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Municipal Communication Strategies and Ethnic Media: A Settlement Service in Disguise

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journal contribution
posted on 21.05.2021, 15:40 by April Lindgren
The Canadian Federation of Municipalities has declared cities the “unofficial welcome wagon” for new Canadians. Research suggests, however, that they embrace settlement and integration policies to varying degrees. While scholarly examinations of municipal policies include analyses of corporate communications strategies, efforts by city governments to reach residents through ethnocultural news media have received little attention. To address that gap, this study investigates why the suburban community of Brampton, Canada adopted one of the most proactive ethnic media strategies in the country in 2015 when, just a decade earlier, it was for the most part unresponsive to the needs of its burgeoning immigrant population. As a starting point, the case study uses the determinants of municipal responsiveness identified by Kristin R. Good (2009) in Municipalities and Multiculturalism: The Politics of Immigration in Toronto and Vancouver. Employing a mixed methods approach, it concludes that rapid demographic change, the emergence of an activist political leadership, and efforts to reduce friction between newcomers and other residents influenced Brampton’s communications policy over time. The case study identifies challenges associated with adopting an ethnic media strategy, including issues related to translation and the relative lack of sophistication of some ethnic media outlets. Furthermore, it demonstrates that reaching out to ethnocultural communities via ethnic media requires more than just distributing news releases in English. Translation of these releases has the potential to increase municipal news coverage in ethnic media, the paper suggests, if only because it makes it easier for smaller news organizations to report on such matters

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