Garry Pierre Pierre, editor and publisher of the Haitian Times, was elected President of the New York Press Association’s board of directors. Other officers and directors of the board were also installed at NYPA’s Annual Meeting, held in Montreal September 10, 2011.

Pierre Pierre is the first person of color to serve as president of NYPA during its 158 year history. A former Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter for the New York Times, Pierre Pierre has served on the NYPA board of directors since 2004.

In addition to his responsibilities at the Haitian Times, Pierre Pierre also serves as project director for the newly created New York Community and Ethnic Media Center at CUNY Journalism School. The project includes a Ford Foundation grant designed to provide digital media training to members of the community and ethnic press in NYC.

Outlining his goals for NYPA in 2012 , Pierre Pierre says the result of the 2010 Census should serve as a catalyst to re-frame the diversity discussion. The population of New York has grown only 2.1% since 2000, while the Asian population in NY has grown by 32% and the Hispanic population by 8.1%.

New York’s Hispanic population is the fourth largest in the nation, totaling 3.2 million people. And since Asian Americans are clearly ahead of the curve when it comes to education and wealth, reaching these ethnic audiences is increasingly important to marketers.

No medium reaches these niche ethnic markets like community and ethnic newspapers, so Pierre Pierre says the argument for diversity needs to shift from a social good to a business imperative. “As newspaper publishers, we need to shift from just delivering numbers (household penetration and reach) to reader engagement.”

“Without content reflective of the diversity of your audience, there won’t be an audience,” Pierre Pierre says. “Diversity isn’t just a Downstate issue; communities across the state are grappling with America’s new mainstream. From Southampton to Buffalo, the faces of our communities are changing.”

“It’s easier to come up with creative ideas if you surround yourself with people who are different from yourself, which is why it is so important that the people in your newsrooms reflect the community your newspapers serve. You are all experts in helping people learn about their communities; your readers turn to you for information about zoning, education, taxes, restaurants, road closures, flu shots and more. Now, we need to pinpoint the role of our newspapers in making readers aware of the changing demographics, and how they will impact our schools, hospitals and local businesses.”

“The good news about community and ethnic newspapers is that our household penetration, readership, and our connections to the neighborhoods we serve have never been stronger. The bad news is our fiscal health is threatened by the current economic climate, and our ability maximize and to monetize digital solutions is way behind the curve.”

“Our community and ethnic newspapers are widely-read as evidenced by the chart accompanying this story – we don’t have an audience problem, we have a revenue problem. The revenue problem is really several separate problems: part of the problem is the impact of a lingering recession; part of the problem is that some papers lack sufficient business-side expertise; and part of the problem is limited access and exposure to professional advertising sales and marketing training.”

“The NYPA board of directors can’t do anything to spur economic recovery, but we can commit to providing a regular schedule of quality training – at no charge, or at a price every newspaper can afford. We can work together and experiment with new business modes and with new digital platforms. We can provide marketing assistance to help you promote the value of the audience your newspaper delivers.”

“Newspapers will only increase our revenues and our reach by investing more in content creation for different audiences. Compelling content increases engagement, which in turn, increases exposure, which translates to increased response for our advertisers.”

“The NYPA Board of Directors welcomes your suggestions and feedback. We are eager to provide programs and services to take your newspapers to the next level. Let us hear from you; tell us what you need; tell us how we can help.”

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