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Multicultural Media Use and Immigrant Settlement: A Comparative Study of Four Communities in Ottawa, Canada (2016)

Posted on:
May 15, 2024

Abstract

Multicultural media serve as important sources of information for immigrant settlement. However, little is known about the role of multicultural media in the process of immigrant settlement. Our aim was to address this gap and to advance understanding of multicultural media use and immigrant settlement through a detailed empirical study involving four ethnocultural and immigrant communities (EICs)—the Chinese, Spanish-speaking Latin American, Somali, and South Asian—in Ottawa, Canada. Using a conceptual framework combining notions of immigrant contexts of reception, and immigrant settlement and information seeking, we present and analyze the findings of a large survey data set (N= 1212) comparing types of multicultural print, broadcast, and digital media use by immigration category, length of stay, and yearly household income. Based on our findings, we argue that variations exist in the use of multicultural media both within and across the four participating EICs; while factors such as availability of multicultural media as well as length of stay in Canada and, to some extent, household income play a role, immigration category is less significant. Furthermore, we advance that although EICs do use various types of multicultural media, they tend to favor digital media. These findings contribute to improved understanding of the role of multicultural media use in the everyday lives of EICs and provide directions for future research and for the development of relevant policies and practices to address immigrant information needs and facilitate their settlement process.

What is this research about?

This research investigates the role of multicultural media in the settlement process of immigrants in Ottawa, Canada. It focuses on four ethnocultural and immigrant communities (EICs): Chinese, Spanish-speaking Latin American, Somali, and South Asian. The study aims to understand how these communities use different types of multicultural media (print, broadcast, and digital) and how factors such as immigration category, length of stay, and household income influence media use.

What do you need to know?

  • The four communities involved in the study were Chinese, Spanish-speaking Latin American, Somali, and South Asian.
  • This report is part of a broader collaborative, interdisciplinary project - the Ottawa Multicultural Media - conducted in partnership with the City of Ottawa, whose aim is to examine the role of multicultural media in fostering the settlement, integration, and well-being of Ottawa’s EICs. Researchers administered 1600 surveys in Ottawa’s Chinese, Spanish-speaking Latin American, Somali, and South Asian communities (400 per community) using paper and electronic forms. A total of 1212 usable surveys were retained with a response rate of about 75%.
  • The types of multicultural media examined was print, broadcast, and digital.
  • The factors analyzed in relation to media use included immigration category, length of stay, and yearly household income).
  • The general trends and specific findings related to media consumption within and across the four communities.

What did the researchers do?

The researchers conducted a detailed empirical study using a large survey dataset (N=1212) to compare the use of multicultural media among the four EICs in Ottawa. They analyzed the data to identify patterns of media use and examined the influence of immigration category, length of stay, and household income on media consumption.

What did the researchers find?

  • Variations in Media Use: There are significant variations in the use of multicultural media both within and across the four EICs. Factors such as availability of multicultural media, length of stay in Canada, and household income influence media use, while immigration category is less significant.
  • Preference for Digital Media: Despite using various types of multicultural media, EICs tend to favor digital media. Broadcast TV is consumed more than radio, but radio consumption rates are relatively similar across communities. Print media consumption is highest among the Chinese community and lowest among the Somali community.
  • Influencing Factors: Availability of multicultural media, length of stay in Canada, and household income play a role in media use, while immigration category is less significant.
  • Role of Multicultural Media: Multicultural media serve as important sources of information for immigrant settlement, helping immigrants navigate their new environment and meet their settlement-related information needs. Local multicultural media sources vary in availability between the communities, impacting consumption patterns.

How can you use this research?

This research provides valuable insights into the role of multicultural media in the settlement process of immigrants, highlighting the importance of media accessibility and the need for targeted support to facilitate successful integration. Collaboration between government agencies, media producers, and immigrant organizations can ensure that the content produced is relevant and accessible. Joint initiatives can be launched to create and distribute settlement-related information through multicultural media.

Establishing feedback mechanisms where immigrants can share their media preferences and information needs can help in tailoring content more effectively. This can be done through surveys, focus groups, and community consultations.

Additional ways this research can be used:

  • Policy Development: Use the findings to develop policies that support the availability and accessibility of multicultural media to aid immigrant settlement. Policymakers can use the findings to ensure that multicultural media are readily available and accessible to all immigrant communities. This includes supporting local multicultural media outlets and ensuring they have the resources to produce content that meets the diverse needs of immigrants. Given the preference for digital media among the studied communities, policies should encourage the development and dissemination of digital content tailored to immigrants. This could involve funding digital literacy programs to help immigrants better access and use digital media.
  • Service Provision: Tailor services to address the diverse information needs of different EICs, considering their media consumption preferences. Service providers can use multicultural media to disseminate critical settlement-related information, such as housing, employment, and language training services. By leveraging the preferred media channels of different communities, service providers can ensure that information reaches the intended audience effectively. Services should be designed to reflect the cultural and linguistic diversity of the immigrant population. This includes producing content in multiple languages and addressing culturally specific needs and concerns.
  • Community Support: Enhance community support mechanisms by leveraging multicultural media to disseminate important information and resources to immigrants. Multicultural media can be used to strengthen community networks by providing platforms for community engagement and support. This can help immigrants build social connections and access community resources more easily. Media can play a role in encouraging civic participation among immigrants by providing information on local events, political processes, and opportunities for community involvement.
  • Future Research: Build on this study to further explore the role of multicultural media in different contexts and among other immigrant communities. The study highlights the need for ongoing research to understand the evolving media consumption patterns of immigrant communities. This can help in continuously adapting policies and services to better meet the needs of immigrants.

The final publication is available at link.springer.com.

Summary

This research investigates the role of multicultural media in the settlement process of immigrants in Ottawa, Canada. It focuses on four ethnocultural and immigrant communities (EICs): Chinese, Spanish-speaking Latin American, Somali, and South Asian. The study aims to understand how these communities use different types of multicultural media (print, broadcast, and digital) and how factors such as immigration category, length of stay, and household income influence media use.
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