From the Spanish-language reader of La Opinion to the Vietnamese listeners of Radio Saigon Houston, ethnic media organizations across the country are delivering election news this year with a focus on the issues afoot in multi-cultural communities.
Often based around large cities, these ethnic communities often share the same concerns as their English-speaking neighbors, according to the editor of San Francisco-based Sing Tao Daily, one of the largest newspapers serving the Chinese community in the United States.
"We need our jobs. When the market turned upside down, our housing market is going down ... everybody's concerned. Especially in Asian communities, because a large percentage of us [are] homeowners," editor Joseph Leung said recently in his San Francisco office. "So we want to know what the next president will do about it."
And those economic concerns are not limited to the Chinese community, says Tae-soo Jeong, executive editor of the Korea Times based in Oakland, Calif.
"Like all the other communities, the Korean-American one is also suffering from the economic slowdown," Jeong explained. "The four main sources of money in the Korean-American community here, I mean, real estate, restaurant, dry cleaning and grocery markets, are all groggy."
And unlike the mainstream media, which has focused on economic policies and the candidates' campaign tactics, foreign language press must often balance between covering both U.S. happenings and news events in that community's homeland.
"It's understandable that you are deeply concerned about the big political event of your motherland. It's weird that you are so indifferent to that of your adopted motherland," Jeong said. "Half of your attention paid to what's going on there 6,000 miles [away] from here."
In an effort to bolster both the Chinese and Korean communities' participation, both Sing Tao and Korea Times have devoted at least two pages of their daily papers to campaign news each day. It is a new-found engagement in covering U.S. political coverage that is also echoed in the pages of the Los Angeles-based Spanish-language La Opinion.
"We usually cover the campaign from L.A.," executive editor Pedro Rojas said. "[F]or the first time we're sending our reporters and reporters from our sister newspapers to cover the campaign, and of course focus on immigration, economy and other issues that are important for the campaign, but definitely focus on immigration and economy."
Among the more than 120,000 readers of La Opinion, immigration concerns have remained among the most pressing issues driving their interest in the coming election, Rojas says, pointing out from the Latino perspective, critically needed immigration reform was "very close to a final solution in 2007 and it was stopped at the Congress."
While some ethnic groups, like Latinos, are being driven toward political participation due to their role in critical policy debates in Washington, other ethnic media organizations are struggling to overcome historical impediments to engaging potential voters.
In Houston, Thu Vu, who came to this country with her husband as a refugee from Vietnam, started Radio Saigon Houston eight years ago with the goal of engaging the Vietnamese community.
For Vu, the radio station's work is critical to filling a gap the traditional English-language news organizations leave behind.
"Maybe you are a Pulitzer winner, but you cannot knock on ethnic people's doors," Vu said. "But they do care if someone from their own ethnic group is standing there talk to them. They would open up themselves to the person."
Despite these connections and her own participation in voter registration efforts in Texas, Vu admits it is difficult to increase the historically tiny voter participation numbers from some of these groups.
The first generation didn't care much about voting, particularly because back in Vietnam, people didn't trust the government and didn't trust the election, Vu said.
"When I first start the Houston Voting Program, I asked people why didn't they vote," Vu explains. "They said we don't know whom to vote for and all politicians are liars and politics are dirty. So we said ... If you don't want it, you have to vote against it... If there's no best one, then pick the best of the worst."
This cynicism among immigrant communities is one Jeong has seen among Koreans as well.
"During the campaign period every candidate and election staff never forget to say, 'Every vote counts, please blah blah blah.' Once the vote [is] done, many politicians seem to act like many votes, especially many votes from minority voters don't count," he said. "True or not, believe or not, many minority voters like Korean-Americans seem to think that way."
Although they often face a skeptical audience, these editors see themselves as both journalists serving a community often neglected by the mainstream media and as activists working to improve the lives of their readers and listeners.
This year in particular, the ethnic media has also made voting on Nov. 4 a key component of that civic mission. Whether those efforts will succeed in turning the corner on some historically low voter participation rates remains to be seen on Election Day.