MILAN, April 26, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Italy's largest newspaper, Corriere della Sera, recently reviewed the experience of "i-Italy," a fast-growing multimedia network based in New York dedicated to Italian affairs. The story appeared in the paper's weekly insert "Innovation."
Funded in 2008 by a group of journalists, academics and social media experts, in a few years the i-Italy network—online, print and television—overtook all major Italian news sources in reporting about Italy abroad.
In order to access government funds, mainstream Italian media must provide news in Italian, even if it targets foreign markets. The law originated in the 20th century to connect with the masses of emigrants leaving the country. According to estimates, there are as many Italians abroad as there are in Italy (60 million; roughly 23 million in the US alone).
But this eventually isolated the country from the international arena, i-Italy's editor-in-chief Letizia Airos tells the Corriere, especially in the U.S. "Italian citizens living here now read their own newspapers online, in their mother tongue. But Italian Americans, who mainly speak only English, have lost touch with their ancestral culture. Not to speak of millions of Americans who are passionate about Italian food, fashion, and lifestyle." This vast group has had nowhere to turn to… until now.
To reach the Italophile market, i-Italy renounced government funds and opted for English instead. And they soon discovered it's not just a matter of translation. "The greatest challenge is making ourselves understood," says Airos. "To communicate Italy abroad, you need a cultural bridge… That's what i-Italy is."
Italy is in great demand in the US—especially in the areas of food, fashion, tourism, art and culture—but Italian institutions and private businesses haven't caught on. They spend enormous sums to place ads in mainstream american media. But that gets them nowhere nearer the enormous niche of American Italophiles. Enter i-Italy.
i-Italy, according to the Corriere, has taken an unconventional route to traditional media platforms. Begun as an online resource, it later added print and television outlets. The figures are impressive: iItaly.org receives 1.1 million visits per year, its YouTube channel has 1.7 million views, and its Facebook page has almost 200,000 'likes'. Furthermore, 50,000 copies of a bi-monthly magazine called i-ItalyNY are distributed for free in New York City. And every Sunday i-Italy airs a TV program on NYC Life, the official PBS of the City.
SOURCE Italian American Digital Project, Inc.