Release,
NCM, Nov 26, 2003

Over 2,000 Attendees plus hundreds of exhibitors, speakers and civic leaders convene at conference hosted by the country’s most diverse media network

Photos from NCM EXPO (1) & the NCM Awards (2)

San Francisco – November 25 – On November 18th and 19th, more than 200 media outlets serving California’s millions of ethnic and minority residents gathered to mark New California Media’s annual EXPO and Awards. They were joined by representatives of ethnic media from Houston, Miami, Atlanta and New York, as well as over 2,000 representatives of mainstream and youth media, advertising and multicultural marketing agencies, elected officials and NGO leaders who came to meet the communicators of California’s new majority communities.

“Such a rich collection of ethnic media I have never seen in my life, and everyone was enjoying it. The oneness of the EXPO was something to see,” said Vivek Sharma, senior manager of the New York-based publication India Abroad.

For this year’s heavy turnout from the business and advertising sectors, “the exuberance and diversity of the EXPO was eye-opening,” said PG&E ethnic media outreach coordinator Claudia Mendoza. As the country’s largest event showcasing ethnic media, the NCM EXPO & Awards offer one-stop access to the publications, broadcast stations and websites serving a dizzying range of audiences from Afghan to Vietnamese, and constituting the fastest-growing sector of the media landscape today. “The [EXPO] leaves me even more convinced than ever that we are on the edge of an enormous change,” said Lawrence Wilkinson of the corporate and venture strategy firm Heminge and Condell.

The NCM Awards, dubbed “the Ethnic Pulitzers” by the News Hour with Jim Lehrer, were presented at a gala banquet at the Westin St. Francis hotel on November 18th. Emceed by ABC7 news anchor Thuy Vu, the ceremony honored 19 ethnic media journalists in categories ranging from investigative reporting to health and environmental coverage. The NCM Awards constitute the first multi-ethnic awards program in the country to recognize journalistic excellence in non-English language media. Tavis Smiley of The Tavis Smiley Show on National Public Radio also received a Special Communicator Award, along with Bill Imada of the Asian American advertising and public relations firm IW Group and Sandra Hernandez, CEO of the San Francisco Foundation. “I was in awe of the size, passion and intent of attendees and award recipients,” noted Melissa Bradley, founder and president of the New Capitalist, a business development and consulting firm.

The NCM EXPO itself was an all-day event on November 19th that combined general sessions and workshops with over 150 ethnic and youth media exhibitors. Guest speakers included Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, Schwarzenegger aide and spokesperson Sean Walsh, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, California State Senator Jackie Speier, Radio Unica vice president and Miami-Dade County mayoral candidate Jose Cancela, national multilingual pollster Sergio Bendixen and civil rights veteran Dr. Benjamin Chavis. Many of them addressed the vital role that ethnic media play in stimulating civic participation and diversifying communications in the U.S.

During a panel discussion on the new media ownership rules that the FCC approved this year, Commissioner Adelstein noted that there was a general lack of understanding at the federal level of how ethnic media operate, and was congratulated for reaching out to this sector by addressing the EXPO. Along with Schwarzenegger aide Sean Walsh, Mayor Brown discussed ethnic media’s ability to reach swing voters, as proven by his own experience in San Francisco, and Senator Speier addressed a group of women in ethnic media, emphasizing their role in encouraging civic participation at a time when voter participation among minorities is weakening. During a discussion on the future of Hispanic broadcast media, Cancela, who is a former top executive at the Telemundo and Univision Spanish-language television networks, said that the Hispanic media should be regulated by the FCC as a separate market from English-language media. Dr. Chavis and Russell Simmons’ Hip Hop Summit Action Network hosted a special reception for representatives of over 30 youth media organizations from Los Angeles to New York. Other workshops addressed issues ranging from multilingual polling to the future of multicultural advertising.

“What distinguished this fourth EXPO was not only the great diversity of exhibitors – we had more national representation than ever before and representatives from key American Indian and Pacific Islander media, for example – but the significant increase in participation from business, social marketing, investment and philanthropic sectors – as sponsors, speakers and attendees,” said NCM executive director Sandy Close. “From giant national companies like Boeing, Valassis, Hewett, Eli Lilly, Pfizer – to government agencies like Flex Your Power and the Peace Corps to major funders like The James Irvine Foundation, The California Endowment, The Community Technology Foundation and The Ford Foundation – we believe these attendees will be vital in spreading the word about ethnic media and growing the advertising pie.”

