CLIPPING: Interview with the Editors of @8Asians.com / @jozjozjoz @ErnieAtLYD @Moye

Editors of 8Asians.com

Joz, Ernie & Moye: Editors of 8Asians.com. (Photo courtesy Tommy Su of SnapItStudio.com)

A few weeks ago we (the Co-Editors of 8Asians) got a request to be interviewed by a student for an Asian American Studies class at UCLA. Seeing as I was an undergrad in that program, I basically said yes and forced Ernie and Moye to do it. But since they’re awesome, they did and here’s the result, from the project’s tumblr:

1. What purpose did you have in starting the blog?
Ernie: So, it’s probably not the reason why you thought someone would start a blog about Asian American issues: after blogging about my personal life since 2000 and having to take it down due to some awkward run-ins involving family members I talked trash about over the Internet, I was looking to write about something else.

At that point, I had gone on a gay personals website — I’ll leave out some details because this would bring on a whole new tangent — and I noticed that they wouldn’t approve my membership, even though my non-Asian friends could get on easily. It was the first real time that something discriminatory was really dangled in front of my face, and that situation was fresh on my mind, so I asked a bunch of my co-workers if they were interested in writing a blog about Asian American stuff, kind of like “The View” but with Asians. And that’s how the blog as born.

2. When did you decide to join/collaborate as a blogger?
Ernie: Well, I kinda started the blog, so there’s that. I officially our first post for the blog – a two sentence blurb about Yul Kwon winning Survivor: Cook Islands Christmas of 2006.

Joz: I joined 8Asians in February 2007, about 2 months after the official launch. Ernie and I had met and become friends via our personal blogs prior to this. (I been blogging personally since 2002.) I was one of the first “new” writers to join after the “original 8” had started the site, but I was really excited to be a part of 8Asians because up until then, I hadn’t really been blogging about Asian American issues, per se– and I had been an Asian American Studies major at UCLA as an undergrad.

Moye: I’ve been blogging on my own for a while but Joz invited me to join 8Asians in 2008 where I wrote enough and was invited by Ernie to become a co-editor. I was always interested in Asian American issues and writing my opinions about it felt like it was my way of being a part of the community. It’s been a really fun time since being a part of 8Asians has given me the opportunity to work alongside (virtually) with other Asian Americans/Canadian friends across the country and create our own little network.

3. What do you think is the impact of your blog?
Joz: One of the things that really sets 8Asians apart is the diversity of voices, viewpoints, and opinions from our regular contributors, guest writers, and commenters. That said, I think one of the biggest impacts 8Asians has is to give voice to Asian Americans (and Asian Canadians) of all kinds– which means that differing opinions on the same topic can appear on our site. We want to challenge the notion that Asian Americans are all the same and have one opinion– though we obviously have many similarities, we also have many differences. We try to highlight what we have in common, but also what sets us apart from each other.

We use our platform to help people share their ideas and thoughts about the issues and topics which affect our community. Sometimes the viewpoints on our blog are unpopular, but we publish them if we believe that it can begin a dialogue. Content from 8Asians has been used in college courses, published in academic journals, and presented at conferences, but of course, we have the most fun when a post inspires comments– especially funny ones.

Ernie: One other thing I like about 8Asians? There is a mix of people that are heavily involved with APA issues, being in the community groups, knowing what the hot button issues are and knowing the activism scene. I’m totally not in that scene. Sometimes I just want to write about Hines Ward (the half-Korean NFL MVP) is in the finale Dancing with the Stars because I get to make fun of Dancing with the Stars.

4. How do you find the content that you post? And why do you post it?
Moye: We draw inspiration from everything, whether it’s breaking news about the Asian American community, ongoing issues that affect us and personal observations from our life and experiences. All of our writers have something to say (which is why they blog for us) and there are a lot more people out there who like to see what we have to say–because they either want to see these issues addressed, see other opinions and also share experiences. The APA population is so diverse but there are some things that we all have in common, and we hope we can provide that aspect online.

