Immigrant Media for Immigrants

Fed up with corporate media neglect–and even abuse–of such issues, the New Routes to Community Health program has announced (Business Wire, 9/30/08) a “new model for improving the health of immigrants in the United States using media created by immigrants”:

Eight diverse immigrant-led collaborations across the United States each are receiving $225,000 over three years to create locally focused media and outreach campaigns that speak directly to immigrants’ health concerns at the community level.

In the eight communities, immigrant groups, media makers and prominent community institutions are working together to produce original content in English as well as in immigrants’ first languages….

Projects include telenovelas about treating mental health issues in Boston’s Haitian community, a social marketing campaign to improve the working conditions of domestic workers in the San Francisco Bay Area, and DVD vignettes to help Chinese elderly navigate the healthcare system in Los Angeles.

The contrast with corporate media mores couldn’t be more starkly apparent than when looking at the group’s plans for its output: “Media content created by the eight projects will be housed at www.newroutes.org and be available for any community to use.”