Authenticity in Media —

MAEKAN Session


In our latest MAEKAN Session, we moved the show to London and discussed the topic of “Authenticity in Media.”


London has been an inspiration to the team for some time. The city has been an important driver of globally-relevant subcultures with a keen understanding of the world of media. This relationship has always been a delicate balance that they seem to understand.


What spawned the topic was an examination of how brands and media outlets are increasingly interconnected. And with brand participation comes an examination of authenticity. What role will brands play in a media outlet’s ability to authentically communicate their ideas and thoughts? Or simply, will most brands that succeed understand how to gain traction before opening the doors to brand participation?


The guests we brought together represented various perspectives from the publisher world. They included Ari Stein of 52 Insights, a publication focused on interviewing scientists, artists, futurists, and celebrities shaping the world. Tom Brandhorst of COPA90, a popular football (soccer) platform, and Iona Goulder of Kyra TV, a video-centric platform that focuses on youth culture through travel, food, and fashion.


A big thanks to MAEKAN member Tom Kirkby of Breaks, who secured an amazing venue in Soho House Dean Street. Breaks for those unfamiliar is a creative house focused on innovative campaigns, social-first content, events, and experiences with forward-thinking clients. Also thanks to India Bailey and her team at Soho House for all her help in organizing the Session.


Overall, the cozy space paired with some solid panelists made for an interest discussion and a memorable evening we won’t soon forget. As always, it was great to put a name to a face with the MAEKAN community as we look forward to putting on more and more events globally.

From left to right: Eugene Kan, Ari Stein, Iona Goulder, and Tom Brandhorst

“You can’t build an audience off branded partnerships or branded content. And so to build an audience you have to have a strong editorial vision, a strong editorial direction, and if you veer too far away from that you will inevitably lose either your audience or respect or loyalty from your audience.”

— Iona Goulder, Kyra TV

“Opinion and subjectivity is what made us appealing in the first place.”

— Tom Brandhorst, COPA90

“I personally don’t classify 90% of what’s out there as content, I just define it as crap. To be totally honest. I think we really have to draw the line as to what is content. What I’m craving is content that’s genuine and will live a long time.”

— Ari Stein, 52 Insights

From left to right, Tom Kirkby, Tom Brandhorst, Eugene Kan, Iona Goulder, and Ari Stein