BY NONOY PERDON – Australia’s ethnic media outlets are complaining of publishing tons of media releases without accompanying ads.
It all started from a seemingly innocuous email from PR Company ETCOM asking from the retinue of Australia’s ethnic media outlets for printouts or screenshot of published media release for the nationwide campaign “International Day For the Elimination of Violence Against Women Day last 25 November 2019.
At the outset, the ordinary ethnic media outlet must have noticed a well-funded campaign like many other PR campaign ETCOM have handled through the years, such as the annual Salvation Army door knock, Drinkwise kids absorb you campaign, White Ribbon, making use of a network of Australia’s ethnic media and others, without placing paid ads in the media outlets.
Mr James Fernandez of Lanka Times, correctly put out a sentiment many ethnic press and media publishers must have absorbed in themselves through the years about a semblance of exploitation of the ethnic press by PR companies.
Fernandez said, “ We are aware that you charge your clients for this service. So why should we run it for free? We are not a charity and we fed up with publishing free editorials for companies such as yours. We feel that the number of editorials and press releases are increasing and the advertising spend is clearly diminishing.
We are aware that advertising is now appearing on digital platforms (as programmatic Google ads). We know these are cheap and agencies can make considerable profits by using this method.
We also know that Google cannot run your press releases.
So from now on we would like you to use our paid advertising services so we are respected and valued and we can keep on serving the community with our product.
Please ask your clients to place ads if they would like to have exposure in our publication. Only then will we consider running supporting free press releases.
Mr George Gregorio of Philippine Times in Melbourne says, “I agree. It is just fair that media releases must accompany paid ads. Posting an article s requires extra cost (manpower, printing cost, web hosting) for the publication. It is time for ethnic publications to unite for one common objective: survival.”
Elaine Kintis from foreignlanguage.com says. “ Congratulations to James for taking the initiative and speaking out on behalf of all Ethnic Media. We also feel the same. We need to all be supported through advertising to be able to sustain running press releases.
Paul Benoy of Kerala News says: “Agree. We also run (stories) in past and not paid a single one.”
Response from George Sabijak of Croatian Times: “Last year we (The Croatian Herald), applied for funding that was available through ACMA. The funding was to assist “small and regional publishers”.
“There were 2 rounds of funding totalling some $40-$50 million. Our application for $200k was rejected on the basis that our publication did not constitute “journalism with an Australian perspective” Not one of the successful recipients of the funding was an ethnic publisher or a CALD such as the people in this group. You can read my response to them below.”
Mr Sabijak adds, “Now I ask you, with more than 100 people on this email list is not the case that “collectively” we represent the wider Australian community which has a significant multicultural audience.Multiculturalism is something that this country prides itself on and the governments at both State and Federal level should be supporting.”
Mr Sabijak adds, “By the way FECCA (Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia), ECCV (Ethnic Communities’ of Victoria and other like bodies around Australia need to be working harder to assist us. I believe we should set up unified body which contains members of this email list with a view to: 1)Increase the advertising budget for ethnic publications, 2) Put pressure on governments allocate funding/grants to allow our publications to develop and evolve with the times.