Bringing Asian voices to the World with Eastern Standard Times

Bringing Asian voices to the World with Eastern Standard Times

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Publishing network challenging the narrative about Asian people, and telling stories by those who have lived them.

Growing up across multiple locations across the world, Keshia Hannam was drawn to how assimilation and belonging can affect identity.

Little was she aware, that she would be leading a team of 22, across offices in New York and Los Angeles, and production teams spread across Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore, telling tales that resonate.

Eastern Standard Times was created to tell Asian stories,” Editor-in-chief Hannam recently revealed to Ticker Insight. “Asian stories by Asian people about Asian culture.

“The mission is in the name – to make the East standard – as standard as the Western perspective.

“If you work for an Asian media company, it’s always local news. We don’t believe that it accurately reflects the 60 percent of the world’s population that lives in Asia.

“So, we wanted to create a media platform that spoke to those identities.”

Hannam reveals an office has launched in Australia, targeting the Asian diaspora based in the nation.

“We wanted to launch our second Western market in Australia, because of its proximity to Asia,” she explains. “And also because Asians make up 17 percent of the population (in the nation).

“We really wanted to be able to articulate something that was relevant to a diaspora Asian audience.”

With many media organisations across the world, how does Eastern Standard Times continue to differentiate itself and cut-through a saturated market?

“All of our stories are told by Asians,” articulates the Editor. “if you see a story coming out of Indonesia, about nickel mining, it was told by Indonesians who live in Indonesia.

“We’re actually working with people to produce the story, so that they can tell their version of it, versus us telling them what the story should be.”

“We don’t have any parachute journalism – I’m not flying into different places to go and report. I will always use local language and those that are on the ground.”

“I think the second biggest differentiator is that our team is all Asian women,” continues Hannam.

“Our content is really human. And we really wanted it to be empathetic.

“Sometimes, particularly in Asian stories, they like context, and they lack the human at the centre of it.

“And that’s always the first step in understanding something and somebody.”

Hannam hopes that as Editor-in-chief, she can get the chance to tell stories that make people be “proud” of who they are, and their lived experiences, as she didn’t see this when growing up.

“I didn’t think that the stories that I cared about had a place here,” she reveals. “And I didn’t think that the stories I cared about ha place in many of the countries I lived in.

“I hope what we are creating here (at EST Media) is something that young people – little Keshia’s – can look at the stories that we’re telling and see themselves, and feel proud of who they are, not because of what other people expect them to be, but because of the life that they’ve lived.”

For more information about Eastern Standard Times, head to their website.

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