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Embracing Our Shared Humanity Through "Stranger's Guide"

Abby Rapoport Discusses How Her Publication Fosters a Deeper Understanding of Diverse Communities, Making the Global Feel Personal
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Devin: What do you see as your superpower?

Abby: Having spent the last almost 20 years in journalism wearing different hats, I feel like [it’s] bringing like an ecosystems approach, of trying to look at a community–whether that community is a local community or a professional community–and trying to figure out what are the roles each of us can play?

In today's episode of the Superpowers for Good show, I had the pleasure of speaking with Abby Rapoport, the cofounder and publisher of Stranger's Guide. Abby's vision for the publication stems from a simple yet profound idea: to make the world feel smaller and more interconnected by focusing on the unique, yet universal aspects of different locales.

Abby shared, "We started Stranger's Guide to create a publication that was rooted in the idea of place and exploring how different places feel to those people who are living there." She continued, "What does it mean for the individual who's going to work, taking their kids to school, making dinner? We aim to dig into what all of those big global themes mean for daily life."

The essence of Stranger's Guide lies in its commitment to telling the stories of a place through the eyes of those who know it best—the local writers and photographers. Each issue is a deep dive into a single location, crafted by at least 80% of contributors from that area. This approach ensures that the narrative remains authentic and grounded in the community's lived experiences.

Stranger's Guide isn't just about the exotic or the familiar; it's about bridging the gap between them. It offers readers a multifaceted portrait of a place, mixing human rights, history, sports, and culture to enrich our understanding of the world. It's about seeing the big picture and the tiny, essential details through a lens that respects and values every culture's unique contributions and challenges.

By reading Stranger's Guide, we don't just learn about different parts of the world; we connect with them on a human level. It's a reminder that despite our differences, we share common threads—family, work, joy, struggle. This connection fosters empathy and, ultimately, a more compassionate worldview.

In essence, Abby's work with Stranger's Guide serves as a powerful reminder of journalism's role in society—not just to inform but to connect us. By focusing on the universal yet unique experiences of communities around the globe, Abby and her team invite us to celebrate our shared humanity. This, indeed, is journalism as a form of superpower, the kind that nurtures understanding and respect across borders.

FINAL HOURS! Zette’s Round Ends Friday!


AI Episode Summary

1. Devin introduces Abby Rapoport, the co-founder and publisher of the Stranger's Guide, highlighting her role in creating impactful journalism.

2. Abby explains the origin of the Stranger's Guide, which was inspired by the divisive political climate of 2016 and the desire to explore sustainable models for journalism.

3. The publication focuses on storytelling from the perspective of locals, covering a broad range of topics from human rights to food, emphasizing the importance of understanding different cultures.

4. Abby shares how the Stranger's Guide has published issues themed around various locations worldwide, aiming to provide a multifaceted portrait of each place.

5. The conversation shifts towards challenging the notions of "good" and "bad" countries, highlighting the complexity of global affairs and the value of understanding individual perspectives within countries.

6. They discuss the rise of authoritarianism globally and the role of journalism in questioning leaders and presenting complex narratives.

7. Devin appreciates the Stranger’s Guide for offering deep insights into different cultures for a fraction of the cost of traveling, underscoring the importance of understanding human commonalities and differences.

8. Abby emphasizes the publication's focus on creating beautiful, memorable issues that encourage people to explore and understand places they might not physically visit.

9. The interview explores Abby's superpower of tackling challenging topics and fostering ecosystems that contribute to community and global understanding.

10. Finally, Abby provides details on how to access and support The Stranger's Guide, encouraging subscriptions and highlighting the publication as a unique gift option.

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How to Develop an Ecosystems Approach As a Superpower

Abby identifies her superpower as her Ecosystems Approach. This involves engaging deeply with communities, both local and professional, to orchestrate collaborative efforts that leverage diverse strengths and viewpoints toward common goals.

Abby's superpower lies in her ability to see and cultivate the interconnectedness within communities. Whether it's in her role at Stranger's Guide or in community volunteer work, she excels at identifying and mobilizing diverse stakeholders around shared challenges. This approach not only fosters a deeper understanding among diverse groups but also drives them towards practical, impactful collaborations.

A striking example of Abby's superpower in action can be seen in her work on the Ukraine guide for Stranger's Guide. During a particularly intense period marked by conflict and displacement, Abby and her team strategically partnered with Impact Justice to sponsor a series focused on incarceration experiences around the world, including a powerful story about a prison in Ukraine. This initiative, by weaving together the narratives of various communities, illustrated how Abby's ecosystems approach can illuminate shared human experiences across different contexts.

Abby suggests that to develop a similar capability, one should start by engaging deeply with their local community. She emphasizes the power of listening and establishing connections with people from diverse backgrounds. This groundwork fosters the ability to understand different perspectives and find common ground, crucial skills for building effective partnerships and collaborative projects.

By following Abby’s example and advice, you can make an Ecosystems Approach a skill. With practice and effort, you could make it a superpower that enables you to do more good in the world.

Remember, however, that research into success suggests that building on your own superpowers is more important than creating new ones or overcoming weaknesses. You do you!

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Guest Profile

Abby Rapoport (she/her):

Cofounder and Publisher, Stranger's Guide

About Stranger's Guide: Founded in 2018 by Editor-in-Chief Kira Brunner Don and Publisher Abby Rapoport, Stranger’s Guide uses place-based stories to investigate how culture, power and access to different freedoms inform our lives and identities. Through our print issues and online, we center our work on local voices offering first-hand accounts of daily life, that underscore the unique facets of each place we explore, from the complex and controversial to the intimate and beautiful. . Stranger’s Guide includes print guides, newsletters and carefully selected products and partnerships. Stranger’s Guide has won three National Magazine Awards including two for General Excellence and one for Photography, and its work has been featured in America’s Best Travel Writing and America’s Best Magazine Writing.

Website: strangersguide.com

X/Twitter Handle: @strangersguide

Company Facebook Page: fb.com/StrangersGuideMag/

Other URL: strangersguide.substack.com

Biographical Information: Prior to co-founding Stranger's Guide, Abby spent the first portion of her career as a political reporter, covering Texas politics for the Texas Tribune, the Texas Observer and then The American Prospect. Her work has also appeared in Glamour, The National Journal and The New Republic. She has also served as Acting Publisher for the Texas Observer and currently sits on the boards of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas and TYPE Investigations, as well as several Austin community nonprofits.

X/Twitter Handle: @Rarapoport

Personal Facebook Profile: fb.com/rarapoport

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/abby-rapoport-46823820/

Instagram Handle: @Rarapoport


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