NCM Awards Show Is Launching Pad
for First National "Ethnic Pulitzers"


San Jose, CA: New California Media is going national. Just before changing its name to New America Media, the San Francisco-based group threw its 7th Annual Awards ceremony, celebrating the best journalism in California's ethnic media, on Jan. 26 in San Jose.
The sold out banquet boasted an audience of 800, and included journalists, advertisers, community advocates and elected officials - from California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson to media leaders like Hardy Brown, publisher of San Bernardino's Black Voice news and Rick Rodriguez, president of the American Association of Newspaper Editors and editor of the Sacramento Bee.
"The award winners kept repeating 'New America Media,'" said executive director Sandy Close, "as if the name magnified all of us in the room by putting us on the national stage."
The ceremony celebrates ethnic media of all types; television, print, radio and Internet news organizations submit entries in multiple categories, including health care, investigative reporting, youth voices and international affairs. Many of the stories focus on immigrant tales of successes and obstacles in their new country. Winners reported stories ranging from an underground economy of cars sold to illegal immigrants - to Indian American men falling victim to extortion through exploitation of Indian dowry laws.
Congressman Mike Honda, a speaker at the event, said the role of journalists as "rabble rousers" is important to raise questions on topics Americans seldom consider. He points to former Army Chaplain Capt. James Yee, an awardee at the event, as one example.
Capt. Yee served the Muslim detainees in Guantanamo Bay as a chaplain. He was arrested on espionage charges and spent 76 days in solitary confinement.
Bernard Lloyd, an advertising representative at Los Angeles Sentinel, a weekly serving the African American community, said he read Yee's story in a major newspaper and thought, "This guy is going to spend the rest of his life in jail." He read another, he said, and thought, "This guy is definitely going to spend the rest of his life in jail." Only after picking up the Japanese-American paper Rafu Shimpo did he read an account of the story that was less "cut and dry," Lloyd said.
Yee was eventually cleared of all charges and was given an honorary discharge from the Army.
Lloyd also said Sandy Close made a "great idea" come to life through organizing the ethnic media. He compared NCM with the more established New York Press Club, saying the California upstart is earning its way to national recognition. Close's outfit represents publications "never recognized outside their own communities," he said.
Public relations consultant Lee Callaway and husband of honoree Tami Adachi of PG&E, said "more people need to be aware of how important it is to work with ethnic media."
At the ceremony, New America Media also announced the First National "Ethnic Pulitzers," scheduled for November 14, 2006 in Washington, DC.

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