Media is an under appreciated industry. Yes, mainstream media gets a bad rap now and then — sensationalizing serious matters and trivializing people’s lives and opinions into ‘news’. But community media is not that — at least it’s not supposed to be. Community news is closer to the ground and the people its news impacts. It picks up on news mainstream media leaves on the cutting room floor or is ignorant of. It’s the voice of a people – plain and simple. Due to this arrangement, readers feel closer to its community media. Our readers, supporters, and donors have walked a long road by our side, showing their appreciation for what we do.

But then, there are others. And, yes, I’ll call them out. Not by name, but by action. Let me start by describing them. These are good people. They only want to share and spread news of something important to them. They pitch story ideas — mostly events such as fundraisiers, workshops, conferences, or launches. But, sometimes there’s a disconnect in the relationship. And that’s what I’m here to explain.

As any executive director of a nonprofit will tell you, their organization still operates as a business. They need funding to operate and provide vital services. It’s easy to forget that as a consumer or colleague. Same goes for community media. It costs several, several thousands of dollars a month to produce quality news and features. People are quick to promote an idea, expecting coverage, but slow to respond to advertising proposals in the same email string.

Trust me, we understand what it’s like to run a nonprofit or small business where there’s little to no ad dollars. But, we’ll spend tens of thousands on a fundraising event to do similar things an ad can do — promote a brand and increase visibility — essentially spending money to raise money. So, why not share the love with your community media that offers indispensable coverage of your work, industry, community and its people? Why shrink away when asked to support your own local paper? Consider developing a relationship that benefits one another.

Community media is not like other media. The IE is a community nonprofit agency, and is, in fact, the only nonprofit Asian American media of its kind in the country. Would you go to the Wing Luke Museum or ACRS as a guest or client without expecting to offer some kind of payment, insurance, or donation in return for their services?

We thank some of our long-time advertisers such as Christopher Togawa, Bonney-Watson, Uwajimaya, Mutual Fish, King County Library System, and City Produce for their support.

The IE stuck it out for nearly 40 years, longer than any other Asian American media in the NW — and relied soley on the support of the community, individuals, and its businesses. In the last few years, we endured the worst economic climate and in many ways, flourished. This is testament to a great team of people and a cause that resonates.

We don’t threaten or bully people into advertising with us — we’d rather earn your trust and support.

So the next time you plan to propose an idea, consider offering a trade. Offer something just as valuable as what you’re asking for. You might be surprised how far the support on both sides goes.

By the way, our media kit with ad rates is available on-line. 🙂

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