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.