A new ‘Voices’ for a new decade

A compilation of articles from the ethnic and community press, the original version of this website rose from the ashes of the World Trade Center. It began as a counterattack against hatred.

Founded by the fledgling Independent Press Association as “Voices That Must Be Heard,” the site was inaugurated in November 2001. In a city gripped by fear, much of directed against Muslims, its first posts were devoted to news and opinion from newspapers serving New Yorkers from predominantly-Muslim countries. The goal was to express “the grief of these communities” at a time when they were viewed with suspicion and fear, recalled Abby Scher, the press association’s first executive director.

The earliest issues also included articles from Israeli newspapers that maintained bureaus in New York, because, Scher said, the city was flooded with conspiracy theories that blamed Israeli intelligence for the 9/11 attack.

“What were these communities really saying? Here it is, in their own words,” she summed up.

By its third issue, “Voices That Must Be Heard” had added newspapers serving the Indian community to the mix, and by March, it had become a chorus of ethnic news from the Irish, Chinese, Polish, Caribbean and Spanish-language press. Over the last decade, that chorus has swelled to include news outlets serving New Yorkers from Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, China, the Philippines, Korea, Russia, Poland, Iran, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the islands of the West Indies, and Central and South America.

Now, on the threshold of its second decade, “Voices” is taking on a new name and new form, as a project of the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism. “Voices of NY” will continue to offer readers a window into the New York metropolitan area’s extraordinary mix of immigrant communities and their neighborhoods by culling and translating articles from the scores of newspapers and websites that serve them.

“Voices of NY” has three audiences. To reporters for the mainstream media it offers a new perspective on the issues they are covering; to the editors of the ethnic and community press themselves, it makes connections, showing how much their communities have in common; and to curious readers of any sort, it offers an opportunity to see the news in new ways.

Its new, easier-to-navigate form, unveiled here, aims to make “Voices of NY” more accessible to readers. Over time, the resources of the CUNY Journalism School will bring more frequent updates and additional reporting to the site.

While “Voices” has a new name and a new look, its core mission remains unchanged: to disseminate the work of the many unsung journalists who help immigrants and other New Yorkers understand the issues that face them and to amplify their efforts to bring communities together to influence the decisions that affect their lives.

The goal remains what it was at its founding: to correct misinformation, confront bigotry, broaden understanding and encourage dialog.

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  1. Pingback: CUNY Graduate School of Journalism » J-School Launches Voices of NY Site

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