Monday, March 23, 2009

There are twenty ethnic media outlets in Nashville; some close doors in the down economy

Flashback: Tennessee Staatszeitung was the official newspaper of the Fifth Congressional District

Third in a series

New America Media reports here on the twenty ethnic media outlets in Nashville and on the struggles they face in the difficult economy:
On a Friday morning, in a small house outside downtown Nashville, La Sabrosita, a Spanish-language AM radio station, was airing its shows in full swing. Immigration was the most pressing topic.
"Many are unaware of what immigrants are facing here," said Ramón Cisneros, whose Franklin City-based publication, La Campaña, includes a section for immigrants to share their experiences and information with one another.
Abdul Farah, social adjustment director of Nashville’s Somali Community Center, lamented a local Somali television producer who gave up running a syndicated network due to budget constraints. Now he’s driving a truck for a living.
Read the entire story on New America Media here (h/t: Post Politics).

The ethnic media used to have official status in Middle Tennessee. According to Robert Donald Rogers' M.A. thesis The Tennessee Staatszeitung (1975), the German-language Tennessee Staatszeitung was the official newspaper of the Fifth Congressional District - including Davidson County - in the 1860's (p. 12). Tennessee Governor Brownlow "praised the newspaper as the organ of the loyal Germans" (p. 47). In fact, Governor Brownlow "began the practice of having his messages to the legislature printed in German and distributed throughout the state. Fifteen thousand English copies and six thousand German copies of Brownlow's 1865 address were printed, but of a later report one thousand English copies and two thousand German copies were issues" (pp. 53-54).

In the 1890's, German American Day was one of the celebrations at the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in Nashville's newly inaugurated Centennial Park, and the role of German-language newspapers as an integration tool was lauded in a speech that wound up in the New York Times (partial excerpt here).

This story is the third in a series about the history of the Staatszeitung newspaper and German history in Tennessee (click the following links for the first and second installments in the series).

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