Print Magazine

1) Style and Form
Hyphen’s print magazine comes out three times a year; just recently, they published Issue 21 for Fall 2010. Going back all the way to Issue 1, Hyphen follows a clean, easy on the eyes, layout with high-quality, eye-catching, colorful photos, illustrations, and graphics accompanying their articles with equally eye-catching headings and subtitles for articles. The font is a just as clean sans serif and margins are spaced in a way that text reading is not laborious. The layout is simple but open to enough alterations and changes from one article to the next, creating a sense of variety and change while following one concrete, artistic theme. The paper and the graphics are also of high quality, giving the feel of a professional magazine. From the table of contents to the issue’s open letter to the readers, the magazine flows from article to article, indulging in interviews, cultural arts, food, and current events, as examples and interjected with relative advertisements that cater to their audience.

Issue 20: Inside/Out Stills (click on each image for a live-sized preview; for the entire magazine: click here for digital issue online)

Table of Contents

Advertisement and Interrogasian, a fun section where readers can ask questions pertaining to Asian culture

A lighthearted article about three entrepreneurs' invented game that isn't really a game

One of the Featured articles on Asian American women and abortion

A fiction piece sample

2) Content

“Where other media treat Asians Americans either as a monolith, or by ethnic lines, Hyphen understands how to reach a pan-Asian generation that identifies more strongly by lifestyle.” (Source)

Content varies from each issue to the next but all follow a theme such as the latest issue was ‘The Legacy Issue.’  Others include ‘Action,’ ‘Family,’ ‘Inside/Out’, and more.  Topics fall under some of the following categories:  Front of the Book highlights which are named ‘Lazy Susan’, Books and Literature, Artwell and Takeout (focusing on artsy as well as lifestyle suggestions), Redux (which criticizes negative portrayals of Asians in media or praises positive representations Film, Food, and notable Features).  The editorial team consists of many editors that collaborate together to publish the print issue but also have their specific focus, such as ‘Books’ or ‘Film.’  There are a wide variety of articles that Hyphen covers: interviews with artists, musicians, filmmakers, social activists, adventurous ventures into the music scene, creative explorations into artists, critical pieces on global concerns, social commentary on the advent of issues pertaining to 21st century Asian American/American lifestyle, and even local backyard discoveries that the reader may not be aware of.  By balancing light with heavy, Hyphen is able to provide a spectrum of topics that fall into the broad and wide general interest of the Asian American readership.

Here is the complete list of categories, which are also organized as the different departments within the organization structure (source):

    Features: These are solid, substantial “investigative pieces, or cultural explorations on Asian American issues, or issues that may not be specific to Asian Americans, but affect Asian Americans significantly.” Features also include “in-depth profiles” and pieces that instigate thinking and reflection.  Topics can come from politics, business, culture, or ethnography.
    Food: These articles would cover the entire “food system:” “the cultivating, harvesting, distributing, preparing, enjoying and disposing of food and its by-products” as well as notable individuals within the food industry.
    Film: Film “highlights new trends, indie filmmakers, Hollywood and how the nuances of Asian American life are being portrayed in cinema.”
    Lazy Susan: Lazy Susan takes place in the front of our book, which reports on “topics that make light of the absurd and the not so absurd in a series of tightly written stories.” They need “stories that are smartly written, entertaining and enlightening.”
    Music: These are shout-outs to coming artists and their music through profiles, features and CD reviews.
    Profiles: Profiles include “interviews with artists, musicians, athletes, writers, actors, filmmakers, politicians and other people”, who Hyphen call, are not doctors and scientists.Redux: Quoting Hyphen, which best puts it: “See something in the media that pisses you off? An ad, magazine cover or TV show that made use of stereotypes? Sound off here on all those “American Beats Kwan” moments. Or, were you surprised by a positive portrayal? We’re looking for careful analysis and fun, handy charts, not rants.”

    Recipe: This is a cheeky, little part of the magazine, which looks at “how-to on skills every Asian American should know”. Usually accompanied with photos or illustrations.

By backtracking through the archives of Hyphen Magazine, I chose to highlight articles pertaining to gender/sexuality, social/ethnic issues, politics, and global-related (issues two to five are missing and not counting the blog):