My favorite content is when people write about themselves; I love reading stories that our writers share about their families, their childhood, their education, and even funny moments. There’s only so much you can analyze about a viral article, video or news headline but there’s truly something different and refreshing when people share stories about themselves. It’s a topic that not even the biggest headline or current event can top because it comes straight from the heart.

5. How is your content relevant to contemporary Asian American culture or why do you think people read 8Asians?
Moye: I believe our content is relevant to today’s APA culture because we cover almost everything that affects our community with specific voices. I see a lot of blogs (of any group, Asian American or not) that cover very specific topics, like pop culture and entertainment, or just everything under the sun without reason–so it feels very limiting to read. I like to believe that represent THE diaspora of Asian American-ness: we’ve got writers from both coasts, both genders, both political parties, a variety of careers and ages–and the one thing we share is that we identify as Asian American. People can read 8Asians and understand that what we write changes every day.

I think people also read our blog because they know that we are there to incite dialogue. We’re not here to break news and we’re not here to be journalists. We’re bloggers and we’ve got something to talk about–and we want you to join the conversation. We have a solid group of readers who comment daily, and even though I don’t always agree with what they say, I love knowing that they love sharing their opinions.

Joz: I’ve been told by readers that they like 8Asians because they never know what to expect on our site. The different voices and viewpoints of our writers is what sets us apart from other sites. As Moye said, unlike news sites which are expected to report the news from an objective point of view, our writers can chime in right away about how they feel about a certain topic, issue, or news story. By doing so, our posts sometimes capture the mood of a specific moment, especially with stories that evolve and change over time. It’s great to be able to go back and see what our– and our commenters’– reactions were at a distinct point, giving our content great context and relevance in a fast-changing information and opinion cycle. Our “TalkAbouts” are also reader favorites because they often reflect a mix of insights, opinion and snark by our writers.

6. Do you perceive that you have some responsibility to represent Asian Americans or yourself in general? If so, how has that been going?
Ernie: Personally, I don’t. I don’t think I want to be responsible for a whole demographic. That’s exhausting. I want to take my work seriously, but I try hard to not take myself seriously (ask Moye or Joz for evidence of this.) That said, do I think 8Asians has a responsibility? It does, but it does so through the collective of all the different viewpoints, some of which may be directly contradicting. That makes sense, right?

Moye: Like Ernie said, I don’t try to take myself too seriously as an Asian American. It’s definitely a part of my identity but I blog for 8Asians because there are things that happen in our community that I want to talk about and see what other people have to say.

The only responsibility I see that 8Asians should be taking on for Asian Americans is to continue the dialogue about representation, whether that’s in the media, the web, in politics or abroad.

Joz: Unless we’re tabloid-fodder, aren’t we all each responsible for representing ourselves? 8Asians doesn’t represent all of Asian America, just as no other single person or entity can accurately and consistently represent us all. Even though we are a community, the thing to remember is that everyone who writes on 8Asians is writing from their own voice and standpoint. If you don’t feel like your opinions are being represented on 8Asians, then it’s up to you to join the community and share your voice. The same thing goes for the Asian American community at large; if you want to be represented, don’t expect someone else do it on your behalf.

You can find out more about 8Asians– and our entire family of sites– at:
8Asians.com: Main site
GASP!: GASP! is a shopping blog dedicated to gadgets, gizmos and tchotchke that highlight the Asian Pacific Islander community. It’s browser shopping for the greater good, wallet included!
POP88: A podcast featuring interviews, news, games and the best in J-pop, K-pop and other Asian pop music today. Just like radio, only not! Hosted by Toronto’s Christine Miguel
8Asians Tumblr: Spin-off of the regular blog, the Tumblr highlights Asians [& uber talented non-Asians] who draw, dance, build, film, sing, write, invent, paint, teleport, and of course, tumble.
8Asians Events: Our Asian American events listing site
The A-Word: 8Asians’ official podcast.

Want to write for 8Asians? Find out how!

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