Niche Newspapers Serve As Survival Guides for Immigrants

Laura Figueroa, Miami Herald, September 25, 2009

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For 10 years, [Jorge Moreira] Nunes has published AcheiUSA–a Portuguese language newspaper catering to South Florida’s Brazilian community.

“They come here asking for help with immigration questions, or sometimes they are unsure if they should report something to the police,” Nunes said.

And though his background is in journalism, Nunes doesn’t turn anyone away. It’s why he founded AcheiUSA–the name means “I Found”–he wanted his fellow Brazilians to find the resources they needed in their new homeland.

“We wanted this to be the paper where Brazilians could come to find out about their community. Anyone can grab news from Brazil over the Internet, but we wanted to specialize in what was happening among the Brazilian community here in South Florida.”

AcheiUSA is one of more than two dozen niche publications catering to South Florida’s diverse immigrant groups from Latin America to the Caribbean.

From the Lauderhill-based The Caribbean-American Commentary to the Miami Beach-based Brazilian paper El Paracaidista, the publications not only offer a touchstone as to what’s going on back home, but many serve as guides for newly arrived immigrants who use the paper’s contents to find out about social service programs and immigration updates.

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VITAL INFORMATION

Venezuela al Día was started 14 years ago by Manuel Corao, a retired Venezuelan journalist who moved to the Doral area.

“We saw that the Venezuelans coming to this area were no longer just coming here for vacation or business, but to stay,” Corao said. “Yes, they want to know what’s going on back home, but we also thought it was important to fill them in on their rights as an immigrant, the different professional work opportunities, and which networking events they could meet fellow Venezuelan professionals.”

The Doral-based paper has grown from printing 5,000 copies weekly to distributing 20,000 copies across Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. It has also started producing editions in Orlando and Venezuela.

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Providing a “survival guide” to new Latin American immigrants is the reason Ira Guevara and Cynthia Zak, a former journalist from Argentina, founded El Paracaidista, The Parachuter.

Printed in Spanish, the Miami Beach-based paper not only offers immigration news, but also updates on certification classes and other educational opportunities.

“There’s no reason that someone who was a chemical engineer back in their country should be washing dishes,” Guevara said. {snip}

POSITIVE IMAGE

Aside from offering insight into work and education, many turn to the papers to read about the accomplishments of their countrymen.

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“That’s why the community turns to papers like ours,” Locke [Rovan G. Locke, publisher of the Caribbean-American Commentary] said. “We highlight the accomplishments of local Caribbeans. We elevate the discussion on current affairs by offering analysis of the news.”

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While the newspaper industry as a whole has weathered tough financial times in the past couple years, a March 2009 study by the National Newspaper Association and the Suburban Newspaper Association found smaller community newspapers have fared better.

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