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Meet the creators of GEN-ZiNE–Anushka Joshi, Eden Burkow, and Sam Gibbs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anushka Joshi, Eden Burkow, Sam Gibbs.

Anushka, Eden, and Sam, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Anushka: A dream job and goal of mine in life was to be a creative director for a magazine that focuses on creating social change.

It seemed far off in the future, and slightly out of reach. But I took an upper division communications class called Designing Media for Social Change my freshman year of college. Sam, Eden, and I were freshmen at the time, and we sat together in the front row among upperclassmen. When tasked with creating our own media for social change, I didn’t have to think twice about making a zine.

Together, GEN-ZiNE was born, and my far fetched dream came true. Our zine tackles contemporary and controversial issues through the lens of Generation Z. We shared the zine on our social media accounts simply because we were proud of our work and the work ethic that fueled us to create something that felt powerful. It received really positive feedback from our peers, who were thirsty for more and who gave us their undivided attention and support. Thus, we continued on with our journey.

We could rant about social issues for hours, but GEN-ZiNE gives us a platform to concisely share our opinions and have them heard. Readers have approached us and said, “I want in on the next issue.” We want to cultivate a community and create a space for all voices to be heard.

Has it been a smooth road?
Eden: Our first issue was both smooth and bumpy. It was smooth because we literally had a physical due date to turn it in by, so making the time in our schedules to complete issue one was mandatory. The unsmooth parts consisted on the fact that it was being graded, and not letting a grade and feedback discourage us from finding our voice. That being said, issue two engages with different issues, but overall it has been a smooth process because of the sheer fact that we feel that creating, writing, and interacting with GEN-ZiNE is necessary.

Sam: I think also juggling having different schedules and just focusing on schoolwork besides this is an obstacle we all face. This is a priority in our lives but it sometimes has to take a backseat to other things.

Anushka: Our zine is fueled by the passion we have for tackling these issues and dissecting them. We make it on our terms–which is both a blessing and a curse. I’m proud of us for making time, and we will continue to do so as we grow GEN-ZiNE.

We all bring different perspectives and skills to the table, and we have great group chemistry. Working together makes it really easy, and that is the foundation we have been able to fall back on. Our cohesive dynamic makes it easy to troubleshoot any bumps in the road and blocks we have while writing the zine.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the GEN-ZiNE story. Tell us more about the business.
Anushka: GEN-ZiNE is our publication that critiques social issues through the lens of our generation. We explore where we are today, and how we can create a better tomorrow.

We have two issues so far––Gendered Violence: Disciplining the Body, and Multiculturalism: Stirring the Melting Pot––, and our third is in the works. We created a beautiful zine that people want to pick up, flip through, and hopefully, they’ll learn a thing or two to take away.

It’s a way for us to share take theory from the classroom into something tangible. We have a deep desire to underline the injustices in society and make sure those concerns are heard. As a young person, I understand how important it is to consume digestible media to stay in touch with the world, and as an aspiring creative director, I understand the pressing need to design media for social change.

Eden: Our class gave us the tools to design “media” for social change. We designed a zine with the tools we learned and craved to make an impact, spread awareness, and hopefully provide the necessary language to help others speak up, and feel comfortable to engage in dialogue on a variety of social issues. In a sense, we have made it a part of our civic duty to think about lives that don’t pertain to your own.

Sam: I’m most proud of the fact that we do this all ourselves without any real “professionals.” We are all below the age of 21 and have put out two zines in the past year mainly just working the three of us. That’s pretty impressive. I also think that is what sets us apart. We are so young and so driven to share stories and opinions that are often not shared. We want to bring to our generation the issues and ideas that they can use in the future to grow and develop as people and as leaders.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Eden: I view us each as articulate, strong content creators, and our zine has empowered us each to tackle social issues using a different part of our psyche. In terms of the larger zine industry, glorifying and echoing the voices that need to be heard, will only continue to increase as media plays a powerful role in the most pressing of social issues. I expect to see a major shift in future dialogues about social issues that most feel taboo to speak about now because I believe we are heading into a very verbal age.

Sam: I think creating a zine is going back to the feminist waves of the earlier years like the 70s-90s but I think the onset of digital is pushing us to make our content more tech-friendly and more shareable on social media. We want to attract a following and in order to do that we need to have a strong digital presence which is why we launched our website this year.

Anushka: I’ve always been attracted to the magazine industry, but the physical realm is shrinking. I’m still committed to printing our issues. If we treat it as a decorative work of art that people pick up, a more diverse audience will engage with it–not just the people who choose to read it online. Digitization has to be embraced too–there is no escaping it. With Apple News+, magazines are now accessible for a mobile experience. Digitization has allowed anyone to create and share––just like us!

In terms of content, I think it will become much more socially conscious. We are in an age where we have to speak up and share our thoughts–there’s no space for complacency. If being critical of society and thinking about issues that involve other parties becomes trendy, I’m here for it. As long as it’s not all talk––actions need to reflect words too.

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