Hayg Oshagan is a Professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, and Founder and Director of New Michigan Media (NMM). NMM is the collaboration of the largest ethnic and minority media in Michigan. With a combined reach of over 140,000, NMM includes the largest Arabic, Jewish, Asian, latino and AfricanAmerican weeklies in the state. The collaboration is the only one of its kind in the US, and has been active for over 8 years. Oshagan works with the publishers of the NMM papers to break down minority community silos, give a louder voice to minority concerns, share resources, and do better journalism. Ethnic media often provide the backbone of minority communities, both in reporting locally and in advocacy. As our nation becomes increasingly minority and ethnic, the role these media play becomes ever more important. Yet, they face the same challenges in reaching new and younger audiences, and understanding the digital space as do mainstream news outlets. Through multiple national grants and speaking engagements, Oshagan has been a leading advocate for ethnic and minority media. Now, more than ever, it is critically important to have a strong voice for ethnic and minority newsmedia on ONA’s board.
I am Director of New Michigan Media (NMM). NMM is the collaboration of the largest ethnic and minority media in Michigan. With a combined reach of over 140,000, NMM includes the largest Arabic, Jewish, Asian, latino and African-American weeklies in the state. The collaboration is the only one of its kind in the US, and has been active for over 8 years. I work with the publishers of the NMM papers to break down minority community silos, give a louder voice to minority concerns, share resources, raise grants (over $1.3m) and do better journalism.
Vision for ONA
My concern has always been ethnic and minority media. Both in my research and in practice, I have engaged with minority media to find solutions or at least better outcomes for the challenges these media face. As our nation becomes increasingly minority and ethnic, the role minority media play becomes ever more important. Minority media are key in creating a sense of community and solidarity by allowing one to see and hear others like oneself in the paper or on the radio, and begin to feel part of a greater community. In addition, for an ethnic community, the newspaper and radio are central in navigating an evolving identity that is both from the home nation and of the U.S. Through use of the native language as well as news of the homeland, ethnic media maintain the original, and through coverage of the new community and of the U.S., add an American identity to the original. Finally, these media are important advocates for their own communities. Minority voices are too often lost in general media coverage, emerging only in reference to some crime or other tragedy.
Minority media balance this view, and minority media publishers are important political actors within and outside their communities. These concerns should be of central importance to ONA and its membership. It has taken years for me to better understand and appreciate ethnic and minority media, the challenges they face, the role they play, the audiences they serve, and the journalism they practice. The comparison with larger mainstream media is all too often not quantitative (eg smaller staff, smaller audience), but qualitative in nature (different role, different goals). This is the perspective that I would bring to the ONA Board, and it is not one based on years of working in social media, but one of better understanding and appreciating the challenges that a critical sector of the media landscape faces.
Paula Anderin on Hayg Oshagan
Dr. Oshagan is a leader in the field of communication and has created New Michigan Media to empower and improve the voices of several communities. He believes that ethnic media are the mortar in the bricks of the community structure and are essential for a community to establish itself. New Michigan Media is committed to building bridges among ethnic, minority and immigrant communities, to creating new opportunities, and making better communities for everyone. New Michigan Media is a collaboration of Latino Press, The Michigan Chronicle, The Arab American News, The Jewish News and Michigan Korean Weekly. For more information about the organization you can visit newmichiganmedia.com