Monday, September 24, 2007

Revolutionary & Grassroots

What is Asianadian?

Asianadian is a revolutionary, grassroots magazine that focuses on the social and racial issues of Asian-Canadians. It was revolutionary because it was the first magazine of its time to deal with the social, racial, and cultural issues of Asian Canadians. It is also a forum to support and promote Asian writers, musicians and artists. Asianadian is located out of Toronto and is published on a quarterly basis. The scope of the publication reached outside the confines of Toronto and spread into the United States and overseas to attract over three hundred subscribers at one point.

Reasons to buy Asianadian

  • Effective way to break into growing Asian market. The rapidly increasing number of Asians in North America signifies that there is a need for a magazine such as Asianadian. Asians have been prevalent in all types of industries and successful in positions of leadership. Asian Americans are hailed as one of North America’s fastest growing, most diverse, and most affluent minority groups (American Demographics, 7/91). Along with Canada’s open immigration policies, the constant flow of Asians into the country creates a fertile market.

  • Increasing readership will guarantee wide reach of ideas. Readership for the magazine continues to grow at an alarming rate as loyal readers have endorsed Asianadian to friends. With current technology enabling the philosophies of the magazine to be disseminated widely, Asianadian is poised to take the momentum that they have and gain financial support. This support will come from other Asian-friendly businesses as they see how lucrative and positive the magazine can be.

  • Little competition gives Asianadian stability. Asianadian’s uniqueness in content and business practices allows little room for competitors. This makes the magazine a good investment because the price of the stock will not be dependant on anything but its own performance. It has proven to possess a following that has been supportive in contributions and subscriptions throughout the years.

  • Technological advances can allow for increased revenue. With the aid of the Internet, Asianadian could utilize their website to highlight and even advertise local Asian artists, writers, and musicians. This would escalate traffic through the website with the possibility of increased advertising revenue and reader subscriptions. It would also create awareness of local Asian artists, writers and musicians.

Investment Concerns

Asianadian is currently financially unstable. The loss of subscribers could drastically influence the future of the company, as they are the main source of revenue for the magazine. Another concern is the lack of advertisers that they have attracted. To gain support they may have to compromise some of their journalistic freedom in order to stay afloat.

Visit the collective’s website at:

Research Question #1 (Russel Bareng)

How does the media organization affect social change in your locale?

One aspect of the Chinese World View is didactics. Confucianism highly emphasized education as an important aspect of life. This is seen in many aspects of Chinese media. Charles Elliott conducted a case study on press releases from the New China News Agency. He noticed that many news values included a form of education. “Instructive: news that serves the function of providing useful information and promoting self-education. Education is a primary intent.” (Elliot, 73).

Bobby Siu, one of the key members of Asianadian said that they saw the production of the Asianadian as the beginning of a social movement, similar to the Asian Americans' movement. The founders were also interested in creating a forum that Asian Canadians could use to speak out with, as well as a medium for sharing of ideas and insights. This is very similar to the First Amendment found in the Bill of Rights of the American Constitution which promotes a marketplace of ideas.

The heart and soul of Asianadian was to educate the public about events pertaining to Asian Canadians. Many of the articles dealt with controversial issues such as sexuality. While sexuality may not seem like a taboo issue today, it was during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, especially among the Asian Canadian community.

The article “I dig Asian chicks!”, talked about how an Asian Canadian woman overheard a conversation between Caucasian men who had an inclination towards “Asian chicks.” The men spoke of how Asian girls behaved a particular way because of their culture. When she did confront the men, they perceived her not as an individual, but as a stereotypical representation of a particular group. The author then discusses that perhaps the men’s views of Asian women were due to their limited contact with Asians overseas. Their viewpoints might have originated from their experiences with Asian women in the sex industry. She also explains her views on her own self-image.

The Asianadian created a forum for the local Asian community to express ideas, opinions, as well as share experiences. It also challenged the norms. In the same issue that dealt with sexuality was an article on the movie The Deer Hunter and how it tried to represent certain images of Asians as the truth. Education was the main goal of the Asianadian, educating the public about issues dealing with Asian Canadians.

Another example can be found in the Spring 1980 issue. The Hawaiian cultural revival was discussed in the International Section. It discusses the history of Hawaii’s statehood and explains why Hawaii is so distinct, culturally, compared to the other states.

These examples show how Asianadian was more concerned with educating its readers than by pleasing advertisers. The Asianadian drew attention to topics that needed to be discussed. Forcibly bringing out these topics to the public did not allow people in power to hide from these issues. Now that the problem was out in the open, change was forced to happen.

Research Question #2 (Russel Bareng)

How does the content of the product reflect the media organization?

The staff of Asianadian had six goals that it wanted to accomplish in each issue. These were to find new dignity and pride in being Asian in Canada, to promote an understanding between Asian Canadians and other Canadians, to speak out against those conditions, individuals and institutions perpetuating racism in Canada, to stand up against the distortions of our history in Canada, stereotypes, economic exploitations, and the general tendency towards injustice and inequality practiced on minority groups, to provide a forum for Asian Canadian writers, artists, musicians, and so on, and finally, to promote unity by bridging the gap between Asians with roots in Canada and recent immigrants.

These goals helped shape the type of articles found in Asianadian. These issues ranged from breaking down stereotypes in the media, explaining the social aspects of a country going through political change, to promoting Asian artists. Another factor determining content was the staff itself. Each issue had a rotating editor which allowed each writer to make leadership decisions depending on the issues of the magazine.

Some examples can be found in the Spring 1980 edition. The article entitled Filipinos in Quebec explains the economic and political situation in the Philippines from the 1950’s to the 1970’s. Many of the problems in the Philippines came from the Marcos Regime, which the United States help put into power when the Philippines gained independence.

Most of the original staff was made up of college students. These students wanted to make a difference in their world and they tried to do this through educating the people. This magazine was also the first grass-roots magazine dedicated to Asians in Canada. Asianadian published poets and was able to get many first interviews with Asian celebrities such as the director of The Joy Luck Club, Wayne Wang. The goals of the Asianadian staff reflected in the articles they wrote. An example of one such section was called Face to Face. The Face to Face section in the same Spring 1980 edition was an interview with Camille Laurin who discussed government polices concerning minorities. Camille Lauren was the Quebec Minister of State for Cultural Development.

Bobby Siu, one of the key members responded in an email, “the magazine consisted of articles on Asian Canadians' experiences and how we viewed the world. These articles reflect well the mandate of the Asianadian Resources Workshop” (Siu, 2002). The Asianadian Resources Workshop was the collective of “like-minded Asian Canadians.” Siu emphasized that Asianadian was not a company but a collective.

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