Conclusion

Hyphen’s model shows how combining aesthetic pleasure, fun mixed with educational, and a subtle trend of social action running through content, can produce a more inclusive and accurately representative of the multiplicity and hybridity of Asian America. But the biggest question facing Hyphen as well as other Asian American media is still asking: how inclusive can you get without losing that cohesiveness that ties your medium together? So far, Hyphen has approached this challenge by utilizing different categories and departments to tie together different pieces on various pieces of Asian American culture and lifestyle.

Just as ethnic and media construction is always changing, a successful coverage changes alongside, moving nomadically and across spaces, as Lisa Lowe stated. This is no easy feat; it is simple to focus on Korean-American or Chinese-American stories because those populations are higher in numbers than Laos-Americans or Thai-Americans for example. On the other hand, Hyphen invites writers to submit suitable work and besides certain guidelines, this setup allows new Asian American writers to contribute and diversify Hyphen’s content. Yet, how many people outside of Hyphen’s current part-time staff participate in that process? Then, there is the question of coverage, which not only consists of ethnic background but also class. Most of the readership have affluent jobs and a payroll that would be considered as privilege. What about the stories of those who, though are not of middle class status, are doing amazing things for the local community? There are many factors that differentiate Asian Americans from each other and diversifying, not among ethnicity but amongst class, different opinions on social issues (i.e., abortion), religion, and politics, as examples. On the same line of thought, what about offering other sources of information for Asian Americans who may be dealing with certain issues? The only line of advice and support that was stumbled upon during this case study was the column, Ask a Model Minority Suicide.

Perhaps, Hyphen Magazine is too subtle about social activism and change; all the focus on arts, literature, film and television, music, and so forth, does not directly testify to actual action taking place on community ground. Hyphen also tends to take attention away from science and mathematics to shed light on professions that most Asian Americans would not choose as their career but the act of doing so might lead to some inequality towards those scientists and mathematicians who invest in just as alternatively creative and different projects as industrial artists and historical scholars. On another note, perhaps these aspects can be applied to a different magazine, zine or educational blog for they are not Hyphen’s focus.

Would applying Hyphen’s model to other ethnic mediums be good for other groups? In a way, Hyphen’s model works well because they specifically target a young adult population, though not confined to merely big urban centers. Yet, a young adult population is easier to reach due to their technology savvy ways and connectedness to the Internet. One of the dangers of paralleling playful and serious into a source is the lack of consistency and flow. But the presentation of fun and educational works because of a mostly young adult readership. If the niche focus consists of first generational Asian Americans who protested and fought for ethnic rights and social justice for minorities in the 60s, then the scenario would be completely different. Hence, the way Hyphen engages with their readership lies with their interests; other groups in reaching out to their target audiences should also find links through interests to apply the theme and style of their own medium. Hyphen’s style speaks specifically to its hybrid mix of Asian America; stylistically, the print and the digital does not insinuate stereotypes at all (i.e., no “Oriental” fonts).

Disgrasian.com: Setting a new bold, trendy space for Asian American dissonant voices?

In regards to the future of Asian American alternative media, it is a niche that continually grows, whether that be magazines like Hyphen, blogs like Disgrasian, AsianWeek, Asian CineVision for film, or new creations that focus more on Asian Pacific Islanders or more detailed look at Southeastern Asian issues. For example, a more topic- and ethnic- specific blog is The Grand Narrative, which looks solely at Korean sociology through the lens of gender, mass advertising, and popular culture. But as for mediums such as magazines that require production costs, broader topic coverage relays to a bigger audience, and from a business standpoint, a larger market. At the same time, the larger the audience scope, the more attention there needs to be on accurate representation and maintaining that line of solidarity between each topic and department.

With the availability to produce on different media platforms (print, digital, television, film) there are continuous opportunities for other ethnic media groups to seek the balance between entertainment and education for their specific audience while challenging and countering the social injustices pitted against them through time and history. While there may be financial limitations and heightened competition, marking a specific niche can define a group and what it does differently from others. There is no general secret recipe to success, for the secret recipe caters and is specifically designed for each and every alternative medium.

Hence, there needs to be further study on the following: how do other ethnic audience-related media successfully outreach and create a cohesive identity for themselves?  Hyphen caters to a specific demographic; how about Asian American media towards an older generation?  Or Latino American media directed at a similar age group as Hyphen’s audience?  It would be an excellent further exploration into more trends of how ethnic media successfully construct and produce their work to instigate social change in their communities.  For now, starting with Hyphen, we have a few staple concepts: aesthetics, content, multiple visions and depictions of a diverse culture, and somehow with all of these, links back to social change and action within a group community.

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