We here at Deskmag are excited to have NewWorker Magazine join the community as another supporter of coworking through media and journalism.
Deskmag: Why does the coworking movement need more media behind it? And what can the media do for the development of coworking spaces?
Melissa Mesku: Coworking spaces are ground zero for innovation in the new economy, but this hasn’t been fully acted upon. Coworking is still a nascent industry and it hasn’t yet figured out what it can do with its members. A publication provides a good base from which to start addressing these gaps.
DM: How did get involved in the coworking scene?
MM: I learned about the industry through a friend who owns a coworking space, and realized that owners have a robust community of resources, conferences, and online portals. But there was pretty much nothing for coworking space members who ostensibly have even more to gain by coming together. While I'm an outsider as far as being a coworking space owner goes, I'm very much an insider simply by being a longtime member of a number of spaces.
DM: Of what significance is it that New Worker Magazine is independent?
MM: Aside from Deskmag, the few coworking publications out there are put out by coworking brands. Being independent means we are space-agnostic: we can publish critiques and perspectives that wouldn't be heard elsewhere. We've also published games, humor, interviews, and essays – anything we think would be interesting and relevant to coworking space members.
DM: Is a publication for and by members representative of a larger shift in coworking or the world of work?
MM: We're still pretty early into an era of new attitudes toward work: corporate work is disparaged, independent and entrepreneurial work is glorified, and the mantra: "do what you love" is still very much en vogue. We inherited these ideas but have only been playing them out for a short time, creating the need for experimentation and discourse. Coworking is a direct product of this shift, and attitudes spawned from this movement are resulting in new institutions, while simultaneously reshaping our culture and our material lives.
DM: Due to a lack of media support surrounding the coworking movement, what steps did you have to take to get your project off the ground?
MM: I reached out to a few coworkers I'd collaborated with in the past to help nail down the concept, and posted a public invitation for coworkers to join in a larger collaboration online. Those who participated helped establish our editorial approach to covering members' stories, ideas, experiences, and critiques about coworking. Some pitched in and contributed by writing. To broaden our scope, I reached out directly to random coworking spaces around the world to start sourcing stories that represent the diversity of coworkers globally.
DM: What sets New Worker Magazine apart from larger publications?
MM: Much of the business press is devoted to the tech industry, where "tech" has come to mean app startups specifically. Some larger "tech" publications are part of the hype machine and share funding with the companies they report on. I feel this leaves a lot to be desired. Yes, coworking spaces are often home to app companies but they also include the wide range of freelancers and independent workers whose work often falls through the cracks, press-wise. The range of work that takes place in coworking spaces deserves its own coverage, and the perspective that coworkers can offer needs to be heard.