Letter From the Publisher
|The print edition of Little India this month has undergone a major facelift. You noticed, right? We have switched to an all-glossy format from newsprint and added color, graphics, visuals and section heads to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the magazine. |
But we have undergone more than just cosmetic surgery. We have also bolstered our editorial, added more of our signature indepth stories, created new sections and columns, as well as revamped some of our earlier content.
Since its founding 14 years ago as one of the first general interest Indian American feature magazine, Little India has sought to reflect the lives and experiences of Indian Americans as they navigate their new terrain. Little India was the first Indian publication to begin exploring issues of individual and community identity, both within its pages and with its path-breaking conferences at Montclair State University and Rutgers University in 1995 and 1997, which featured, among others, Harvard economist Amartya Sen, well before he won the Nobel Prize. He returns this month in the magazine with an exclusive excerpt of his provocative new book The Argumentative Indian, scheduled for U.S. release this month.
We will continue the tradition of penetrating reporting and trenchant commentaries that capture the fullness and diversity of Indian American life. We report India through the prism of an overseas Indian and we serve as a bridge between the Indian community and the mainstream in arts and entertainment, business, politics, education, the professions, etc.
Little India Penetration Little India: 21% (Indian households)
Little India is the most prominent media voice of overseas Indians. In the past two years alone, it won four Ippie Awards from the Independent Press Association of New York and garnered nominations for the Utne IPA Award for Ethnic Issues Coverage as well as the GLAAD Media Award, with such publications as the New York Times Magazine, ESPN Magazine, Teen People and Nation.
From its beginnings as a regional publication in New Jersey in 1991, Little India has taken giant strides, especially in the past three years during which has tripled its circulation and quadrupled its advertising. It is now the largest circulated Indian publication in the United States, published in 9 editions from coast to coast from California, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Texas, and Washington, D.C., making it the only genuinely national Indian print publication in the United States.
Little India’s single copy circulation of 143,000 in June 2005* is more than three times the circulation of the next largest Indian publication. Indeed, Little India is now the largest circulated Asian publication in the United States and among the largest minority publications in the country. We are arguably the largest circulated Indian publication outside India. Not bad, hey, for an upstart? Well it’s kind of like the community.
Largest Circulated Indian Publication in USA
Defying industry trends at the time, Little India decided during its initial launch 14 years ago, to be a free, controlled distribution publication to ensure the widest possible dissemination within the community. We have established an enviable distribution network for the magazine from coast to coast and we often hear from readers on the efficiency of being able to procure the magazine locally.
Little India penetrates a remarkable 21% of the 700,000 Indian households in the United States. In our major circulation areas, such as New Jersey, Georgia, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, our reach is even higher. To comprehend the significance of Little India’s circulation penetration, consider this: even a magazine like Time is received in fewer than 4 percent of U.S. households; Ebony reaches some 11 percent of African American households and Latina just 3 percent of Hispanic households.
Two years ago, Little India took steps to enhance its circulation model by getting itself audited by BPA Worldwide, the premier magazine audit agency. The independent and rigorous annual audits by BPA not only validate our claimed circulation figures, the process has also served to significantly improve the quality of our distribution model.
In recent months, Little India initiated a process to shift its circulation model to mail. The magazine will continue to remain free, but we encourage you to sign up for your free mail subscription by completing forms in the magazine or available online at www.littleindia.com.
Award Winning Editorial
We hope that our glossy conversion and circulation and editorial enhancements make us worthy ambassadors of the community we seek to represent. We count on you, our readers, to aid us in that effort.
We often hear from some of you, touched frequently, miffed occasionally, by a story or a commentary we have published. Several of you ask how you can support the publication. You help us most with your comments, criticisms and advice. So please keep those coming. We view ourselves as an unending work in progress and even as we are proud of where we have arrived on our boat, the other bank is still quite far. We will consider ourselves as having “arrived” when we are at the half way mark! So keep us rowing!
There are tangible ways you can help. Spread the word about the magazine both within the community and in the mainstream. Prod those friends and colleagues borrowing your copy to take out their own free subscriptions.
The resources for our growth and improvements come from advertising in the magazine. Encourage potential advertisers to try out Little India; hundreds of our current advertisers are testament to its marketing merits already. If you are a consumer of the products or services advertised in the magazine, make it a point to let the businesses know that you saw their ad in Little India. Your word of mouth support means a lot.
But above all, celebrate with us the success of the Indian community, which is economically the most successful ethnic group in the United States with a household income that is nearly 1.5 times the national average. As we have reported over the years, Indians are among the fastest-growing ethnic groups in the United States, increasing almost 8 percent annually. India is now the second largest immigration source after Mexico. This year, Indians became the second largest Asian group, and they could potentially become the largest Asian group by 2010.
Indians own 45 percent of all hotels and motels in the country and constitute 15 percent of all foreign medical graduates in the United States. Indeed, 5 percent of all U.S. physicians are of Indian origin. They constitute almost 20 percent of the high tech workforce and in recent years almost 50 percent of all H1 visas have been issued to Indians. Indians are the largest and fastest growing foreign student group in the country, overtaking the Chinese, who have traditionally held that spot. Indians also have the highest educational attainment of any group: 67 percent hold a bachelor’s degree (against 28 percent nationally) and almost 40 percent have a masters or other professional degree, which is five times the national average of 8 percent. There are an estimated 8,000 Indian faculty members in U.S. universities.
During the past 14 years, Little India has celebrated and reported these glittering individual and community accomplishments. But we recognize also that we have a journalistic responsibility to reveal the community’s warts. The community has its share of rascals and scoundrels and they will not get a free pass here.
Whatever the community median might say, not every Indian is affluent. New immigrants are not quite as well heeled as long time Indian American residents. Nine percent of the community subsists below the poverty line. There is a marked absence of shared community responsibilities. Take just one illustrative example, and it’s only an example, because the criticism could just as easily be applicable to other successful Indian professional groups. Even though there are 10 times as many Indian American physicians proportionally nationwide, they have not made any collective effort to address the health cares needs of the almost 40 percent of Indians without health insurance. That is both shameful and unforgivable. We propose to keep the community leadership accountable for failures.
Most of the time though, Little India is revealing the community to itself. This month we break the extraordinary story of a small community in Millbourne, Penn., which has the unique distinction this year of becoming the only majority Indian place in the United States. Who else but Little India could have ferreted out that information? We might have had to wait until 2012, when the 2010 U.S. Census data is compiled, to know. We hope we can always stay that far ahead.
Indian Americans, both first generation immigrants and the U.S. born new generation, are navigating unchartered territory without the aid of a compass – all right, GPS. That makes it simultaneously exciting and nerve racking. Thank you for taking us onboard, fellow traveler riding the rapids.
*Little India total circulation June 2005, 143,206. Publisher’s Statement, subject to audit. BPA audited circulation Dec 2004 was 136,541. BPA Worldwide is referenced here only for the circulation of Little India and for no other information.