“It was overwhelming,” said Jinx Macabenta of the recently founded Filipino Ang Panahon Newspaper. “The sheer number of ethnic media out there came as a big surprise to me, and the networking opportunities that this event provided are invaluable to publications like ours.”

“It is clear that through NCM a spirit of dialogue and community is beginning to gel among these outlets,” noted Pete Mackey, director of public affairs at the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. “The more organization they develop, the more clout they will inevitably gather. Indeed, their energy and passion remind me of the buzz of the dot.com companies: innovative, driven, specialized and entrepreneurial. I expect that from this fresh media community will arise outlets and individual leaders who will help shape U.S. media in decades to come—not least because they represent and serve a burgeoning cross-section of the new America.”

“NCM is deeply grateful for the powerful show of support from our corporate sponsors – especially Bank of America, Southern California Edison, PG&E, Kaiser Permanente and The Boeing Company – and to our media partners who devoted time and resources to put on the EXPO” said Close. “It’s a huge boost for NCM that I know will pay off not only in new contracts for our network but in more inclusive communications overall.”

Photos from NCM EXPO (1) & the NCM Awards (2)

Additional Attendee Quotes:

“Sessions and exhibitors included everyone from a managing partner of Ogilvy Worldwide to Ben Chavis, formerly of the NAACP and now of the Hip Hop Summit Action Network, to the heads of national Latin American-oriented television and radio networks. While many of the outlets are small, serving distinct populations such as immigrants from one country living in a particular city such as San Francisco, a number of them started out that focused and have since attained national reach.” – Pete Mackey, director of public affairs, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation

“Congratulations on another successful New California Media EXPO. I regret that my schedule did not permit me to participate, but was glad to know that State Senator Jackie Speier addressed the guests at your Women as Civic Communicators breakfast. Thank you for your publication, the NCM National Ethnic Media Directory. These directories have been an invaluable resource to my offices.” – Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

“Congratulations on an outstanding EXPO. It was well-run, well-positioned and well-attended. It was by far one of the best EXPOs I have ever been to. Let me also commend you on the relationships you have brokered to make ethnic media viable and sustainable. It was quite inspiring to see the number of investment heads, sponsors and advertisers in decision making positions present.” – Melissa Bradley, founder and president of the New Capitalist

“The EXPO was a phenomenal event. My dream is to become a newscaster, and attending the EXPO opened a lot of doors toward my future plans. One thing I loved was that everyone wanted to, and were willing to listen to your dreams and hopes to see how they could help. It made me very happy to see that someone would take time to listen to me.” – Krystal Sipp, 16, The Beat Within (a publication produced for incarcerated youth)

“I very much enjoyed the opportunity and look forward to the EXPOs in the years to come. You are really doing some groundbreaking work, and it’s an honor for our foundation to be supporting this vital work.” – James Canales, CEO of the James Irvine Foundation

“The EXPO was great, as usual, only bigger and better.” – Robert Deen, managing director of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide

“It was truly an honor to learn from the ethnic and youth press. The entire event was exceptional!” – Meghann Mulherin, program director, The McCormick Tribune Foundation

“I felt honored to be appointed an [NCM Award] judge, and very proud to see those journalists I voted for win. NCM makes dreams come true for so many young talented people-as anyone could see during the ceremony!” – Emma Krasov, freelance journalist

“The ethnic media challenged corporations to do more inclusive marketing and communications. So too, the ethnic media has a responsibility to its audience to provide hard news coverage. The more you cover hard news, the more relevant it is in the eyes of the companies you become, and together our collective issues are advanced.” – Guillermo Rodriguez, senior director, Public Affairs, Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Humor for the day: “And now for the 500th award of the evening,” – Frank Quevedo, Sr. vice president of Southern California Edison while presenting an NCM award on Nov. 18th.
Over 2,000 Attendees plus hundreds of exhibitors, speakers and civic leaders convene at conference hosted by the country’s most diverse media network

Catherine Black
[email protected]