By Tom Weber
–Have you ever had the feeling that all the news you read online are sort of the same? Two second-year students at the Amsterdam University College (AUC) have decided to take matters into their own hands and change that, by creating “p01nt” – an online magazine of a different kind.
Nina Klaff and Boris Bischoff, Humanities and Social Science majors, had been playing with the thought of setting up their own magazine since February 2017. They had both started taking classes related to Media and were bonding over the experience of missing a personal aspect in a lot of academic and non-academic publications they were reading. “I saw this stream of news coming at me that would all look alike, and at a certain point I thought, ‘I want to create something new!’”, said Bischoff.
The two realised that they were only consuming content out of their social circles. “Our views were never challenged, and when you were confronted with someone who has different views than yourself, you didn’t really know how to respond”, said Klaff.
The goal of p01nt is to reach a global audience and to offer a global perspective, by telling personal stories. Klaff explained that the magazine is meant to provide a platform for individuals to open up about their own life experiences. “We want people to tell us things that they have never told anyone before”, she said.
In order to break free from a Eurocentric perspective, and to distance themselves from traditional newspaper structures with a fixed team of writers, the two want their magazine to work with a handful of content ambassadors across the globe. Those p01nt ambassadors will be able to scout for content within their own social networks. “We do acknowledge that it’s a bit naïve to think that we can reach the whole world,” said Bischoff, pointing out the limitations in their approach. “Not everyone has internet, not everyone has the same lifestyle as us, but the idea is to work on a more international basis.”
While Klaff and Bischoff are not actively scouting the content for their magazine, they are searching for people who can provide it. This approach allows for Klaff and Bischoff to work in a somewhat free manner. Klaff explained that they are never forced to publish content. “If we don’t have an article that we like, we just don’t post”, added Bischoff.
Despite the low pressure to create content, the two are putting a significant amount of work into their magazine. According to Bischoff, it took nearly a year from the initial idea to the eventual realisation of the project. The two had to lower the bar and refrain from being too perfectionistic. “And that is also the philosophy of point. We want people just to do it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just show us your creation”, he said.
Although the reception since the launch in February has been great, the two are still far from where they want p01nt to be. According to Klaff, increasing their number of followers on social media, and breaking out of the national bubble are important goals for the months to come. “We are writing a style guide right now, in order to enable our point ambassadors abroad to get the content we want”, said Klaff. Besides, the two are exploring options to make a living with p01nt, for instance through merchandise. “Overall, we want to arrive at a point where the magazine just kind of runs by itself”, said Bischoff.
Until then, the two will keep sharing their vision of international and personal content. “It’s so scary to put something out there because everything is so sterilised and commercialised”, said Klaff.
Klaff explained that the name “point” was initially just a pun on the fact that the magazine was supposed to published people’s ideas and points of view. In the process of going through variations of the word to find a cheap internet domain, Bischoff bought “p01int” for ten Euros. The fact that 1 and 0 are elements of binary code, and express the digital nature of the magazine made the purchase perfect.
“The idea is that everyone can write”, explained Bischoff. “Often people are confused and ask ‘what do you want me to write about?’. I want you to write about what you are passionate about”, said Bischoff, who recently asked his Grandmother to contribute.