Helping NYC Ethnic Press Post-9/11

By: Wayne Robins

In the pain, confusion, and chaos after the attack on the World Trade Center, it was difficult enough for even the most streetwise born-and-bred New Yorkers to figure out where to go for help. Imagine, then, the challenge if you were one of the hundreds of thousands of newer residents whose first – or only – language is Bengali. Or Urdu, or Polish, or Albanian, or Cantonese, or Korean, or Hebrew, or Arabic.

Their plight was not overlooked by the Independent Press Association-New York (IPA-NY) ( The nonprofit organization’s advertising-placement division, All Communities Advertising Service (AllCAS), went to work, placing $150,000 worth of ads with emergency information translated into 17 languages in 70 ethnic newspapers in the city. By the early part of this year, the information was available in 22 languages. The newspapers included the Arab Voice, Bangla Patrika (Bangladeshi), Haiti Progres (Haiti), and Nowy Dziennik (Polish).

“If you lost your job, we listed the [New York City] Central Labor Council Hotline and World Trade Center JobLink,” says Abby Scher, director of IPA-NY. “If your business suffered because of the attack, we gave contact information for the Economic Development Corp. To learn more about anthrax, the ads told how to contact the Center for Disease Control.”

Part of the initial funding came from The September 11th Fund. IPA-NY also publishes a city ethnic-press directory. There were 198 publications in its last edition, including 24 dailies and 127 weeklies. The next edition, to be released next month, will include some 270 publications.

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