Immigrant Press Booms


United States

Media & Culture Race & Ethnicity

In 1900, more than 1,000 foreign-language and ethnic newspapers were in circulation. During this period of mass immigration, the boom in “ethnic press” reflected significant cultural, religious, and linguistic diversity. Immigrants, often underrepresented in mainstream press, turned toward alternative journalism and published their own newspapers. It also allowed immigrants to stay connected with news from their home countries as well access information in their native language. Migrant newspapers and ethnic press created a space for greater participation, dialogue, and representation in the media.

Prior to this 20th century ethnic press boom, Benjamin Franklin helped start one of the first well-circulated German daily newspapers in Philadelphia in 1794. From 1794 to 1798, the Courrier Français, a French newspaper, was published in Philadelphia. Spanish newspapers appeared in New Orleans and Texas in the early nineteenth century. The first Native American press, The Cherokee Phoenix, was created in Georgia in 1828. Beginning in the 1830s, penny papers, or more affordable newspapers, also catered to immigrants in cities and spurred political inclusion and knowledge.