Telum Talks To... Jahin Tanvir, Echo Chamber Escape

Telum Talks To... Jahin Tanvir, Echo Chamber Escape
Chloe Arentz

Jahin Tanvir is the newly appointed Editorial Lead of diversity-first publication, Echo Chamber Escape. He is a policy adviser, public speaker, and youth advocate. Jahin has been a guest speaker in Canberra's Parliament House, on ABC Radio, and on a variety of panels to bring issues face by young people to the forefront of mainstream discussion. Earlier this year, he was named the 2021 Young Canberra Citizen of the Year and recently, gave a TEDx talk.

Telum spoke to Jahin about his new role at Echo Chamber Escape (ECE), and how he is using his lived experiences and passion for promoting diversity and inclusion to lead the publication.

You recently joined ECE as Editorial Lead. How are you settling into the new role?
It has been one of the most exciting changes I’ve experienced in my life to date. Before I started, I felt uncertain by the prospect of jumping into media and storytelling. But the support and encouragement that I have received from my team and the readers immediately made me realise why this is all worth it.

It has now become an essential part of my scheduling to have conversations regarding ECE openly, and meet new people who are interested in getting involved and being part of the movement we have in championing diversity through the publication.

For the uninitiated, what is Echo Chamber Escape?
Echo Chamber Escape is a diversity-first publication that covers interviews, opinion pieces and features on those who are not regarded as the "majority". We talk with them, not over them, about mainstream issues as they share their diverse perspectives. Our team also talks to professionals of various culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, women in STEM, people with disabilities and Aboriginal and Indigenous people, just to name a few.

If you’re tired of seeing the same types of people on TV, the same faces in the newspapers, and the same ideas on your social media feeds, Echo Chamber Escape was made for you.

Your content aims to champion stories outside of mainstream media - How do you source these stories?
We source our stories from individuals we notice creating grassroots movements, activism, and social change on social media. We then reach out to capture their stories for our readers. That was the process we started with and now, while we are humbly gaining traction, we have had individuals from various diverse backgrounds and industries get in touch with us to recommend an individual they see in the community, to share their story.

We have even had people ask if we could reach out to a specific individual they admire to hear more about them. It has become a combination of our team actively reaching out and word-of-mouth.

You have worked in a number of policy and youth advocate roles, how has this helped shape your work?
Perspective - that’s the best way I can answer this question. Being on the ground and seeing how many people from diverse backgrounds and identities are creating change and never getting the acknowledgement or recognition they deserve, this publication became a natural step for me to lead forward. 

Through both advocacy and policy fields, I’ve seen first-hand the incredible ripples that individuals are creating, and how a small push for their work - whether that be through a feature article or an interview - can do wonders for their projects and self-validation. That’s where I believe the experience helps, because I know how much these interviews mean to individuals.

My team and I don't take any of this for granted. We want to champion diversity and capture the authentic essence of each individual’s backstory. We want to work as purely as possible - one story at a time.

Are there any issues on that agenda that ECE will explore? Plans for the future?
We are brainstorming new ideas every single week. If there is an issue we feel multicultural and diverse communities around Australia and the world are concerned about, we want to cover it. If there is an individual doing work and putting effort into the social impact space, we will cover their story. We want to be the platform that gives people a voice and the confidence to accelerate their work. We want people to know that we are there supporting them, through both representation and resources.

Representation in the media, particularly for minority groups, is a constant point of contention. What role do you hope ECE will play in this progression?
Ideally, we hope that Echo Chamber Escape will be the catalyst that helps to achieve meaningful representation of minority communities by giving them a platform that matters. We want to move away from tokenistic representations we are used to seeing in the media, and ensure we're fostering a culture of fair and just opportunities for individuals who have value in their words, irrespective of their identity. Differences in identity should be a strength, never a limitation. 

How closely do you work with PRs in your role, and can you describe the ideal pitch to the ECE team?
We’re still very new as a publication, but we have had contact with a lot of PR agencies which we will be collaborating with in 2022. Our ideal pitch would be similar to our mission statement: We talk with people, not over them, to champion the diverse perspectives need you to hear.

If there is an individual who is creating change in any capacity, send them our way.

Answers submitted by Jahin Tanvir, Editorial Director, Echo Chamber Escape

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