Sign up for Karen Attiah’s newsletter, launching Aug. 5


“So … what’s your beat?” As a new(ish) columnist, I get asked that question a lot. Sometimes, I’ll answer with a version suited to the boxes that journalism beats usually come in. Sure, I cover international affairs, social issues, human rights and culture. It’s not a bad question, but unlike my cat, Artemis, I’m not really fond of boxes. I just don’t fit into them very well. So I’m starting a newsletter that will allow me to explore all of the topics I’m interested in.

Growing up, I wanted to be a philosopher, or a classical mythologist. I wanted to know what the ancients thought about how to live a good and noble life, how to understand other cultures and people different from me, even if I disagreed. As a kid, I didn’t feel restricted by my race, or gender or where my parents came from (Ghana and Nigeria, to be specific). I’ve tried on many different selves and been part of many different communities; I’ve been a video gamer, an athlete, a public defender’s assistant, an aspiring boxer, a talk show radio host in Ghana, an international development worker and now, a Muay Thai fighter and a newbie motorcyclist.

But in my time as a journalist, I have worked on the stories of people around the world who are trapped. From Nigeria to Texas, I’ve been on the ground with people and communities who have been trapped by personal traumas, racism, terrorism, and state-sanctioned violence.

This newsletter will be an exercise in exploring what it means to live freer lives in times of difficulty and injustice. What does it mean to free ourselves and others of the personal and societal boxes we find ourselves trapped in? What are the taboos that hinder us from having more honest lives? How can we engage our imaginations to organize and fight for a better world? These are not only political questions, but cultural, sociological and spiritual ones as well.

My true beat is liberation. In that spirit, I hope the newsletter will provide a weekly jailbreak from the traditional column format, which has its virtues but can be restrictive, too. Second, I hope that I can bring attention to new ideas, overlooked issues and intriguing people who can help us all make sense of this world. Third, I hope this can be a space for a better relationship with readers and other world-weary-but-determined idealists.

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I’d like my newsletter to be interactive, and for my readers to know that you have a hand in shaping what we talk about. Every week, I’ll have a submission box for questions/prompts that I can share for the following week’s installment.

With all the challenges in the world, I hope that this newsletter can offer a bit of fresh air and, dare I say it, joy and hope.

And yes, there will be cat pics. Sign up for my newsletter here.

As an added bonus, The Washington Post is also offering a free 30-day subscription trial for my newsletter subscribers. You can sign up for that here.


Source: WP