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Success in recession for new ethnic media, Diversity Forum hears

Aug 25th, 2009 | By | Category: Diversity, Featured Article, Front Page Layout, News

Dev Nadkarni Editor in Chief Indian Weekender005AN Auckland Indian community paper has proved doubters wrong by launching in the middle of the recession – and will now move to the Capital.

“People  said we were either fools or absolute brave hearts,” says Indian Weekender editor Dev Nadkarni (right).

Aiming to break even by the 24th issue, the “pulse of the Kiwi Indian” achieved it by the 10th, now has 60% advertising and is going from 32 to 40 pages.

He said the paper would be circulating in Wellington in a couple of weeks.

Mr Nadkarni was one of 40 delegates speaking at the three-day annual New Zealand Diversity Forum, run at Te Papa by the Human Rights Commission.

His presentation was during a session on ethnic media, which also heard from www.skykiwi.com chief editor Dorathy Li, whose online Chinese news website was founded by a group of Chinese university graduates in Auckland.

DorathyLiMs Li (right) said choosing a name for New Zealand’s largest Chinese community website, Tian Wei (the literal translation of Skykiwi), was a major move.

“The site has to be recognised as a Chinese website, and be in Chinese to promote [local] viewers.”

PhoebeLiA later speaker, Auckland University academic Phoebe Li (left), said Chinese media created a “virtual Chinatown”, providing a “window into the new Chinese migrant communities”.

New Zealand politics is not understood by the Chinese who “think politics are race based”, she said. So they will only trust Chinese candidates or, at best, conservative parties.

Ms Phoebe Li said Chinese media has grown to meet the demands and needs of migrants, but mainstream and ethnic media need to work more closely together.

She says in the recent Pumpkin case it was North American Chinese media who published the story of the abandoned child and her father Xue Naiyin was recognised by members of the Chinese community.

HenryHoOne major player in Auckland is WorldTV, which has been running for nine years and broadcasts on 10 pay Sky channels to viewers.

CEO Henry Ho (left) said TV3 allowed WorldTV to translate its six o’clock news, which they broadcast at 10pm.

He said mainstream media coverage of ethnic Asian events such as beauty pageants, singing competitions and annual carnivals like Chinese New Year had improved in recent years.

Human Rights Commission senior Gilbertcommunications manager Gilbert Wong (right), whose role is getting the voice of ethnic communities into mainstream media, said the Asian community currently represents nearly 19% (or 260,000) of the Auckland population.

He said this critical mass in Auckland means television channels and media outlets are running sustainable business enterprises without public funding.

NewsWire team: Tanya Wood, Greg Ford, Bonnie Turner, Owen Winter, Chrissy Southey-Willis, Chris Godfrey, Lois Westerman, Belinda Kerr-Ridge, Grace Ackland, Alex Beaumont.

PICTURES: Colin McDiarmidwww.colin.co.nz

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