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Q&A | Riyanni Djangkaru

Riyanni Djangkaru, the editor in chief of Divemag Indonesia, speaks about her passion for conservation and diving

Please tell us about yourself?

I’m just a lucky, tanned girl who lives in Indonesia, one of the best archipelagos full colourful dive sites.  

That’s very modest...

Okay, I’m a full time mum of a 5 year-old son, scuba diver, editor in chief, CEO and never give up promoting Indonesian tourism potentials.

How do you juggle all these different roles?

I have no idea. It just happened. [laughs]

Please tell us about your usual day?

Besides taking care of my son and driving him to school, I play football, dive, hike or rollerblade with my friends, I give interviews and tweet a lot, relax in a spa...and I sometimes go on dates.

How did you get involved in diving?

I hosted a TV documentary programme for almost nine years. I had to climb mountains, trek through the remote jungle, mingle with indigenous tribes and of course went scuba diving. In 2003, we reported on dive spots around the Indonesian islands Takabonerate and Bunaken. Those areas are some of the most well known dive sites of the country. I got my open water diving license and never looked back. I badly injured my back during a downhill mountain biking trip. One of the adventures that I can still do at lower risk is being in the water. I’m not really into surfing, but diving makes me feel more relaxed, I just found my soul there. The colourful corals, small and big fish, nudibranches, all the shapes and colour combinations are all things I did not imagine happening underwater.  

 What fascinates you about the underwater world?

Well, the beauty is always the first attraction. But the more I get into it, the more I feel connected to the ocean. It’s the circle of life that connects all the species to us humans. It’s easy to spread awareness about protecting the ocean among local people who live on the island

What is your most memorable underwater moment?

Diving with whale sharks at Nabire in the Papua province of Indonesia. There were nine of them, the biggest one was almost eight metres long. There were all swimming around a fisherman’s net. After the first dive, we went up and jumped back in again to snorkel for almost two hours with these friendly creatures.  

And now you’re the editor of an Indonesian scuba diving magazine…

In 2010, me and some friends launched the diver’s lifestyle magazine Divemag Indonesia.

What sparked the idea?

So I can dive for free? [laughs] The basic idea was to help with the conservation of the Indonesian ocean.

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You say it’s a lifestyle magazine...

I realised my passion is the underwater world and I wanted to share the experience, that’s why we made this magazine – not only to promote diving, but also the lifestyle that goes along with it. I believe that to be a diver, we have to pay attention to our daily life. It’s not only about saving the money for a good dive trip, but also about our habits, staying fit and gaining a better understanding of conservation for example. Only few Indonesians understand their responsibility. The challenge is, to make people aware of their ‘identity’ and the potential Indonesia has as archipelago country. Almost all of the government conservation programmes were focussing on terrestrial conservation. The idea of the ocean was more related to the fishing industry rather than being a place that Indonesians should know or learn more about.

Promoting Indonesia’s underwater world to its people is a big job. How can people say they’re Indonesian, if the biggest part of their country is a big black hole of unknown area? I have experience in working with the media, so why not the get these ideas out there?  

How do you reach people?

So, we knew it was going to be really hard to encourage people to care about the ocean if they have never heard about the beauty, the magic or the species of the ocean. There is a big group of people that really has potential to do more for our oceans – the non-divers and beginners to diving. They are all so thirsty for information, but too afraid or maybe too lazy to read something ‘too technical’ in regular diving magazines. We are trying to get their attention through visual stimulation. Not only photos but also design that is easy and edgy, down to earth and with sentences that are easy to digest, with slang words if necessary. We made the magazine for free to reach more people and put it in coffee shops, cafés, hotels, and dive shops. People were attracted by the beauty, they loved it, got curious and started diving. Finally they’ll want to preserve the beauty they’re enjoying so much.

How important, do you think is your publicity for the magazine’s success?

Very important. I mean, what is the use of my knowledge if I don’t share it?I already have connections to publishers and some members of our team have their own network. One of our stakeholders is a public figure. We’re using all of our resources to make it public. Indonesian people are into social media, so that’s another marketing tool we use. Besides our website (www.divemagindonesia.com) we got a Facebook (Divemag Indonesia) and Twitter account (@divemag_indo) and each member of our team has their own accounts to support the magazine. We host events at schools and in shopping malls to promote diving. We’re attacking people’s mind.

Tell us about the future. Where are you taking it from here?

We’d like to publish Divemag as tablet application. If we dare to talk about lifestyle, we have to provide the access. That’s why we’re also promoting our dive trips, merchandise and events. In a few months, we’ll have our own coffee shop with beer corner, a place where all divers and wannabe-divers can gather, share stories and ideas





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