ISO Asian American Magazine Readers

June 7, 2005

A survey of 2000 people of color (Asian, African American, Latino, Native American, Arab American) by New California Media found that 45% of respondents prefer to get their news through the ethnic media. They conclude that 13% of all adults in the US get most of their news through ethnic-specific outlets, and that 64 million adults have regular contact with ethnic media. We only need 1 million to subscribe to Hyphen. Heck, we'd be pretty happy with just a few hundred thousand. Okay, granted --when they say "ethnic media" they are usually referring to foreign-language tv, radio, and print. But media like Hyphen are on the rise --ethnic specific but in English. Obviously, there are huge differences between Hyphen and newspaper printed in Hindi, Chinese or Thai. We're serving an readership that has grown up here and has a different set of issues and sensibilities than a recent immigrant. And we know you're out there. So where are you, english-speaking, Asian American lovers of ethnic media? AAs are the fastest-growing ethnic minority in the US. We are well educated, a good percentage has a high income. Why isn't there a single profitable general interest magazine for Asian America out there? Hyphen isn't profitable, we're a struggling nonprofit. aMagazine died after 10 years of operation. Yolk Magazine bit the dust, too, though their t-shirt division is still operating (those shirts that say "Got Rice?"). More and more AA women's mags are out there, I guess figuring there's a big market for women trying to figure out how to put on eye shadow. Monolid is still in production, though not totally flush either --the website's main page still has an article from 2000 on it. So I pose the question: why isn't there a bigger demand for magazines like Hyphen --and our hypothetical competition? Why aren't there a range of Asian American magazines --for teens, for retirees, for the politically conservative, for the post-structuralist, for the career-minded, for the entrepeneurs? In a world where magazines like "California Fly Fisherman" sells, surely we're not overreaching ourselves.




well, one possibility might lie in the demographics that even hyphen's own staff demonstrates: asians, especially 1.5 and 2 generation, english-speaking asians are no longer concentrated in asian, or ethnic specific communitities. we're spread out all over the place and a lot of us have grown up with no asians around us.if you go to a college with an as am studies department and as am student groups, you might have an opportunity to become politicized from without. but if you don't (and i didn't) and if you don't happen to politicize yourself, then how are you going to know to seek out an ethnic magazine?
Claire raises good points. Maybe the lack of an audience for a 'general interest' AA magazine is because items of 'general interest' are already covered by 'general audience' magazines. Is there really an 'asian' perspective on Woodworking or Gardening or Windsurfing or ??? Not to suggest that AAs abandon their heritage (first - there is no singular, common 'heritage' in being asian american) but, at what point does one accept the idea that you\we are part of, in some way, that 'general' audience. Maybe there needs to be a focus on issues that are specific to AAs, not the 'AA perspective on PDAs'. And what's with names like 'Yolk' and 'Monolid'? Is this helping?So what issues are 'pertinent' to Asians? Immigration? Are there parallels\commonalities between Azns and other immigrants? Latinos? Africans? Eastern Europeans? Muslims? What about US foreign policy relative to the 'home country'? Too belicose? Not belicose enough? Trade imbalances? Outsourcing helps those 'far away' but not those 'here' and you/we are here.For Asian Americans?Being treated like an immigrant when you are not? "Do you speak English?" said loudly while leaning forward as though you are deaf. Always the 'outsider'. Do other groups experience this? Always-the-immigrant sucks - ask an ABC. Always-the-illegal-immigrant really sucks - ask a Mexican American. Do we make others 'outsiders'? What perceptions and preconceived notions do we find most annoying? What ones do we foist on our unsuspecting 'victims' when we meet them? (better not get in the elevator with that guy).Media Representation? The Model Minority versus The Troubled Minority - what does it mean to be a 'problem'?Maybe it would help if we sought to find some common ground with those 'others' that have like minds and similar problems.It would be great for Hyphen to win an award for the quality of its journalism, but you wouldn't want it to read "The best 'ASIAN' investigative journalism publication" - pretty good for an Asian guy/gal.You simply want to be 'the Best...'