Tempo Zine Interview

Finding it's beginnings as a high school project, Tempo Zine has not only evolved into a quarterly zine, but has become a popular hub for topics such as politics, activism, and technology. Recently I was able to speak to Jennifer Xu, one part of the dynamic team that runs Tempo Zine. I interviewed her about the zines beginnings and what the future holds.

The Brief History of Tempo Zine tells us that Tempo was originally started by several friends as an assignment in high school. Tell me the original inspiration and how it has evolved to what we see today?

In May 2006, in the beginning, there was a high school assignment. Eight friends and I collaborated to create the first version of Tempo Magazine for our World Issues course. After a month of work, coffee, late nights, and over 200 emails, Tempo Magazine was born right before exams. At this moment, Tempo was a miscellaneous 100-page collection of stories, news, ads, and graphics to 'record the rhythm of our world'.

Later in August, my co-editor Linna Xu [sidenote: we're not related] resurrected Tempo from its academic grave. We established a home for Tempo Magazine at www.tempozine.com.

Right now, what you see at Tempozine.com is one of two components that make up Tempo. The site allows interesting and often passionate people to share news about our world instantly. Any topic from detachable statues of Paris Hilton to the G8 summit goes. Basically, anything that's not related to "Get an Oompah-Loompah Tan in 10 Days!" Our version would be like "How to Stop Being a Polluting Douchebag in 10 Steps."

In contrast, the quarterly digital flipbook magazine that Tempo publishes is precisely focused on one issue. The magazine remains a cornerstone of Tempo. Our new format is very beneficial to readers because people can finally make their own connections. When I read an article in the paper, I don't know where this single isolated event fits into the grand picture. Tempozine Summer 07 issue will be released in early August to track 'the beat' of this global and trendy face of environmentalism. It will allow our readers to see all of the political, historical, social, and funky pieces that comes out of climate change.

Can you tell us a little bit about the team?

The Tempozine team is proudly pure Torontoian. Scarborough's Woburn Collegiate Institute was our high school.

All of us will be entering second-year university in September here and there, but Toronto is our home. We're lucky to come together in a metropolitan city because our diverse interests, views, and personalities keep the magazine in balance. Our university majors range from graphic design, business, linguistics, to sociology, medicine, and math - which I think is a partial outgrowth of a mindset that includes millions of people.

The main thing that keeps us together is our fascination with the world as an active system, especially its people and future. The opportunity to influence the trajectory of planet, share our thoughts and perhaps selfishly, exercise our talents are things that Tempozine.com brings out.

I'd also like to give credit to my peers, professors, inspirations and brilliant minds like David Suzuki, indirectly Bill Gates, the Google guys, youth activists, our world issues teacher Mr. Norman Grigg, and so many others. The people makes or break a project. Money is secondary.

It must be very exciting to have David Suzuki on your team, what has it been like working with him and what is one of the most important things you have learned from him?

David Suzuki is a distant member of our Tempo team. We feature his ideas and thoughts, and are supported by his organization. We're not exclusive to the biological aspect of our world, which is why this relationship suits us.

What is the most rewarding part of having such a diverse online entity and what is the most difficult?

The best part of it is sharing the interesting information itself. Tempozine.com can behave as a central hub for news and discussion about your world, and the alternative news source is highly rewarding simply because I'm tired of stories about Paris Hilton's jail status. Also, why did Anna Nicole Smith's death make the front page of all newspapers? Isn't someone doing something important somewhere?

The most difficult thing of running an online entity is firmly establishing an identity, which we're still in the process of doing. Usually, people are passionate about one specific issue - not the whole world. Promoting Tempo has been an interesting challenge.

What are you future dreams for Tempo Zine?

Ideally, I'd like Tempo to not only inform and share information, but also nuture the next-gen of people who care. Perhaps one day, Tempo will host events in Toronto, sponsor grassroot projects, pay for students' tuition, and other things like that.

Also, increased readership is a big goal. We have an incredible audience from all over the world. The United States is a big fan, along with Germany, Thailand, Iran, China and others. We receive 50 000 hits a month, circulation of 400 an issue but we're hoping to increase it. We've done fairly well for a zine that's been around for less than a year, but I know we can do more.

What is next and where can everyone find you?

Tempo will run a video competition on Youtube. The topic would be "Fantastic Four". Pick 4 people - dead or alive - to be on your team to accelerate change in this world." Be as creative as possible. Find us in July under tempozinedotcom.

You can always find us at info@tempozine.com. The editors of Tempozine are in Toronto as well, so if you're interested in meeting up with us to discuss a partnership or advertising or cool ideas - I look forward to hearing from you.

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