Ashoka Fellow
United States,
Fellow Since 2008


This profile was prepared when Sandy Close was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Sandy’s mission is to produce news, information, and communications that have a communal function, connecting audiences not just to people like themselves, but rather to all the “others” in society, and giving us a sense of our shared identity and humanity. Her idea is to leverage the historically overlooked ethnic media sector as an opportunity to integrate minorities into the American public discourse. Concerned about the fragmentation of the media market and mainstream media’s lack of connection to minority audiences, Sandy founded New America Media (NAM), the first and largest national collaboration and advocate of over 3,000 ethnic news outlets. NAM’s vision is to build inclusive communications in a global society. Focusing on minorities, broadly defined to include racial and ethnic minorities, and marginalized groups such as African Americans, immigrants, and incarcerated youths, NAM provides them the support to develop a critical media presence, and then links them to each other and to mainstream media.
By promoting the editorial visibility and economic viability of ethnic media, Sandy is ensuring that diverse voices are represented in American mainstream media. NAM’s already sizable audience base attracts coverage and advertising revenue from mainstream media. And since ethnic media covers issues across the globe, its on-the-ground reporting provides a valuable perspective for both mainstream media outlets and the general public in an increasingly global world. Already, NAM has helped ethnic media move from being isolated and under-appreciated to being integrated into the national conversation, a move that has significant implications for minorities in this country.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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