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Documented Launches News Service for Chinese and Caribbean Immigrants

For newly arrived immigrants, tasks that support their wellbeing become monumentally challenging when they have to navigate bureaucracy in a foreign language. They need support in their own language to enroll children in school, complete taxes, and find affordable housing. As New York’s only newsroom solely dedicated to serving immigrants, we have launched resource guides for immigrants who speak Chinese and Haitian Creole.

Also Read: How A Community-Oriented Approach Grew Our Immigrant Audience

These products are in addition to our Spanish resource guide, which we launched in 2020 to help immigrants survive the pandemic. Selections from the Spanish resource guide consistently rank among the most sought-after articles of Documented’s coverage. View the library in the left hand column of the following articles:

The resource guides are collections of original articles that contain actionable information about how to navigate NYC. The resource guides are unique to the needs of Haitian and Chinese immigrants and are informed by more than a year of in-depth audience research.

All of the articles are written by Community Correspondents April Xu, who works with Chinese immigrants, and Ralph Thomassaint-Joseph, who works with Caribbean immigrants. You can learn more about their insights in their co-authored report Chinese and Caribbean Communities: News Access in NYC. This report analyzes the available local media in Chinese and Haitian Creole and readers’ preferred mediums and subject material. 

The Haitian community has been established in New York for decades but they have never before had a unique place to get the essential information they need to navigate life in NYC, Thomassaint-Joseph explains.

“Other Caribbean immigrant groups sometimes have the advantage to read and speak English and Spanish. Still, Haitian immigrants mostly speak Haitian Creole, and few institutions serve them in that specific language,” he says. 

In addition to publishing the ever-growing resource guide, Documented will soon make changes to the Documentedny.com website so that it is more accessible to readers of Haitian Creole and Chinese. Thomassaint-Joseh will launch a newsroom account on NextDoor to reach Caribbean immigrants in NYC. Documented will be the first newsroom to ever have such a presence on the app.

“It’s a product that also fits Documented’s mission as a media that listens to the communities and informs them accordingly. From now on, Haitian immigrants will have a trustworthy source to go to when they need essential information and other resources,” Thomassaint-Joseph says.

The Chinese resource guide, created by journalist Xu with contributions from journalist Nancy Chen, contains articles that reflect the stated needs uncovered in a survey of over 900 Chinese readers. Those pieces include Basic Self Defense Knowledge & Free Self Defense Classes in NYC and Free Legal Resources with Chinese Language Services.

“In the survey, we posed the question ‘What information did you wish you had when you first arrived?’” Xu explained. “Our study revealed that topics such as public safety, health, community events, and education emerged as the primary areas of interest for the local Chinese community.”

Also Read: The Methods We Used to Research 1k+ Immigrants in NYC

Xu communicates with her readers on Chinese social media app WeChat, which brings a further level of innovation to meeting the needs of immigrant readers. They can use the app as a two-way street to share their demands and feedback about Documented content, which in turn shapes future articles. 

“Having spent a decade reporting on the Chinese community in NYC, I think this unique approach undertaken by Documented has not been seen within the realms of both Chinese and English-language media. Our commitment to empowering the community with information that matters deeply is a defining aspect of our mission.”

Sign up for Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter to follow our Community Correspondents as they create groundbreaking news for NYC immigrants: docu.nyc/EarlyArrival

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