Honoring New Yorks community press

What do these headlines have in common?

Undocumented Filipino workers speak out against Filipino employers,” “Special report on Golden Venture: commemorating the tragedy that left 10 dead and 300 undocumented immigrants arrested,” “Brendan and Todd’s wedding,” “To recover a child: a family’s fight with Child Services,” and “Boy’s death in fire follows landlord neglect.”

All these stories won top awards at the “Ippies” – the New York Independent Press Association’s awards for excellence in the ethnic and community press. The awards were announced at the IPA-NY’s 2nd annual conference and awards dinner on Oct. 23.

The rich diversity of New York’s ethnic and community press was recognized with winners including the Chinese-language Sing Tao Daily; the Bronx-based community biweekly The Norwood News; nationally distributed Nowy Dziennik/Polish Daily News; the Irish Voice; and the volunteer-driven The Brooklyn Rail. A complete list of this year’s prizewinners will be available soon at www.indypressny.org.

Danny Schecter, the evening’s emcee, had this to say about the awards dinner on his mediachannel.org: “It was just so impressive. Many of the papers serve immigrants and New York neighborhoods that are poorly covered by the city’s dailies. IPA-NY does a great job of providing practical workshops and guidance to these papers.”

The dinner followed a day of valuable training for the publishers, editors, journalists and ad salespeople in the ethnic and community press to help them survive and succeed in the competitive New York publishing industry.

The dinner’s keynote speaker was Benjamin Todd Jealous, director of Amnesty International USA’s Human Rights Program and former director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the Black newspaper association. He emphasized the importance of social justice journalism and the prominent role that the ethnic press plays in reporting on human rights violations.

Many of the winning articles dealt with issues of exploitation of undocumented immigrants in the workplace, low-income tenants by greedy landlords, and students in low-income neighborhoods by military recruiters. The writers often reported on the injustices suffered by their communities and ways in which community members are organizing to fight back.

IPA-New York translated all articles into English before giving them to the team of judges. Judges were Wayne Barrett, Village Voice; Deepa Fernandes, Free Speech Radio News; Carolina Gonzalez, New York Daily News and a member of the New York Hispanic Journalists Association.

IPA-NY is a 90-member nonprofit organization of ethnic and community periodicals. Among other things, it publishes “Many Voices, One City,” a comprehensive guide to New York-area publications serving 60 ethnic groups in 42 languages.