Bringing Personality to Print

Unpublished Magazine’s trending editor Ella Chakarian discusses authenticity through journalism, the online zine community, and experimental, free thought writing.

Ella’s favorite photo of her, outside the digtal world.
Ella Chakarian outside her “digital newsroom”.

nly halfway through her college studies, UC Berkley student Ella Chakarian has already declared success in the journalism community. Since her adolescent years, she has always been fond of writing ever since joining her high school’s newspaper. The idea of capturing her thoughts on her paper fascinated her greatly.

Her true spark began when co-founding Unpublished Magazine; one of the most popular online magazines in the internet age that “stimulates innovative energy and inspires creatives.” Originally starting off as a personal essay writer, she is now the trending editor and oversees a large team of writers.

In less than a year, Unpublished has produced five issues, built a large creative team, and gained a cult following on both Instagram and Tik Tok. The magazine itself captures the “DIY” spirit from the ’90s Riot Grrrl movement and Rookie Mag, the first, female-fronted, online, collective magazine.

Cover Image for Unpublished’s article discussion of the revival of Riot Grrl music

As a trending editor, Ella’s responsibilities include working closely with her team to capture trends at a fast pace. Additionally, she makes sure that the topics chosen follow the zine’s overall theme or “aesthetic”.

“Stories must be completed around 1–3 days, depending on the gravity and urgency of the trend, it is a very collaborative space and I make sure everyone has a topic to write about,” she said.

Ella and her team begin by quickly finding sources through larger news outlets, followed by more research in order to gather a collective of opinions, research, and evidence. Evidently enough, social media is their key component for keeping up with trending topics.

She heavily emphasizes the importance of correct sources. Once the stories are ready to go, she sends them off to the publication editor who broadcasts them on both their website and Instagram.

Through Unpublished, Ella’s main aspiration is to break the female journalist stereotype and the common perception that girl magazines only write about topics such as celebrity gossip, makeup tutorials, and diet recommendations.

While there are plenty of female-fronted magazines, Ella allows Unpublished to stand out through its anti-formalist and experimental nature, creating a space where anyone has the chance to showcase their work.

Photo from The Unpublished Site

“We cover a worthy about of topics such as activism and trends. We still occasionally covert topics such as fashion and beauty but from a more raw perspective,” she said.

While she has covered a variety of topics one of her favorite articles included “Keeping Up with the Dangers of Photo Manipulation”, which discusses the dangers of photo editing and how it contributes to the unattainable beauty standard.

Another one of her favorite articles titled “A Family Matter: Armie Hammer’s Lineage of Dark Scandals” dives into the sexual assault allegations of actor Armie Hammer and his dark family heritage. She has additionally written about major celebrities and influencers such as David Dobrik and Lil Nas X. “It ranges from all things that actually matter.”

Tweet from Unpublished discussing ways to support women in journalism

Stepping aside from Unpublished, Ella plans to continue experimenting with reporting and seeks to pursue international journalism. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time creating artwork, especially painting and collage making. She further explains how, unlike her writing, there isn’t a pressure for her artwork to be perfect; instead it’s a therapeutic hobby.

Stepping aside from Unpublished, Ella plans to continue experimenting with reporting and seeks to pursue international journalism. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time creating artwork, especially painting and collage making. She further explains how, unlike her writing, there isn’t a pressure for her artwork to be perfect; instead it’s a therapeutic hobby.