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.
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