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Documented Study Details News Needs of New York Caribbean and Chinese Immigrants

Over the past year, Documented community correspondents April Xu and Ralph Thomassaint Joseph conducted the newsroom’s biggest audience research endeavor yet, with the goal of assessing the information needs and habits of Chinese and Caribbean immigrants living in New York City. 

More than than 1,000 New Yorkers participated in the research. Documented took part in 24 community events to find survey participants, and around 54 organizations helped in the distribution of the research. Documented will be using the findings to launch two media products focused on both communities.

On Chinese immigrants: As many as 64% of Chinese respondents said WeChat is the main platform where they consume news, compared to newspapers or websites (55%). Most participants (85%) said they have seen information shared by others that they suspected to be false information or fake news when using social media like WeChat or Facebook. 

One in 3 Chinese respondents mentioned “quality” as an issue they have with the current media coverage of their community. The majority (77%) of them said they don’t see themselves well represented in the news.

When asked about Chinese-language media, respondents said their biggest pain points were related to objectivity (89%), stories being abandoned after publication without any follow up (56%), and the lack of interaction between the media and its audiences (44%). When asked about English-language media covering Chinese immigrants, lack of proximity (83%) — i.e. reports in the media being irrelevant to their daily lives and reports not in their language — was the main issue.

Public safety is a major concern for Chinese immigrants in New York, Documented research further shows. During the height of the pandemic, public safety was a more pressing news concern for Chinese immigrants than pandemic news. The majority (64%) of respondents mentioned public safety as the local news topic they consume the most. Also, 56% of Chinese respondents said public safety is by far the most urgent topic that needs to be covered, and 87% of all respondents mentioned feeling “worried about the public safety in NYC” or feeling “unsafe” or that it is “dangerous” living in the city.

On non-spanish-speaking Caribbean immigrants: Caribbean respondents report consuming their news in English (74%), French (19%), Spanish (10%), and Haitian Creole (10%). A majority (66%) of respondents said public benefits programs are the main topics they are interested in when consuming immigration news.

When we looked at just Haitians, 74% said they are mostly interested in “news that affects undocumented immigrants.” More than half (57%) of all Caribbean respondents meanwhile said the “neighborhood or borough where they live” is what constitutes their community. The same is true for Haitians, although they also rank their “Places of Origin” as what constitutes their community.

Almost one third of respondents (29%) said that they would improve the current media coverage by adding more “positive news.” More than half (57%) of respondents said that the current media coverage is “too negative.” When asked about news related to economics and finance, 52% of Caribbean respondents say they need coverage about inequality and poverty, and news about financial literacy. When asked about news related to housing, most respondents (62%) say they need news related to housing conditions, affordability of housing, the inequalities of the housing market and rent prices.

More than two thirds of respondents (70%) use the apps “Nextdoor” or “Citizen” to know about their neighborhoods or meet neighbors. Immigration (31%) is the top topic Caribbean immigrants in New York would like to assign a reporter to cover. The same is true for Haitians (44%). 

Download the full 100-page report about New York immigrants for free on Documented.

This summary was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.


New York

How immigrants can change their address with immigration agencies: Documented has received questions about how to update an address with immigration authorities and immigration courts. We spoke to experts and created a resource guide. — Read more

Around the U.S. 

Brooklyn nursing agency demands nurse repay all money he’s earned because he resigned:  Benzol Shem Vidal, an immigrant man, moved to the U.S. to work as a registered nurse but resigned from Advanced Care Staffing LLC after safety and ethical concerns. — Miami Herald

Ramadan in Minnesota — Events, activities to celebrate in 2023: Mosques and community groups across Minnesota are hosting several events to celebrate Ramadan, including interfaith dinners and special events for women and girls. — Sahan Journal

Washington D.C.

More immigrants, paid child care key to economic growth, White House says: A new report by President Biden’s top economic advisers says boosting immigration and public spending on child care could help cover a large shortfall in the U.S. labor supply. — Reuters


Ramadan at the Islamic Center at NYU 

  • What: Every night in Ramadan, the Islamic Center at NYU will host a community iftar (dinner) for Muslims to break their fast. Taraweeh (extra) prayers will be held after Isha (night prayer) every day of the blessed month. This is open and free for everyone in the community, and the ICNYU invites everyone to bring their family and friends. ICNYU hosts from 600 to 700 people every night.
  • When: Ramadan begins and ends March 22nd – April 21st. See the full calendar, and read more about how to support the community this Ramadan.
  • Where: 238 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012

The 10th Annual DMV Grand Iftar

  • What: Islamic Relief USA commemorates Ramadan in a big way at Arlington’s Marriott Crystal Gateway with speakers, a halal dinner, and special taraweeh prayer. Tickets are $45 per person or $400 for a table of ten. Childcare is $15 for kids 13 and under. Tickets on Eventbrite.
  • When: Saturday, March 25, 6–10 p.m. EDT
  • Where: 1700 Richmond Highway, Arlington, Virginia
  • Who: Islamic Relief USA is a nonprofit that works both domestically and internationally, and last year it partnered with the NYC Comptroller’s office to deliver hot meals to those in need. This year, they are doing similar work by helping newly settled refugees as well as continuing work abroad in disaster areas like Turkey. Read all their resources for this Ramadan here.

If you are looking for where to make donations or organizations to support during this Ramadan:

  • The Asiyah Women’s Center is the first Muslim women and families shelter in NYC. In the coming weeks, Asiyah intends to rent a new location to house more women and children. The organization is accepting Ramadan donations here
  • The Yaqeen Institute — a nonprofit on a mission to pioneer Islamic research in creative, cutting-edge formats tailored to meet people where they are — has a resource guide for this Ramadan, which you can read on their website. They just kicked off 30 days of giving this Ramadan.


Community Navigator, African Communities Together

  • What: African Communities Together is hiring a community navigator to temporarily work with its DMV-area office. The position is through July 2023 and involves some travel throughout D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. 
  • When: The position is through July 2023 
  • Compensation: Baseline salary is $1,000/week
  • Where: The position involves some travel throughout D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. ACT is looking to fill the position quickly. Read more about the role

Before you go

  • Documented is making a resource guide for the 2023 Ramadan which begins today. If you know about any upcoming Ramadan events (iftars, halaqas, donations, and charity drives) in New York for a potential feature in the newsletter let us know by replying to this email.

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