Mark Anthony Hughes on The New Voice Media Group
The New Voice Media Group is a youth-oriented media brand geared to the passions and interests of global youth today. We talked with one of their co-founders, Mark Anthony Hughes—who is also the current CEO—about what The New Voice Media Group is, and what it stands for.
Mark Anthony Hughes is 18-years-old. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky, and he's set on redefining the way young people consume—and interpret—everything around them. The New Voice Media Group was co-founded by Shlok Sharma, Preston Romanov, and Hughes. The New Voice is just one of the brands they're working on.
Aspirants: Tell us a little about yourself. Who are you? What are you passionate about?
Mark: I’m Mark Anthony Hughes and I was born in Michigan and raised in Kentucky. I am a rising freshman at The Ohio State University and will major in Public Policy Analysis in the fall. I’m passionate about activism, politics, and business.
Aspirants: How would you briefly describe The New Voice?
Mark: The New Voice is an objective, facts-focused news and political opinion outlet that aims to educate the next generation of voters and inform global youth about the world around them. We explore some of the world’s critical issues to create original stories, unknown prospectives, growing trends, and unheard voices from the most thoughtful and outspoken youth around the world.
Aspirants: When did The New Voice Media Group begin? Where did you get the idea from?
Mark: I actually created a publication that was similar to this one during my freshman year of high school (2016). I ended up shutting the site down because I had neither the writing staff to keep content up nor a complete vision of what I wanted that site to be. When I worked on a political campaign my senior year, this led me to create a publication with a new vision in mind. I recognized how important youth voices were and how impactful they can be. From there, I started doing research into what it took to create a media company and common problems media companies currently have. The first issue I found was that journalistic content targeted towards young people wasn’t that good. Not to attack these companies—something is obviously working for them—but I felt like there had to be a better alternative.
We live in a time now where there’s a lot of biased and sensationalized news. People—young people especially—don’t want to be told what or how to think. They just want to think. I felt that a media platform of my own could do this by being facts-oriented and centrist in terms of the political spectrum. I wanted to create a platform that would fix this gap by providing better, more objective content directly targeted towards Gen Z and young Millennials. I also found that young voices aren’t heard nearly enough-something much more evident to me, as a young person of color.
The New Voice would be a literal new voice of a generation that feels like they don’t have a platform to talk about issues important to them with. I essentially found problems with current media and saw a solution to it. And this is how we ended up with The New Voice Media Group.
Aspirants: Why do you feel that it is important for young people to be informed and involved?
Mark: Young people are the future. There will come a day when it is time for us to lead the world and fix the problems of previous generations. My high school principal gave a speech at one of our assemblies referencing this and it stuck with me ever since. He talked about the issues of climate change, gun violence, social media addiction, racism, and discrimination. At this moment, I realized how important it was for young people to be not only informed but also involved in solving global issues.
Although arguably we don’t really “owe” anything to one another, each of us occupies the world we live in. What good is it to just be a bystander and let these issues persist? Because ultimately, you and I both will be affected by them, too.
Climate change is an incredibly important issue to me, but it’s also an issue that demands people stay informed about and actively work to diminish the harm of it. Young people may have limited life experience, but we are a lot smarter and innovative than most people give us credit for. For this reason, I think it’s very important for young people to be informed about the world around them and actively involved in changing it.
Aspirants: What sets The New Voice Media Group apart from other organizations or brands?
Mark: Unlike many others, we provide objective, facts-focused news and a political opinion platform for youth. Most news sites don’t specifically target young people and sites that are for young people often aren’t serious news sites. We’re a game changer to the media market: we introduced a methodology for better content that ensures critical thinking and an outlet that acknowledges young voices.
The fact that we are a media organization run by young people and for young people is pretty distinguishing. The second difference is how we are fresh media. There are a lot of large, well-known big names in traditional media and I think a good portion of them will be here for a long time. However, many people are starting to have a growing distrust in some of the big names prompting them to want something new and fresh. We are a new and modern platform that our young audience wants and demands. We heavily emphasize how global we are. Not only are we read in 110 countries, but we have writers and editors from around the world. Big name publications already have this, but for an early publication like ours, it can be hard to get. In terms of our topics, we are pretty conscious and careful about what we publish. We want to ensure quality content over quantity of content, and to do so we focus on three main areas: world news, U.S. politics, and social issues.
Aspirants: Why would you say is it important to reach young people specifically?
Mark: Young people play a pretty important role in the world we live in. As I said earlier, young people are the future. We will be voting soon and some of us have already started voting! Staying updated on the politics of today and your world leaders is great knowledge to have when making decisions on who to vote for.
Also, I think reaching young people specifically makes politicians realize how important youth voices are. Young people get a lot of slack for not showing up to polls as much, and while some elements of this are true, that doesn’t mean politicians should ignore the issues we have discourse about or the policies we want.
Aspirants: Where does the name come from?
Mark: That’s a great question! Many people have wanted to know this and I haven’t really got the chance to tell them hahaha. To be honest, when I had the idea for the media outlet back in August of 2018, I could not think of a name that would fit what I was going for. I definitely knew that I didn’t want to name it after myself, but I wanted a name that was trendy, catchy, and serious. I reached out to multiple friends trying to generate ideas. Many struggled as I did with coming up with names for the project, and some names didn’t fit what I was going for. I then reached out to one of past co-workers, Luke Hellum, for advice for what I should call the site/media company. I essentially pitched him the idea of the project and then he said: “Why not call it The New Voice or Teen Voice?” I leaned towards The New Voice rather than Teen Voice because it sounded better, more flexible for age groups, and it’s a nice play on words.
Aspirants: Where is TNVMG going next? Any goals/aspirations?
Mark: Currently, we are focused on continuing our growth of The New Voice website and building ourselves into a diversified media company. We’ve been around for 7 months and have been expanding ever since we launched. We get at least 2k views a month (we got 4.2k in August) and have readers in 110 countries; that means we are read in over half of the world! We have a lot of short-term and long term goals as well. In the short-term, we are building a marketing team to help us manage our brand and ensure our development (if anyone is interested in the positions contact us for the application). We also just launched a podcast show, Electability 2020, in July so check that out!
In the near future, we are planning to launch The New Voice Casted TM. The project is still in early development, but it’s a podcast network that will feature various shows with their own topic area/theme. I’d say our end goal is to become a mass media company with various brands in publishing, video, and podcasting targeted at Gen Z and younger Millennials. We believe that The New Voice is more than a news website, it’s a youth-oriented media company. We aspire to be the Hearst Corporation of digital, youth-oriented media.
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