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
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