Jeff T. Behler, Regional Director
United States Census Bureau, New York Regional Office
32 Old Slip, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10005
Dear Regional Director Behler:
We represent Census advocates, communities and complete count committees from across the state of New Jersey. We are writing because of our deep concern about the lack of coverage of New Jersey-specific outlets by the Census Bureau’s proposed media ad buy for the 2020 Census.
As you know, the Census is a hyper-local effort, despite its national scope. Particularly in hard-to-count communities, residents rely on local newspapers, radio stations, and media sources. In New Jersey, which contains some of the hardest-to-count municipalities in the country, local media sources are critical to outreach.
Being sandwiched between two major media markets, New Jersey residents seek out New Jersey-specific news sources. In polling on the media diet of New Jersey residents, most gave negative ratings to network affiliates in New York and Philadelphia.
Local newspapers and media sources remain the backbone of many New Jerseyans’ media consumption, and very few are included in the Census media buy.
Additionally, statewide news stations such as 101.5 FM (WKXW) and News 12 NJ are followed by much of the state for traffic and weather coverage. Although these stations do not directly target New Jersey’s hard-to-count population, they are critical news sources for New Jerseyans broadly.
Although we were pleased to see a handful of outlets are New Jersey-based, including WPAT and the Jersey City Daily Challenge, our concern is that many community, local and ethnic media sources are being left out. In particular, some key languages for limited-English households in New Jersey do not appear to have any targeted outlets in the New York region at all, notably Portuguese, Gujarati, Italian and Arabic.
The Center for Community Media has compiled a list of New Jersey’s ethnic and community media outlets, available at https://airtable.com/shroipKsYzfWnnVkE/tblJrcRo6mEZCnzGM?blocks=hide
This list of over 100 media sources indicates the wide range of media sources that reflect New Jersey’s diverse population. We urge the Census Bureau to consider funding media buys in these outlets, as well as others that serve hard-to-count communities throughout the state.
We are happy to assist in identifying media sources that target hard-to-count communities. Given the roughly one-quarter of New Jersey’s 9 million residents who live in hard-to-count areas, New Jersey-specific outlets must be included in the Census Bureau’s New York regional media outreach if it is to be successful.
Please stay tuned for communications from us with opportunities to attend an event, spread the word and share your activities.
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