VOLUME 28 NO. 3 | JANUARY 10 - JANUARY 16, 2009

Closed after 30 years

Last updated 1-8-09 at 1:00 p.m.

One of the longest running English-language Asian American newspapers in the United States is forced to stop publication due to economic hardships. AsianWeek, a San Francisco-based newspaper, published its last regular issue on Jan. 2.

By Juliana Barbassa
The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — AsianWeek, the long-running English-language Asian American newspaper, will stop publication in 2009 in the face of declining readership, advertising revenue, and a softening economy, said Ted Fang on Dec. 31.

Fang is the editor and publisher of the paper.

The paper’s last regular issue was Jan. 2, but special editions may be considered, Fang said.

“There is a huge potential in the Asian American market,” Fang said. “But we’re facing the difficulties and the reality of the newspaper environment and the economic environment.”

Community advocates say the paper’s closing leaves a gap that will be hard to fill.

“It’s a big blow,” said David Lee, who teaches political science at San Francisco State University, and heads the Chinese American Voters Education Committee. “It was an important resource for bringing people together.”

The San Francisco-based paper, established in 1979, had a circulation of 60,000 and served as a platform for issues that affected Asian Americans. It hosted health campaigns to fight Hepatitis B, which disproportionately affects Asians, debates around immigration reform, and voter registration drives, said Lee.

The newspaper took a blow in 2007, when it published an opinion piece by a contributor titled, “Why I Hate Blacks.” Fang later said it was a mistake to publish the column. He issued an apology, and fired the contributor.

In spite of that controversy, the paper continued to serve an important unifying role in a community divided by ethnicity and language, community representatives said.

Much of the Asian American community is relatively new to the United States, with the majority arriving after 1965, when a change in immigration laws opened the borders to immigration from Asia. It’s the fastest growing ethnic group in the country, with the U.S. Census projecting a 213 percent increase by 2050.

By printing in English, the newspaper helped bridge language differences between newly established communities. It served the generations that grew up steeped in their parents’ various ethnic backgrounds and cultures, and provided a window through which others could glimpse the issues important to Asian Americans, Fang said.

“AsianWeek bridged the entire Asian American community,” said AsianWeek’s community editor, Angela Pang. “It is unfortunate that nothing like it will remain.” (end)

Visit AsianWeek at www.asianweek.com. The New York Times writer Richard Perez-Pena and NWAW editor Stacy Nguyen contributed to this report.

AsianWeek’s Northwest connection

Nikki “Nhien” Nguyen Cranor stepped down from her post as the International Examiner’s editor-in-chief in 2008 to take a position at AsianWeek as associate publisher and director of sales and advertising.


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