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Readout and Fact Sheet: Mayor De Blasio, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito, Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Agarwal Host Roundtable with Community and Ethnic Media

February 17, 2016

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Commissioner Nisha Agarwal of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs today met with members of ethnic and community media as part of the Administration’s efforts to broaden its reach across communities in the five boroughs in order to keep New Yorkers better informed. At the roundtable, the Mayor discussed a new directory with the names and contact information of ethnic and community media that will be used by City Agency communications staff, the City Council, and Borough Presidents’ staff to share op-eds, press releases and other information with publications that serve a broad and diverse readership. In addition, the directory also will function to allow City agencies to create more focused ad campaigns for target demographics.

The Mayor and Speaker also discussed ways to deepen engagement with ethnic and community press through interviews and roundtables, as well as new initiatives underway by the City to better engage with New Yorkers with limited English proficiency. Among the new initiatives is the creation of Language Access Cabinets at key City agencies, comprised of senior level communications staff, that will focus on ensuring all New Yorkers are able to seek City services in their own language. Commissioner Agarwal also announced that New Yorkers can call 311 and say “language access” in the language that they speak to log a complaint if they did not have access to interpretation when seeking key city services.

Lastly, the Mayor announced three new seats in City Hall’s press rooms available for ethnic and community media.

The Mayor thanked members of the media for their continued work keeping New York City's diverse population informed, and the City Council for working with the City in addressing the needs of all New Yorkers.

Further information about recent language access announcements can be found here.

NYC’s Language Diversity: 

  • One out of three New Yorkers is an immigrant.
  • New Yorkers speak over 200 languages.
  • Roughly a quarter of City residents, 1.8 million, are limited English proficient.

Intranet Directory of Community and Ethnic Media:

  • Includes the name and contact information of ethnic- and community-based publications.
  • The City Council, Borough President’s offices and City agency communications staff will have access to the directory, which is available on the employee Intranet.
  • The directory will help the City to share press releases, submit op-eds, answer reporter questions, and more.
  • It will also ensure that City programs are advertised to a broad and diverse readership.
  • The City has trained 75 Agency Directors of Communications to better communicate with these publications using the directory, and additional methods and tools.

Administration’s Ad Buy Spending:

  • Ad budget with ethnic and community media more than tripled since FY13
    • 2013: under $400,000.
    • 2014: over $861,000.
    • 2015: more than $1.3 million.
    • 2016: Ad buy data for FY16 is expected to outpace previous years.
  • For the City’s IDNYC campaign, for example, $818, 000 was spent across ethnic media and ethnic and community radio.
  • Mayor de Blasio’s 2014 DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) campaign was the first mass marketing campaign ever in NYC history targeted at immigrants.

Investing in Language Access:

  • The de Blasio Administration is more than doubling its financial investment in language access, including funding for interpretation, translation and related equipment.
    • In Fiscal Year 2014, more than $2,400,000 was directed towards language access.
    • In Fiscal Year 2015, that number increased to more than $4,700,000.
    • For Fiscal Year 2016, it is estimated that the Administration will spend over $9 million.

Results of Increased Spending:

  • 55 Agencies created Language Access Cabinets led by senior communications staff.
  • 311 handled over 500,000 calls for IDNYC in 2015; 41 percent of these calls were in a language other than English.

Language Access Cabinets:

  • Changes the way the City approaches language access.
  • Cabinets are led by senior staff to ensure effective outreach and implementation.
  • Accountability:
    • Annual agency reports on performance.
    • “Secret shopper” program tests agencies and their efforts to increase language access.
    • Currently, 85 percent of non-English speakers are well-served.

City Hall Press Corps:

  • Members of ethnic and community media can now submit requests to reserve a desk in City Hall.
  • The three available desks will rotated to accommodate different outlets, based on request volume.
  • To request a desk, email or call (212) 788-2958.

Media Contact
(212) 788-2958