Fri, Jan 02, 2009 - Page 7 News List

’AsianWeek’ to stop publication this year over money troubles

AP , SAN FRANCISCO

AsianWeek, the long-running English-language Asian-American newspaper, will stop publication this year in the face of declining readership and advertising revenue and a softening economy, editor and publisher Ted Fang said on Wednesday.

The paper’s last regular issue is scheduled for 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 disproportionally 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.

Much of the Asian-American community is relatively new to the US, 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 US Census projecting a 213 percent increase by 2050.

By running in English, the newspaper helped bridge language differences between newly established communities.

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