As the only non-profit pan-Asian newspaper on the West Coast, International Examiner works hard to inform and build bridges in our local community. So when it comes to election season, our job is to let our readers know about the issues and candidates and let them decide for whom they will vote. As a non-profit, we cannot endorse candidates or initiatives.

It has been increasingly difficult to fulfill our mission. Non-profit newspapers still need to generate advertising revenue. Like many privately owned newspapers, the bulk of our income derives from advertising. Candidates expect coverage in our newspaper, but few actually try to support that coverage by advertising.

In Dr. Julie Pham’s recent editorial, “Politicians Overlook Ethnic Media in Washington State” in New America Media, the managing editor of the local Vietnamese language newspaper, Nguoi Viet Tay Bac, shows evidence of a huge discrepancy in campaign advertising in mainstream vs. ethnic media. Based on her research with the Public Disclosure Commission Records, $3.4 million was allocated to campaign advertising last year. Of that amount, less than $25,000 was spent on ads in local ethnic media. That means less than one percent of 2009 campaign advertising spending goes to specifically target one-fifth of the state’s population.

At IE, we feel this. Each year, we see political candidates spend less and less money on campaign advertising despite the growth of the Asian Pacific American community. And in Washington, there is great potential to cultivate Asian American voters. Dr. Pham cites Washington as ranking fourth among states in the registration of Asian voters.

The pithy amount indicates politicians do not think there is enough ROI in marketing to ethnic communities. Asians do vote less often than Caucasians. But rather than using that as an excuse not to market to Asians, they could inspire Asians and minorities to vote.

Dr. Pham poses the question, “If every vote counts, why are political candidates doing so little to reach out to Washington state’s significant minority communities?”

Her editorial is being disseminated in local ethnic media statewide in a variety of languages. We hope our minority communities will ask their politicians the same question. To read her full editorial, please visit:

Diem Ly

Editor in Chief

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