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New book on PR helps Minorities and Ethnics overcome media bias
Bias in the mainstream American news media is a fact of life for many Americans who are of a group of ethnics author and journalist Ray Hanania describes as “Minority minorities.”
A former Chicago City Hall reporter, who has received many column writing awards including the Sigma Delta Chi Award in 2009, said he wrote the new book “PoweR PR” specifically to help these “Minority Minorities” overcome bias in the mainstream media and learn basic communications techniques to achieve strategic goals.
Hanania, who is the President and CEO of Urban Strategies Group which manages media services for a dozen government and private sector clients, said that many of the nation’s newest minority communities including Arabs, Muslims and Eastern Europeans lack the experience and knowledge to develop strategic communications campaigns because they come from Third World countries that have been controlled by dictators and where free speech and communications are discouraged.
“As an American Arab, I know my community is dysfunctional when it comes to applying fundamental of strategic communications because they have no real history of experience with a free media,” said Hanania who began his career as a reporter in 1975 believing the mainstream American news media was intentionally excluding Arab and Muslim voices from their daily reporting.
“I launched my own American Arab newspaper because I could see that American Arabs were absent from the mainstream media. Our voices were not included. We had very few American Arab journalists working as reporters and editors, and the news media was failing to do its job and not reaching out to American Arabs and Muslims to cover their community or to solicit their voices and views about important stories. The media treated us like we were outsiders and only covered us when we were a negative story of violence or scandal.”
Hanania said that although American Arabs and Muslims have been entering journalism, the mainstream news media continues to exclude them, reinforcing the canard that “Jews control the news media.”
“It’s just not true but when you ask most American Arabs or Muslims, that is what they say,” Hanania said. “They say that because they see very few Arabs or Muslims working as journalists in mainstream media. And the stories about Arabs and Muslims continue to be negative and are filled with inaccuracies. Our voices are still not included in the stories. We’re not being allowed to author Opinion Columns called Op-Eds to express our views on major stories, not just those about American policy in the Middle East, but also about other issues. Arabs and Muslims are as American as everyone else and we’re just as concerned about jobs, the economy, increasing violence and improving education for our children. But the only time the media ‘sees us’ is when there is a controversy or violence and that perpetuates and reinforces the stereotype that we are ‘terrorists.’ It is the fault of the news media but I think American Arabs and Muslims can do something about it, if they really wanted to.”
Hanania, who served active duty in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, said that there are only about 250 Arab and Muslim journalists working in the United States, with the majority working at politically-driven ethnic media publications. About 75 work in mainstream journalism jobs at mainstream newspapers and broadcast media.
“So the community has to actively fight to change the negative and false perceptions that the mainstream news media embraces. They have to do it. And they have to do it by educating themselves about fundamental media and communications techniques, and by dropping many of the stereotypes that they embrace that are just simply wrong,” Hanania said.
“A stereotype is basically a simple answer to a complicated issue. The media is a complexity to Arabs and Muslims. So because we don’t really understand it, many in our community turn to the simplistic answer which is driven by racism and stereotypes. That ends up reinforcing the negative stereotypes mainstream Americans have about our community, and it makes it easy for the media to exclude is.”
Hanania, who entered professional journalism in 1975 after seeing the bias in the media’s coverage of the Middle East, shares his firsthand experiences in his dual life as both a former journalist and writer and President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media relations and public affairs representing more than 75 clients in politics, government and the private sector.
Hanania said the book, PoweR PR is intended for “anyone who has been left out of media power because of who they are and what they believe. The strategies and ideas are here to help you strengthen your own media campaign and confront the bigotry and bias.”
A longtime Palestinian American Arab activist, Hanania has worked in the news media for nearly 40 years. He is the author of several books including the humor book “I’m Glad I Look Like a Terrorist: Growing up Arab in America” (1996) and “Arabs of Chicagoland” (2005). Hanania covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 until 1992 for the Daily Southtown and for 8 years with the Chicago Sun-Times. He currently provides media and PR consulting services to more than a dozen elected officials, governments and private businesses in Chicago, Illinois, Detroit, Michigan, Washington D.C., and Florida.
The book is available directly from Urban Strategies Group at www.UrbanStrategiesGroup.com in paperback format. It will soon be available in eBook for Kindle and iPad, and also in audio book format. You can also purchase the book directly from the Publishers at Lulu.com and get more information on PoweR PR only by CLICKING HERE.
Ethnic Activist’s Guide to Strategic Communications & challenging the biased Mainstream Media
Strategies to overcome bias in the mainstream news media and correct inaccurate perceptions in Western and American societies; for those excluded by the Biased Mainstream News Media, the “Minority Minorities.”
Paperback, 334 pages
Coming in Audio Book soon
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Hanania covered Chicago political beats including Chicago City Hall while at the Daily Southtown Newspapers (1976-1985) and later for the Chicago Sun-Times (1985-1992).
The recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, Hanania was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. Hananiaalso received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
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