Abbianca Makoni: Award-winning journalist launches global media publication
Building an independent media company is no minor accomplishment. In an industry of competitive reporters and writers who are bankrolled by wealthy owners, the fact that Abbianca has been able to grow Awall Printss should be celebrated. In the episode, we discussed how this was born out of unfortunate circumstances though.
Building an independent media company (Awall Printss)
Abbianca started reading many newspapers and articles after the murder of her friend, who was someone who I also knew as we lived in the same borough. The untimely death compelled Abbianca to look into how the media covers sensitive issues such as knife crime. In doing so, she discovered just how powerful writing is as a tool to create narratives in society.
Off the back of this, Abbianca founded Awall printss. Originally, it was a print magazine to highlight the achievements of young people, but now it’s been built into a global publication. This is a testament to Abbianca’s ability to turn tragedy into triumph, an incredibly valuable trait to have. Awallprintss is an independent media company committed to sharing the perspectives of diverse and marginalised communities around the globe. Abbianca manages a team of 12 writers globally, covering unique stories from the abuse of women in Western Cape farmland to gang & drug culture in the UK. Leading a team of writers globally requires a high level of leadership skills, which Abbianca has demonstrated over time. She shared some insights on how to be a good leader.
You're Invited to the Launch Party!
A night to celebrate Awallprintss, a digital publication focused on in-depth storytelling of diverse communities around the globe. Network, drink, eat and hear from inspiring creatives and leaders such as Jameisha Prescod the founder of 'You Look Okay to Me' and Alex Holmes, Deputy CEO of the Diana Awards.
Taking the plunge decision
Some of you may have been surprised to hear that Abbianca didn’t take the traditional route by going to University to study journalism. Instead, she did things her own way and worked her way up the ladder. After relentlessly pursuing work experience and shadowing opportunities, she was invited to the BBC by Megan Mohan and Capital Xtra by Robert Bruce - rewarding her tenacity and self-belief. But she didn’t let success make her too comfortable - after working at the Evening Standard for a few years, she decided to take the plunge decision to leave a safe job and salary to work on her publication company.
The plunge decision is letting go of the security blanket of stable income to start a business or new venture with uncertain returns
This is a recurring theme throughout her career, from handing out her print edition magazine at an interview to chasing up a lost murder story, Abbianca’s boldness has opened doors for her. We can all learn from Abbianca to be bold and take a leap outside our comfort zone. As she has shown, this can lead to growth and opportunities we wouldn't have experienced if we played safe.
Communication is key
The saying “communication is key”, is more than just a platitude. Being able to effectively and accurately convey your opinion is an invaluable asset to have. Abbianca is not only able to communicate effectively through writing but she is also an accomplished orator, as she is able to communicate well through speech. Having mastered both written and verbal communication, she encourages people to improve their communication skills - speak more, introduce yourself at events, use apps like Speeko. It was also worth noting that the way she improved these skills was by constant evaluation. For example, when you’ve finished speaking at an event or function, reflect on your strengths and weaknesses so you can constantly improve.
Featuring Abbianca Makoni
Can you recommend any resources that can help with developing writing skills?
The best tool I learned that helps people with writing better is to honestly read better. Read more challenging books, news reports etc. As you begin to read more you'll spot disparities in your own writing. You then need discipline and actually apply what you have noticed. I had to read more and 'read better' to be a better writer. I also bought a punctuation book.
Can you recommend any resources that you've used while running your publication company?
Notion is a project management and note-taking software. This is where I attach my writers guide for my writers and plan out my day and the content calender.
Buffer is the most intuitive, affordable, and authentic way to reach more people on social media and schedule your posts.
Trello cards are your portal to more organized work—where every single part of your task can be managed, tracked, and shared with teammates.
Slack is a new way to communicate with your team. It's faster, better organised and more secure than email. You can talk to multiple people at once.
How do you stay so focused and disciplined with your vision?
I want to leave a legacy of some sort and make an impact in my community. I know my community's history when it comes to oppression and lack of access to even the most basic things - so why will I now come and not leverage every opportunity that's in front of me? It's important to know that what you do now will impact the next generation after you - I have siblings and I will one day have children - so that's what keeps me focused and disciplined.
Listen to the full episode on a platform of your choice: https://linktr.ee/valuablepodcast