Schneps Media owner Vicki Schneps says she’ll be further spreading the word about her diverse media empire when she attends the 2019 SOMOS Puerto Rico Conference.
The conference, which started on Wednesday and runs through Sunday, is organized by members and allies of the New York State Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force.
“I feel very much, as a company, Scheps Media, we have to spread the word,” said Schneps in an exclusive Caribbean Life interview just before her departure for Puerto Rico.
“A lot of people in leadership come to this conference,” she added. “I went there last year. We’re an advocacy paper. For us, it’s a chance to meet people who I may not ordinarily get a chance to meet.
“They do the conference right after the elections (general elections),” Schneps continued. “It’s a multi-day conference and multi-day networking, and getting also people to know us.
“I think the biggest accomplishment is to meet new people, to know their issues and concerns,” she said. “It’s a learning trip for me; a listening tour. It’s just to learn, listen and share. Hopefully, I’ll bring back some knowledge and information. I’m just proud to represent Schneps Media and all it represents.”
Schneps Media, which owns Caribbean Life, is “the proud publisher and producer” of 33 award-winning newspapers, 28 magazines and specialty publications, 20 websites and more than 50 annual events, according to its website.
SOMOS, Inc., says on its website that it is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization “that unites the Latino community, raises awareness, advocates and elevates social consciousness on public policy in collaboration with the New York State Assembly/Senate Puerto Rican & Hispanic Task Force; and ensures the upward mobility of Latino youth through educational empowerment, mentoring programs and scholarships.”
It also said that it is “a leading force in bringing together Latino communities to make positive and transformative impacts resulting in an improvement in the socioeconomic and civic status of all Latinos across New York State and beyond.”
This year’s SOMOS Puerto Rico Conference will focus on the ongoing crisis that Puerto Rico faces.
“It is our goal to educate the conference participants on the issues so that their voices can be heard back home and that the Diaspora can stand united in advocating for positive change and action,” said SOMOS in a statement.
It said participants will engage in service-related activities and in dialogues “that will highlight and help to shape priorities for public policy, civic participation and community engagement.”
SOMOS said the “thought-provoking workshops” will focus on “key issues,” such as energy and resiliency, business development, health and education.
On its website, Schneps Media said its mission is “to provide all New Yorkers with news and information about the issues that shape their daily lives in their neighborhoods.”
It said it offers the largest circulation and readership of any media outlet throughout New York City.
“Our brands have been the most trusted sources of local news, events and information dating back over 100 years,” Schneps Media said. “Advertisers large and small choose our outlets for the most grass roots effective marketing.
“Schneps Media has invested heavily and been an industry leader in providing news, events and information through our targeted websites, email newsletters and social media channels,” it added. We specialize is sponsored content and driving results for our clients.
“Connecting people and helping them grow their businesses has been our business for over 30 years,” the media empire continued. “Schneps Media Events bring the most powerful and active members of the community into one room through our many targeted events.
“Our company has a growing focus on producing high quality podcasts and video that include interviewing local leaders and celebrities that is disseminated across our multiple channels,” it said.
On Oct. 11, Schneps Media acquired amNewYork from Newsday Media Group.
Launched in 2003, amNewYork is Manhattan’s highest daily circulation newspaper and has almost 1 million unique visitors to its website each month.
Schneps Communications, parent company of The Queens Courier, Ridgewood Times, QNS.com, Brown
“Our media company is a labor of love that began with The Queens Courier in my living room in 1985,” Schneps said. “I found my passion — the news business.”
As a former grade school reading teacher, she said her career took a very sharp turn with the birth of her first-born child.
Before her second birthday, she said her was diagnosed with severe brain damage from a birth injury.
“In 1970, we brought her to a ‘school’ on Staten Island in hopes that their Infant Rehabilitation Center might help her with their physical and occupational therapies,” Schneps said.
Shortly after, she said she founded Life’s WORC, the Working Organization for Retarded Children, “a group of wonderful, caring people who had healthy children but wanted to help me.”
“We raised thousands of dollars and organized busloads of volunteers to donate their time to help the children at Willowbrook,” Schneps said. “But state budget cuts at the school caused dramatic service and staffing cutbacks causing people to die.
“It was a cold rainy day in 1971 when I picketed with WORC members, fighting for the rights of my daughter Lara and the 5,400 other residents at the ‘school’ who resided at the Willowbrook State School for the Mentally Retarded,” she added.
Schneps said no one heard their cries until the news media (Geraldo Rivera, most notably) filmed and reported on “the abominable conditions at the ‘school.’”
“It left a lasting impression on me how the power of the press helped focus on the needs of people with mental retardation and ultimately brought change forever,” she said.
Schneps said she had a dream to one day be in the news business herself.
As a young mother of four children, she said she was searching for a career that would allow her to work but be available to her children.
With an initial, unidentified partner, who went on to other projects, Schneps said he helped to teach her the news business.
“I was the inquiring photographer, news reporter and finally salesperson,” she said.
In 1985, Schneps said she saw how all the apartment buildings in northeast Queens were going co-op.
“It seemed to me that if people owned their apartments, there is a greater interest in the schools, the political and civic scenes,” she said. “We decided to start a weekly newspaper as partners and called it The Queens Courier.”
Today, Schneps said The Queens Courier is part of the largest local media company in New York State, comprising of newspapers, magazines, websites and events.
In partnership with her son, Joshua Schneps, “we have and continue to grow, and have expanded our business into over 70 community newspapers and magazines, powerful digital assets, including news and community websites, email newsletters and social media channels, as well as powerful networking events and live events serving all five boroughs of New York City, Long Island and Westchester,” Schneps said.
“It wasn’t an easy path,” she said. “As graduates are advised, always reach for the stars and never give up, and always demand the best of yourself and others working with you.
“No is not in my vocabulary,” she declared.
Schneps said her company’s passion for bringing the finest quality news to readers is “stronger than ever.”
“We thank you, readers and advertisers, for all your support in making it possible,” she said. “We have restated our mission in fewer words, ‘We’re All About You.’”
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