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Published: 7 August 2008

Editor Abed Hakim at On Road magazine’s base
Youth mag aiming to ‘entercate’ its readers

‘We’ll be the cool version of Camden New Journal!’

“ENTERTAIN first, educate second,” is the ethos of a new youth magazine.
On Road, written by teenagers at the Fitzrovia Youth In Action club in Warren Street, Euston, is a publication for young people with a difference.
Editor Abed Hakim, 25, set out to make something young people will genuinely read.
“It should ‘entercate’: entertain and educate,” he said. “But it’s different from ‘edutain’ – we try to educate through entertainment. We’re trying to set the standard for youth magazines.”
On Road is also trying to break down young people’s perceptions of each other. One feature about a group of young Muslim women debating the rights and wrongs of a court case involving a hairdresser from King’s Cross and a Muslim stylist who accused her of religious discrimination is one Mr Hakim is most proud of.
“A lot of people would assume Muslim people would support the Muslim girl – but at least two girls thought she was wrong to sue the hairdresser,” he said.
“It shows that Muslims don’t all think the same, they won’t all have the same opinion and support the Muslim just because she’s Muslim.”
Mr Hakim says he wants to take on serious issues and not just “flowery” topics. A story called “The Next Gener-Asian”, looks at what it’s like growing up as a Bangladeshi around Camden’s curry centre, Drummond Street, and what the future holds for the area.
Around 2,500 copies of On Road’s first edition have been printed and sent to schools, youth clubs and community centres, but the plan is to print double that next month and distribute it across London in the long term.
And while the first edition has largely focused on south Camden – where the youth club and its writers are based – Mr Hakim wants everyone to get involved.
“We need it to be representative of the whole of Camden, and not just this area, which has a big Muslim community,” he said.
“We want people to come in and bother us – we’ll even feed you food if that’s what it takes! If you want to help you’re more than welcome.”
And if anyone knows how to get the magazine off the ground, it’s Mr Hakim. He has already launched his own successful magazine, Inq, and has worked as a casting director for a major Hollywood film. Growing up in Drummond Street. Having been a former member of the youth club gives him a local advantage.
“We’d like to see ourselves as the youthy cool version of the New Journal,” he says of On Road’s target audience.
While some may view the average youth project as a touch amateur, On Road is sharply edited and taken seriously by its team.
Crucially, articles that need to be rewritten are.
“It’s a product we’re trying to sell so there is that standard we have to meet,” said Mr Hakim. “I don’t feel that’s an issue at all, if that’s what is needed for young people to get heard.”

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