This week Hannah Robathan, co-founder of Shado, tells us about the realities of publishing a print magazine and online platform that gives people the space to tell their own stories. We spoke about their frustration with the mainstream media, what activism means and what success looks like for Shado.
In the news roundup, the BBC and Reach make big announcements about office closures, we ask if an Instagram for under 13s is as crazy as it sounds, and discuss the Telegraph tying its journalists’ appraisals and potentially pay to their stories’ performance.
The full transcript is live here, and for now, here are some highlights:
On starting Shado
We started Shado in 2019, I guess out of a frustration at mainstream media, that didn’t seem to be much centering of voices of those who have lived experience. We didn’t have any experience with media, but we decided that we would create Shado as a platform for people to take control of their own narrative, to tell their own stories.
And that started with our first issue, which was on migration to Europe. A majority of the contributors, whether it was the artists or the writers, were of refugee or asylum seeking status themselves. We were tired of the mainstream media’s lack of representation.
When we first started I think it was actually a blessing that we didn’t have any experience in media. Obviously you can have an editorial voice, you can change people’s words so that it makes them sound a bit better. But we didn’t really know that. And so we developed sort of this collaborative methodology, where we kept everyone’s voices as authentic as possible.
And so it’s quite nice, now that we’ve been going for a few years. People know the sort of style that we have.
On being global
With all of our issues we take a really global approach to a topic. We’re lucky to work with people from over 60 countries around the world, which is really exciting.
The same goes for our youth issue; we have such a range of different pieces from protests in Peru and Thailand, to the youth leading the charge on TikTok. It’s a whole range of really exciting young people.
When it comes to the website, I suppose that’s where we have a bit more space to explore topics that aren’t necessarily being focused on in print. So that gives us a chance to have a bit of a broader brief rather than a theme.
When it comes to Instagram, we’re pretty active on that, but we are always aware that it can never be the be all and end all. It’s been really useful for us, especially as a global publication in terms of finding people to contribute and people finding us. But we are aware that it does need to go further than the old infographic industrial complex.
I think success and impact become quite interchangeable. I mean, for us, it’s creating real life change – we really want to encourage culture led system change. And so whether that’s starting small, reading an article that we might have in our magazine that takes you on to change your opinion, or doing something with whatever emotion you might have got from the issue.
I think success looks like real life change, hearing that our work has moved someone, has led them to do something differently.