Why One Public Hearing Could Change the Face of Media

The future of media might not depend as much on big, sexy items like data, technology, and infrastructure as it may on a little thing called inclusion. Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D- District 38, New York) may help lead the way, empower various media outlets and drive advertising revenue conversations all at the same tim. And if his plans pan out, he just may influence an entirely new approach to media in our country that will truly reflect new U.S. demographics.

By 2023 the U.S. Census Bureau projects that more than half of all children will be "minorities." Minorities, classified as those of any race other than non-Hispanic, single-race whites, currently constitute about a third of the U.S. population, according to Census figures. But by 2042, they are projected to become the majority, making up more than half the population. By 2050, 54 percent of the population will be minorities. It gets even more interesting. According to Pew Research Center, immigrants and their descendants will drive most U.S. population growth in the coming 50 years, as they have for the past half-century. Among the projected 441 million Americans in 2065, 78 million will be immigrants and 81 million will be people born in the U.S. to immigrant parents. This means that the current state of print/digital media from gatekeeper to owner to interview subject - and the ad dollars funding it - will have to change drastically in order to serve and even be relevant to most people in the United States.

Enter Councilman Menchaca.

Lauded now as a champion for ethnic and immigrant media, Councilman Menchaca is on a mission. He is the first Mexican American elected to New York City Council, and in securing his position, he realized how important proper media outlets were to getting his message to various demographics. "It became very clear, very fast that the message pipeline is bifurcated," explains Councilman Menchaca. "During my campaign, I learned that the ethnic media is very unique an has a very intimate relationship with their readers, often being the main and sometimes the sole key for providing their communities with vital information. " Armed with such knowledge and overall concerns, he was drawn to and became the Chair of the Committee on Immigration of the New York City Council. He was adamant about using this knowledge about information sharing as it pertains to this media sector and its challenges added it front-and-center to his agenda. Once the financial situation with El Diario set the framework for urgency, Menchaca created a public hearing and used it as a launch as commitment to solving a veritable Pandora's box around ethnic and immigrant media ranging from a perceived lack of relationship with local government to lack of advertising, and more.

"There is a revolution happening in media, overall, as we know," adds Menchaca. "The former gatekeepers are not as relevant as they once were. We're not yet there, as a city, in terms of filling in gaps and supporting as change takes place, but I want to ensure that we are working productively toward that end. This is particularly challenging as even government faces its own evolution, as well."

But none of this seems to dissuade Councilman Menchaca. His goal is nothing less than to support a fully self-acutalizing ethnic and diverse media in New York City. "What we're working on now is how, within the next year, time, energy, and resources will flow regarding this matter so that we can measure true change."

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