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Pioneering Media Collaboration
for America's 21st Century

Sandy Close

     San Francisco - "We are engaged in the creation of a media collaboration America has never seen," says New California Media's (NCM) visionary and director Sandy Close.

     Journalists, commentators, photographers and community leaders were honored at this year's New California Media Expo & Awards 2001, featuring the only multilingual, ethnic media awards event in the U.S.

     Close, executive editor of the non-profit Pacific News Service, founder of NCM says, "In forming NCM, ethnic media are breaking out of their isolation and connecting with one another, across language and cultural borders. In this way ethnic media confound the notion of "ethnic" as insular and parochial and become catalysts for a truly global society." "In the midst of a fiercely competitive multi-media environment, ethnic media are exploring to serve [California's] new majority."

     Close's mission is applauded by many who see ethnic populations, buying power and influence dramatically expanding in America. Her vision and leadership at NCM is financially backed by some of the nation's top foundations including the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation. (See article on Ethnic buying power)

Alberta Lee

   A special honoree, Alberta Lee, received an "Exceptional Communicator" award for her courageous and successful efforts to defend her father, Dr. Wen Ho Lee, against unfounded espionage charges. Lee described how she had turned to and received support from the Chinese- and English-language ethnic media "which stood up to the mainstream press and made me realize how great this country is and what it stands for." Lee talked of the chilling prospects that without the advocacy role played by the Chinese- and English language Asian media in America, her father would probably still be in prison, unfairly accused of espionage.

     "It was an awakening that racial profiling can happen to Asian Americans today. I was really ashamed of my country and not until the judge apologized did I feel proud of being an American again." Lee received a B.A. in English at UCLA in 1995, and plans to attend law school in 2002. She grew up in Los Alamos, New Mexico and currently works as a technical writer in the San Francisco Bay Area.

     AsianConnections.com was an NCM invitee to showcase its new media network at NCM's first-ever Expo. NCM transformed several floors and the main theatre of the Masonic Auditorium atop San Francisco's Nob Hill. Media booths, workshops, an evening gala awards ceremony, elegant cocktail receptions and gourmet buffet dining, were all well orchestrated and designed to optimize networking opportunities. "New" online media; "old" mainstream media; and ethnic media mixed together with ad agencies, advertisers, public officials, community organizers and citizens.

     California's Governor Grey Davis, San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, and Secretary of the California Technology, Trade and Commerce Agency Lon Shoso Hatamiya were among dozens of public officials attending the event.

     NCM aims to raise the visibility of the ethnic news media and its accessibility to the advertising dollar, as well as promote inter-ethnic collaboration. Today NCM hosts a weekly television show; a Web site that includes briefs drawn from NCM members as well as original stories by PNS and NCM editors, available as part of an inter-ethnic media exchange; monthly briefings bringing newsmakers together with the ethnic media; and a placement service to funnel advertisements to NCM members on a one-order, one-bill basis.

     NCM was founded by the non-profit Pacific News Service in 1996. NCM has received support from numerous sponsors including E21Corp, Bank of America, The California Endowment, The Asia Foundation, Chinadotcom and the AOL Time Warner Foundation. NCM has received major funding from the James Irvine Foundation, Ford Foundation, Evelyn and Walter Haas Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, Community Technology Foundation, Pew Center for Civic Journalism and the Rosenberg Foundation.

 

 


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