Saturday, June 13, 2015

Can mainstream US media tap into non-English-speaking audiences?

WHEN THE NEW YORK TIMES’ SERIES investigating the nail salon industry, “Unvarnished,” went viral in May, the criminally low wages and health problems suffered by manicurists weren’t the only story. National and international media reported that the Times’ website published the stories in Korean, Chinese, and Spanish translation—a first for the paper.

Mainstream media organizations have long produced foreign-language editions (the Times launched its Chinese edition in 2012), apps, and special issues to reach broader audiences, but such initiatives are typically separate versions of flagship publications, with their own brands and audiences. Bi- or multilingual publications and media organizations tend to build an identity around their multicultural focus, which separates them from mainstream media.

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