  • Gender/Sexuality
    Issue 21: Female hip hop group in male-dominated industry
    Issue 20: Asian American women and abortion, Asian drag queens
    Issue 19: Covering bloggers behind, Sex ads on Asian American websites
    Issue 17: Woman opening her own auto-shop
    Issue 16: Porn star speaks out to empower Asian American men
    Issue 15: Chinese-American woman as an egg donor
    Issue 14: Asian playboy
    Issue 13: Changing the face of lesbian erotica
    Issue 7: Sex survey directed towards Asian American readers, portrayal of women in men’s magazine (Asian American slant), Asian transgender women
    Issue 1: Queer documentary
  • Social Justice/Ethnic
    Issue 21: Asian adopters choosing children from birth countries, Karen Tei Yamashita and I Hotel (1960s Asian American activism), Social Networking roots in Asian-America
    Issue 20: Asian American women and abortion, Asian Americans and Hollywood, Ethnic group-specific museums and collective history, Asian American literature and ethnicity issues
    Issue 19: Asian American model minority-related concerns
    Issue 18: Hollywood averse to A.A. actors, Margaret Cho and activism, Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence group and South Asian-American community leaders, Grace Lee Boggs speaks
    Issue 17: Naming children linked with political activism, Asian American family values, dysfunctional diversity, second generation of Iranian Americans confront history and culture
    Issue 16: Criticism of ethnic humor, “garbage property” and Asian American seniors, Asian American literature and book covers
    Issue 15: TV ads and stereotypes, virtual Asian American communities, United States of Asian America, Asian Middle America, Asian Pacific Islander (API) men and prisons
    Issue 14: Minorities and White Culture in Star Trek, Revisiting historical spaces
    Issue 13: Misuse of the term hapa, where is Asian Pacific Islander literature?, Indian scientist from Berkeley aids refugees and helps environment, rethinking child prodigies and model minorities
    Issue 12: Defying Asian height stereotypes, Raising marginalized voices in documentary, Asian American film directors, cheap Chinatown buses and safety
    Issue 11: Muslim women’s movement, Jewish congregations of gay Asians, Chinatown theatres
    Issue 10: Chinatown/AIDS, music as voice for Asian American experience
    Issue 9: Community groups versus casinos, MTV and ethnicity, civil rights and “covering” (
    Issue 8: The Asian American doll
    Issue 7: Multi-racial dolls
    Issue 6: Asian Americans on TV (reality shows, dramas)
  • Political
    Issue 19: Record number of Asian Americans in White House, first Asian president of Sierra Club
    Issue 15: Life after 9/11 and Asian American lives
    Issue 14: Which Asian American for President?
    Issue 13: Crime (mass killer Seung-Hui Cho)
    Issue 11: WWII-Filipino veteran fights for benefits from US government
    Issue 8: Vietnamese Americans in New Orleans Post-Katrina, post-9/11 America captured by a Sikh American
    Issue 6: Iraq War
    Issue 1: Asians in the army, who speaks for Asian America (finding ground with different Asian American communities)
  • Global-related
    Issue 21: Laotian American reaches out to Laos
    Issue 18: WWII Japanese Americans and Latin Americans meet to exchange experiences
    Issue 16: Sustainability and consumption (rice, seafood)
    Issue 12: Filmmaker and Chinese AIDS
    Issue 8: Historical recap of Jack Shirai in the Spanish Civil War, Muslim-Christian conflict in the Philippines
    Issue 1: Cambodian Americans speak out on being youngsters in exile

As stated, I only pulled out a select number of topics under the various categories to show how diverse Hyphen’s content is. Many of the articles that I placed in the three categories can overlap and do not include the countless amounts of articles that play with the idea of Asian American stereotypes, go beyond gender and sexuality boundaries, indulge in food culture, commentate on cultural arts such as the music scene, art industry, film and television, literature, technology, environment-related, feature individual and people stories, and more through the eyes of today’s Asian Americans. Many stories emerge from original, in-depth narratives from specific Asian American experiences, drawing from inspiration and emerging artists. There are also extensive articles on food consumption and culture: some are recipes, others are jabs at the food entertainment industry, and some are reports on seafood sustainability and debunking the Asian myth that the rice crop is perpetually and forever cheap. While they welcome investigative reports and literary journalism, they also encourage thoughtful and quirky pieces of work, a bit of cheek-in-tongue in play. According to submission guidelines, “bonus points” are given “if the story takes place in the South or Midwest, emphasizing that Asian America doesn’t exist only on the coasts, you know.” (Source)

Many of the magazine features are available online except that to view a full article, one would have to be a subscriber to Hyphen.

3) Distribution and Means of Access
Distribution of the magazine goes out to California (Berkeley, Los Angeles, Montrose, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose), Colorado (Denver), Illinois (Chicago, Evanston), Massachusetts (New Bedford), Maryland (Baltimore), New Mexico (Santa Fe), New York (Brooklyn, New York), Texas (Austin), and Washington (Seattle). More bookstores hold the magazine in big urban centers such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York in contrast to other cities such as Oakland, New Bedford.

According to the readership statistics in Hyphen’s Media Kit from 2010, Hyphen readers “are highly educated and upwardly mobile Asian Americans in their 20s and 30s.”

Statistics include (Source):

  • The reader base is quantified around 11,000.
  • 90% are Asian Americans.
  • 94% fall into the age group of 18-49.
  • Gender-wise, the turnout consists of 59% female, 40% male, and 1% transgender.
  • Income results show that 60% makes over $50,000 a year and 25% makes over $100,000 a year. Education statistics reveal 80% have a college degree and/or a graduate degree.
  • Most popular fields of occupation are arts, design, sports, media, and education.
  • Mostly congregated in: Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Dallas, Austin, Chicago, and Washington DC

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