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Daily Markup #590: Eastern Standard Times wants to make minority voices mainstream, and more from this week

Credit: WA Today

True representation in mainstream media

  • “A really important pillar for me was that stories were told by the people who would live them,” said Keshia Hannam, Editor-in-Chief of 500-backed media platform Eastern Standard Times (EST). “I go to them and say what story do you want to tell? And then we fund it.”
  • After a brief hiatus from journalism, brought about by a disappointment in the lack of Asian representation in mainstream media, Keshia moved to Australia to take the helm at EST with a renewed sense of vigor.
  • The goal? To make the East standard — as standard as the West. “I feel like that’s part of our responsibility to make sure that people feel like their stories in these countries — where typically there isn’t a large media industry for humanity-based stories — has legs to kind of be seen,” she explained.
  • EST aims to be a hybrid of Vice Media and New York Times. Each week the team produces short-form videos for Gen Z Asians created by a group of women who were born and raised in Asia and now work in diaspora markets.
  • Some of the stories the platform has told are of Kee Moo, a queer group from Northern Thailand who talk about their identity and journey, as well as a mini-documentary about Chinese-Australian sculptor NC Qin, who turns fragile glass into weapons and armor. EST is currently promoting an episode on the billion-dollar hair industry and its exploitation of Asian women.
  • But Keshia is ambitious yet careful about how she positions EST. “I don’t want to become a special interest company,” she said. “I feel like we need to actually start infiltrating Channel Seven’s, the Channel Nine’s of the world. I don’t think it serves us to keep being like ‘if you like exotic content,’ [come to us].”
  • Read the full interview here.

Stories you may have missed this week:

  • GXS Bank, Singapore’s first digital bank by Grab and Singtel, launches savings account with up to 1.58% annual interest rates
  • Cargobase builds the world’s first Autonomous Transport Management System to help businesses go digital affordably
  • Nas Academy and YGG launch Web3 Metaversity to teach future skills and uncover new income opportunities
  • Bukalapak and Standard Chartered launch BukaTabungan, a fully paperless service for the underbanked in Indonesia
  • Gilmour Space Technologies and Commercial Space Technologies signed an agreement to offer an affordable launch solution to satellite customers.
  • A consortium including Carsome that won one of five Malaysian digital bank licenses aims to serve small businesses.
  • Grab and Coca-Cola announced an integrated regional partnership to unlock growth opportunities in a booming digital consumer market.

Ching Yee Ho