Ten Years of Hyphen

Editors' Notes

May 9, 2012

Founding editor Melissa Hung (left and bottom) and editor in chief Lisa Wong Macabasco

We made it! Ten years, 25 issues. I’m thrilled to start off as Hyphen’s third editor in chief with this bang of an anniversary issue.

Generations within families are typically defined as about 25 years, so it’s appropriate that generation is the theme of Issue 25. Hyphen has been my family for the past six years, and I truly relish working shoulder to shoulder with an incredibly hardworking, creative, innovative, and intelligent group of people to put into your hands a magazine — one of which we’re quite proud. We’re also exceedingly grateful to the army of volunteers, donors, and subscribers who have been a part of Hyphen over the past 10 years; it’s a privilege to be a part of your legacy.

Generation also means to create, and we aim to highlight those in our community who are producing new ideas, as well as those who were key in shaping history for us today. And, in the spirit of generation, we bring forth two new sections with this issue: a poetry section, featuring both up-and-coming and established poets; and a health section, which will cover everything from local health institutions and aging parents to making sense of jogging shoes. We’re also working on more fresh ideas that we can’t wait to reveal in the months ahead. Make sure to sign up for our monthly email newsletter at hyphenmagazine.com, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

More importantly, I hope you’ll spread the word about Hyphen, or better yet donate or subscribe — those are the keys to Hyphen’s generation and ensuring we make it to another 10 years, and beyond.

Lisa Wong Macabasco
Editor in chief


Ten years ago , I was invited to a gathering at an acquaintance’s apartment to brainstorm what a new Asian American magazine might look like. We were journalists, artists and cultural workers. Tired of the absence of nuanced portrayals of our communities in the media, we wanted to tell our own stories. We aimed to tackle serious issues but also to not take ourselves too seriously. We knew that starting such an endeavor from scratch would take work. But we didn’t know what we were really getting into.

A magazine is not just a collection of pages, whether in paper or pixels. It is a content-creating machine, even when that machine is a volunteer-run nonprofit. To build that machine, we had to create an organization from the ground up. It took more than a year of planning and community meetings before we even printed an issue.

When that issue launched, it made the local news — the little magazine that could. The San Francisco Bay Area was still suffering from the fallout of the dot-com bust, and a reporter asked me whether the down economy was a terrible time to start a publication. With the bravado of youth, I said that it was actually a great time to start one, because it forced us to be creative and resourceful.

But that was a bullshit answer. We would have been creative and resourceful anyway, because we were raised in immigrant families. DIY culture was on the rise then, but our parents and grandparents were the original DIY-ers, rigging this and that together to make life work.

I’d like to think that we’ve done them proud. Most magazines don’t make it past the first year. That I am writing on the occasion of 10 years of Hyphen is a testament to the dedication and talent of the hundreds of people who have volunteered for us. With few resources, but plenty of moxie and a shared passion, a group of people working hard together can go far.

To our readers, I hope we have done good by you as well. Whether you are just discovering us or have been with us on our journey, thank you for subscribing, attending our events and donating to our cause. Your support is vital to our success. Here’s to many more years of Hyphen, together.

Melissa Hung
Founding Editor

Magazine Section: 

Lisa Wong Macabasco

Former Editor in chief

Lisa Wong Macabasco joined Hyphen in 2006; she has worked as the magazine's features editor, managing editor, and editor in chief. She has written for Mother Jones, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, AsianWeek, Audrey, Filipinas and ColorLines’ RaceWire. She graduated from U.C. Berkeley and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and co-founded the National Asian American Student Conference. She was formerly an editor at AsianWeek newspaper and an editor in the marketing department of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.



I love what everyone has done at Hyphen. The articles you guys write has provided a lot of us relief from the mainstream media.