Immigration, Diversity, and Broadcasting in the United States, 1990-2001. Vibert C. Cambridge. Athens: The Ohio University Press, 2005. 309 pp. $28.00 pbk.
The topic of immigration is timely, especially in light of recent regulatory endeavors by various states to facilitate, or exclude, immigrant access to public services. As broadcast and other mass media, which disseminate their product to nearly every home in the United States, may yet be given universal service status (e.g., for disaster warnings), it is also timely that we turn attention to the quality of service these media provide for our multicultural communities. The third installment in the Ohio University Global and Comparative Studies series, Vibert C. Cambridge's Immigration, Diversity, and Broadcasting in the United States, 1990-2001, provides the foundation for this attention.
Cambridge, associate professor in the School of Telecommunications and chair of the Department of African American Studies at Ohio University, is uniquely attuned to the relationship between broadcasting and immigration. He, himself, immigrated to the United States from Guyana after working for some time in the broadcasting industry. His personal experience as an immigrant has no doubt fueled his interest in how mass media and multicultural population growth intersect. The extensive research into the multicultural programs and opportunities provided by the U.S. media is evident in the breadth of information shared in this book.
The major strength of this book is the wealth of historical details presented for each topic covered. Logically, the major waves of immigration into the United States, beginning with colonization, are introduced first, with special attention paid to the changing demographics of the immigrants, ranging from country of origin to age and sex. Settlement patterns are also discussed, which gives readers a context in which to place the specific histories of minority-focused media outlets subsequently presented. The greater part of the book provides historical origins, general descriptions, facts and figures regarding the ethnic press, radio and minority radio, commercial broadcast and public television, cable, and community access. Attention is paid to a wide set of minority communities, including peoples of African, Caribbean, Indian, Native American, Asian, and Hispanic descent. The sheer amount of information offered provides ample opportunities to develop one's own research questions, as well as draw one's own conclusions on a number of dimensions. It is on this merit that I would encourage those interested in minority broadcasting and minority depictions in mass media to read this book, as well as suggest its use in the classroom.
A few criticisms are offered. For example, the first chapter outlines three sets of questions Cambridge hopes to address with his research. …