Three professors in our department — Dr. Sallie Hughes, Yves Colon and Tsitsi Wakhisi — have unveiled a new project, called “Haitian Community Media in Miami: Transnational Audiences, Journalists and Radio Producers.”
Tonight they were in Little Haiti to release a working paper analyzing the uses and practices of Haitian-oriented media in greater Miami– the newspapers, radio shows, television programs and Web sites that serve people missed, ignored or neglected by the area’s mainstream media in English and Spanish.
The program was presented by The Miami Consortium for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and co-sponsored by The McCormick Foundation, The University of Miami Journalism Program and The Miami Observatory on Communication and Culture.
Based on extensive interviews, the report finds that Miami’s Creole- and French-language community media are playing important roles fostering societal cohesion and immigrant incorporation among the newest and largest Haitian community in the United States. At the same time, they are a key resource that helps Haitians in Miami keep informed about and participate in what is happening in Haiti. Rather than confuse or confound, Haitian participants found that the simultaneity of homeland-new land experience facilitated by Haitian community media is emotionally soothing and supporting.
While they play important roles in the Haitian community, Haitian media have a number of interrelated weaknesses that were identified by the audience members, media producers and journalists interviewed for the study. The weaknesses are related to three broad areas participants identified as problematic: 1) quality of content including veracity, variety and standards of technical production, 2) financial sustainability, and 3) commitment to transparency, autonomy and public service. Creation of a non-profit professional association, perhaps called a Haitian Media Association, could help overcome some weaknesses by developing joint financing and marketing mechanisms, shared gathering of news and information, educational programs targeting sector needs, and an ethics code.
Read more about the project here: www.HaitianCommunityMedia.org. This Web site went live earlier today.
Click here to watch a video clip of the professors discussing the study findings and the conditions of the media in Haiti and Miami’s Haitian community during a television program with an audience of community leaders that was broadcast by the Voice of America. And click here for a podcast about Haitian media.