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‘At Least’ Half of City Ad $ to Go to Community and Ethnic Media

New York City is first in the nation to mandate that its agencies and departments spend at least 50 percent of their annual print and digital advertising in the city’s community and ethnic media. Mayor Bill de Blasio formalized the landmark policy by signing an executive order in the presence of two dozen or so members of the community and ethnic media at City Hall on Wednesday.

“We can’t be the fairest big city in America if only some people know how to receive city services,” Mayor de Blasio told journalists after signing the executive order. “Community and ethnic media outlets are critical for delivering news across the city. This Executive Order will help us reach more New Yorkers, ensuring that more people can benefit from all the City has to offer.” He said that he hoped his successor at City Hall will continue this policy.

The mayor was flanked, among others, by Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs; Anne del Castillo, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, Lisette Camilo, Commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services; Jeff Thamkittikasem, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations and Jose Bayona, Director of Community and Ethnic Media at the Mayor’s Office.

The executive order becomes effective beginning in fiscal year 2020. According to Jeff Thamkittikasem, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations since de Blasio took office in 2013, the city has increased its ad spending in community and ethnic media by more than 220 percent, from $850,000 in FY13 to $2.74 million in FY18.

Beginning in fiscal year 2020 and for every fiscal year thereafter, city agencies will submit a year-end data report to the Mayor’s Office of Operations regarding the agency’s annual print and digital publication advertising spending. Data on each agency’s annual print and digital publication advertising will be made available to the public through the Open Data portal at the beginning of each fiscal year beginning in fiscal year 2021.

The Mayor’s Director of Community and Ethnic Media has developed and will maintain a list of community and ethnic media outlets from which city agencies will select outlets for advertising. The list can be found here.

In response to a question, de Blasio said the City will make every effort to make the distribution of ads fair and transparent. He said the city may not be able to guarantee an advertising campaign to each publication but it will make the entire process equitable, transparent and publicly accessible.

MOIA Commissioner Bitta Mostofi said the city would seek feedback from the media to improve the current system through which city advertising campaigns are awarded. She said the process will be reviewed and improved to make sure all legitimate media outlets are included in the city’s media database.

“The City is further enshrining our commitment to reaching all New Yorkers—including through the media they read—no matter the languages they speak,” said Mostofi. “A healthy democracy cannot exist without a thriving press, and community and ethnic media are trusted sources of valuable information for the communities they serve. I am proud to join the Mayor today in further demonstrating through this Executive Order the City’s commitment to being a welcoming and inclusive city for all.”

Agency representatives that are responsible for purchasing print and digital publication advertisements will be required to participate in annual trainings held by the Mayor’s Office of Operations and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Thamkittikasem said.

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