AGORA Media: Connectivity is Destiny

We’re a youth-led, international media start-up that explores global issues and cultural trends through a unique focus on connectivity.

Photo of Laurel Prime
79 102

Written by

Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

September 12, 2000

Help us stay in touch!

Phone number: 201-647-8109, 806-333-8800 Mailing address: New York: Ithaca, 14853-5246

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Website: https://agoramedia.co Instagram: @agoramedia.co

Date You Started Your Project Started

10/1/17

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Today, across the world, we see the rising tide of isolationism and ignorance. We see politicians who deride free speech; we see policies passed to divide cultures and individuals. AGORA believes, however, in the universality and power of connection—we believe that every topic, no matter how niche, can be related to connectivity. Our world is divided. We need to educate the youth of this world on how we can begin to heal.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

AGORA is a media organization with a mission to educate others on the power of the interdisciplinary and connectivity in current world issues. We strive to include as many disciplines in our content as possible; we’ve published short films with analysis, podcasts, art, and analytical written works. We always bring the topic back to connectivity; at the end of every piece, we have a connectivity-focused TL;DR, relating the piece back to connectivity, and CXNs, which connect the piece to other mediums or events. We also conduct interviews with young changemakers who are helping to connect individuals with opportunities or resources through their organizations’ missions. To truly amplify our mission, we have an international focus, both externally and internally; our staff includes artists from all over the world, from California to the UK. Finally, we highlight current world issues, such as the Global Climate Strikes, through our resources on our site that aim to provide a balanced view of such events. AGORA wants to not only help amplify underrepresented topics and voices, but also our vision of connectivity—a world where we can grow to understand others, and ourselves, better.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

AGORA was started in a time when fear ran rampant and individuals were perhaps more disconnected than ever before. After the 2016 election, individuals pointed fingers at not only authority figures, but each other. I watched as friendships broke down and a grey cloud seemed to descend over not only our nation, but our parks, cafes, and classrooms. I believe, however, in the power of connection—that we can always, as individuals, find something we share, whether that be a hometown, a favorite food, or a dream. AGORA believes in the same. Our contributors, from both different walks of life and different opinions on everything from politics to video games, exemplify this. Even as we disagree on presidential candidates and the best way to style our social media feed, we can still bond with each other through our #nonsense in our Slack, one-on-one calls, and AGORA-specific memes.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

At AGORA, we know that connections, not divisions, must prove to be the binding force between individuals. We want to grow into an organization that can truly create change through the works we publish, the discussions we generate, and the thought we provoke in others.

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Jeff applies to be an editor, submitting a statement of interest, and in about two weeks, he’s accepted with an email that invites him to the AGORA Media Slack. He’s welcomed to the AGORA Slack warmly and given a new contributors’ guide, as well as an editor-specific guide, to read through, which gives him information about how to use Slack, AGORA’s policies and inner workings, and specific intra-AGORA groups, such as the graphic design team and the web development team, that he can join. He chooses to help with graphic design, helping create AGORA’s new logo and feed style. He also helps edit other contributors’ pieces and consistently gives feedback on new endeavors at AGORA. In just one month, he grows to feel like he’s truly part of the AGORA team. Jeff's story is a true one, and by giving everyone the opportunity to get involved at AGORA, we've expanded to 3 continents.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

AGORA has a specific focus on connectivity. Our mission is clear: to create a more interconnected world by generating interdisciplinary works, created by contributors from all walks of life, that always tie back to our theme of connectivity. We want to start conversations through our well-crafted, cohesive, and thought-provoking works. Our approach also makes use of a myriad of different mediums, from digital art to film to infographics, to raise awareness—we aren’t simply focused on writing. We’re also focused on amplifying youth voices, something many media platforms today lack.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

So far, from a team centered on one coast, we’ve become an international organization with contributors, editors, and web developers that’s helped raise awareness about issues from the flaws of the Ethiopian tree-planting project through our infographics to America’s misguided approach in the Middle East through satirical pieces. We put out content, in the form of a bio post, story, review, or resource, about every other day. We’ve expanded to 3 continents and now have 30+ regular contributors in high school and college, and have partnered with groups like the Period Movement, HAX, and WiTech to create pieces. Our site currently has 25k+ hits, and we have 1k+ followers on our Instagram page. Most importantly, we’ve helped underrepresented readers feel like their voices matter—one contributor received a DM telling her exactly that after her piece on casual homophobia was published.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

We’re currently in the stages of being incorporated as a nonprofit! After that occurs, we’ll partner with more organizations—but this time to specifically raise money for causes like homophobia awareness and fighting climate change. We also want to expand more into filmmaking, since if a picture can say a thousand words, a film can say a million. We’ve just revamped our Instagram, and with the help of our new web development team, we want to keep updating our website as well so that it looks just as clean and novel as our message. We also want to branch out more into STEM-related pieces; most of the pieces on our site currently concern politics, and we recognize the need for accessible, inclusive STEM education.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Monitoring Impact

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Family support

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

We discovered the Challenge from a member of both our team and another organization, HAX: Peter Cao!
View more

Team (5)

Peter's profile
Peter Cao

Role added on team:

"Chief Technology Officer who helps organize the web development team."

Aiden's profile
Aiden Kwen

Role added on team:

"Director of Digital Design who helps control AGORA's creative vision on social media."

Laurel's profile
Kathryn's profile
Kathryn

Role added on team:

"Editor-in-Chief who handles daily operations and manages the team."

Maxine Kirsten's profile
Maxine Kirsten Magtoto

Role added on team:

"Director of Resource Creation who helps create resources on current events and formulate the monthly newsletter."

79 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Jenny Thach
Team

Wow! This all sounds amazing. I'm so glad y'all created this project. I think this is a great thing to do in a world that has such huge problems with connectivity these days.

View all comments