Money & Business

Minority Newspaper Groups Raise Agency Advertising Concerns

By / Mar 29, 2016 (Olu Eletu/StockSnap)

Two industry groups representing publishers that produce newspapers for minority groups say that federal agencies have largely ignored them in placing ads. The groups have formed an alliance and made the matter a key point of a recent legislative fly-in.

The groups that represent publishers of traditional newspapers created for black and Hispanic audiences have a message for Washington: Don’t forget about us.

Recently, members of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), which represents African-American-owned community newspapers, and the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP) went to Washington, DC, to highlight an apparent oversight among federal agencies: the fact that their papers are often forgotten when it comes to advertising, even though government agencies frequently advertise in other newspapers each year.

The two associations created an alliance over the issue and made it the key point of their legislative fly-ins, which took place during the same time earlier this month.

“This historic media alliance is a gigantic step for our two organizations,” NNPA President and CEO Benjamin Chavis said in a statement. “We believe our working together has tremendous potential mutual benefits in today’s marketplace.”

The groups have a shared ally—Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), who pledged to ask the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate advertising by federal agencies in black- and Hispanic-owned publications.

“I’m requesting a report from an objective arm of the federal government, the GAO. We’re asking them to conduct a study of the federal agencies whose outreach is to people of color,” Norton said earlier this month, according to District Chronicles. “We don’t want our federal agencies to forgo their mandate and responsibilities. There is a mandate to engage small businesses. We want to discuss if that is, in fact, taking place. There’s no more authentic or trusted way to do so than to engage the black and Hispanic press.”

NAHP Vice President Martha Montoya emphasized that the publications of the two associations’ members, while not targeting a general audience, nonetheless have a significant reach. Combined, they reach 43 million U.S. readers each week.

“With close to 97 million African Americans and Hispanics in the U.S. today, representing 33 percent of the total population, this consumer segment demands attention,” Montoya said in a statement. “The buying power of the African-American and Hispanic communities, currently at more than $2.3 trillion combined, continues to outpace the national average.”

While advertising by federal agencies is of great concern to the associations, it isn’t their only shared issue. NNPA and NAHP will also team up in a nonpartisan get-out-the-vote campaign leading up to the 2016 general election in November.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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