Three lessons in inclusive commissioning from student-turned-independent publication Kindred Magazine


Credit: by Kindred Magazine

Originally a student magazine set up by a group of ten students, family magazine won Best Newcomer Publication at the Student Publication Association Awards a few months ago. The team behind the post was motivated to continue even after completing its course and is transforming Kinship into a full-fledged independent publication, aided by university funding.

“We saw our target audience as much like us; people from underrepresented backgrounds,” said editor Reem Makari. Journalism.co.uk.

“We were all fed up with the stories of different people only being shown when they are in pain – we wanted to do something to celebrate those people.”

Although the magazine is small, it has an engaged audience, whether that be readers responding via Instagram, or interviewees and their friends and family reaching out with comments – Makari notes that some articles involve spend several days with sources.

And the team sticks to consistent routines to keep going and grow their community. Since its launch in November 2021, a new story has been published every weekday at 6 p.m.

The mission-driven approach was also a good way to find new voices to create content. While the original editorial team focused on getting their degrees, they brought in volunteer contributors to take some of the workload off them.

“A lot of the contributors were people who already loved what we do and got so committed that they’re now writing for us,” says Makari, who shared tips for putting inclusivity at the heart of the reporting and update process. in service.

Check multiple boxes

“You can’t just tick one diversity box, you have to tick more than one to be truly diverse,” says Makari.

She notes that many publications address diversity symbolically, such as featuring only one non-white model in a photoshoot, or rarely featuring people from more than one underrepresented group, whereas Kinship wanted to “find people who hadn’t been shown before”.

One of those interviewees was Antony Fitzgerald, a 57-year-old black model who runs a network of mature POC models.

Even though of the family audience is primarily made up of students under the age of 35, featuring people outside of the core readership demographic is part of their mission to elevate new voices. And that’s one of the reasons why Makari defines the target audience broadly: she believes that while people from underrepresented groups will be reflected in the articles, the magazine is also an opportunity for people who are not marginalized to understand and identify with others.

Diversity should run through every section

The magazine has a section called “Identity”, which includes interviews, reports and first-person articles exploring how different aspects of people’s identity (race, gender, illness or disability, and sexual identity) intersect with other aspects of their lives, and the magazine’s first issue was titled “Identity Issue”.

Recent articles include an insight into how women of color experience college hookup culture, an interview with a professional dominatrix, and an article on the role hobbies play in improving women’s body image. .

But it was important to the team from the start that people from underrepresented groups were not only portrayed as representatives of those groups, but also featured throughout the magazine in its other sections, such as fashion, entertainment and lifestyle.

So, a regular beauty post features beauty brands owned by POC, and a post in the fashion pages features an influencer with muscular dystrophy.

A regular new music feature takes time to incorporate lesser-known up-and-coming artists alongside releases and events from those audiences are already familiar with, to ensure the full roster is diverse in every way possible.

Just make the effort

of the family The team includes people from a wide variety of backgrounds, and the team actively encourages submissions from writers from diverse backgrounds, so some stories have been inspired by the writers’ own experiences or feature their personal relationships.

Numerous reports have sounded the alarm over the lack of diversity in the UK media, which increases the risk of overlooking or distorting the stories of communities of which journalists are not part.

Makari’s advice to journalists and editors is to make diversity and inclusiveness a core value and an integral part of every action you take.

“It’s about putting in real effort, trying to look at all the different areas you can cover, and doing a lot of research. When you talk about diversity, you’re not just talking about race or gender, you’re talk about a bunch of other things that people can relate to,” she says.

“If you’re going to push diversity, make that effort and go beyond the surface, try to see what people actually want and find a connection with your audience and what diversity means to them,” he adds. she.

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