"Eastern Standard Times" wants younger people of Asian descent to feel understood and represented in the media

“Eastern Standard Times” wants younger people of Asian descent to feel understood and represented in the media

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NEW YORK – It’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and a woman in Bed-Stuy is changing the way stories are told about AAPI communities. 

As CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reports, she wants to make sure younger generations feel understood and represented in the media. 

“Did you know that the Philippines is one of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world?” Keshia Hannam said in an Eastern Standard Times TikTok. 

From highlighting devastating flooding challenges facing Filipinos to a TikTok biography of Chinese superstar Faye Wong, nearly two dozen people of Asian descent produce short videos for social media and articles for the online publication Eastern Standard Times, hoping to reach Gen Z, starting with college students. 

Hannam, 30, is the editor-in-chief. She says Eastern Standard Times is challenging and celebrating narratives about Asian people and culture. She has lived all over Asia, but grew up in Australia and Hong Kong. 

“When I had lived in Hong Kong, I had been advocating for just more creativity, more civic engagement, more allowing stories to be told by the people who have lived them. And when you work in media, in Asia, you write about business, politics and property,” Hannam said. “Everything that we try to do is humanizing.”

Like profiling the toll of increasing Asian hate crimes in New York City through the eyes of the husband of Gui-Ying Ma, a Chinese grandmother who died after being attacked with a rock in Queens a few months ago. 

Journalist Alison Boya Sun, a Beijing native who is pursuing a masters at Columbia, conducted the interview in Mandarin. 

“That story to me was one that needed to be told in Chinese. It didn’t work to me in English. It lost a lot of its power,” Hannam said. 

Another report took a look at systemic racism in Malaysia. 

“We had Sanjana tell that story, who is in a minority in Malaysia, an Indian minority,” Hannam said. 

Hannam, whose mother is Indian and father is English, says it’s also important to reach people who were raised in more than one culture. 

“When I was growing up, I didn’t see anyone who looked like me,” Hannam said. “But so rare is the experience of actually hearing somebody talk about that. So we really just want to, we want to speak to that experience.” 

Hannam says the hope is that from all these stories, youth embrace their identity and become proud of who they are. 

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