Today March 2, Kenya’s version of the Good News Network goes live in a move the founder says will change the face of Africa for good.
Positive Press Agency is a new start up media agency founded by Charles Gichane, who works as a Business anchor and reporter for CapitalFM in Nairobi Kenya.
According to Gichane, “Most news consumed by Kenyans and Africans at large is often negative or slanted to push for tragedy in order to create an emotional bond with viewers — but we at PPA feel this model is flawed and designed to keep people in fear.”
Tragic stories that involve murder, corruption, rape and crime often dominate headlines in the local Dailies and online creating an environment that is susceptible to violence because our media platforms have made TRAGEDY the norm — all in the name of profit.
Gichane adds, “At PPA we will strive to look at news from a positive angle and perspective — so instead of publishing a tragic story
following a terrorist attack, we will look to tell the story of the HEROIC young boy who risked his life in order to rush his youngest sister to the nearest hospital. Instead of starting the story with the tragic angle, we would begin to tell the story of how a young boy saved his sisters life — before telling the reader the full scope of the story.”
This model of telling the news would be a complete paradigm shift and an obvious optimistic and perhaps naive attempt at shaping the narrative so that it reflects a positive society. Gichane also says he believes this is not only possible, but it will be adopted very quickly by other media houses.
For PPA — the added competition is a blessing in disguise because it will help push other media houses – with greater numbers in terms of viewership and readership — to start telling the news using the positive paradigm that PPA intends to make the NORM.
Here is the full interview.
When was it launched?
We will be launching this Saturday March 2 2013.
Who are its founders?
I am the founder (Charles Muraguri Gichane). My nickname is “Mura” a shortened version of Muraguri, which means “medicine man” in Kikuyu. Kikuyu is my mother tongue and Kenya is where I was born two days before Valentines on February 12th 1988. I was raised in North America and I’ve spent 17 years in Canada and America (Toronto, Vancouver, New York) but I recently moved back to Nairobi, Kenya after graduating from Syracuse University in 2010 with a bachelors degree in Broadcast Journalism. Therefore, I’m Kenyan-Canadian-American…a walking triple entendre!
- I’m a writer.
- A poet.
- A journalist.
- A story teller.
- A positive thinking addict.
- A music (hip-hop) enthusiast.
- An NBA fanatic.
- A hopeless romantic.
- A service based human being who wants to change the world by being the change the world needs.
- I love: to love, to laugh, to live, to listen, and to learn.
- I would be nothing without my family and friends.
What inspired you?
I grew up in Canada and the United States and for a long time I came to resent and even feel ashamed of being African — due to the images and stories that I’d watch on TV, hear on the radio or read online. Everything about the continent seemed polluted and negative — and until I finally came back to visit (after a 10 year gap) just before going to Syracuse University to study Journalism, I always tried to distance myself from my African heritage.
When I came to visit in 2006, My entire Outlook of Africa changed once I saw the people and the environment itself. Since then, my goal has always been to create a media company that changes the narrative on Africa as well as completely transforming the story telling paradigm, so that news is told from a positive angle instead of the tragedy based model most organizations use today.
My goal has always been to become a successful independent freelance journalist covering stories that reflect issues that I’m passionate about.
Being born in Kenya, yet having lived the majority of my life in Canada and the United States has allowed me to expand my view of the world, while giving me opportunities in educational advancement that would have been harder to achieve while in Africa.
Although I’m grateful for my experiences in North America, I came to the realization a long time ago that the greatest good I can do with my skills and talents is to aid other Africans who seek to have a voice in the media and business world; a world strictly regulated and monitored by dictatorship governments ruling the developing continent.
As a journalist, my responsibility is to tell their stories through a positive lens and not through the lens of the international media, which often chooses to focus on the negative aspects of Africa such as warfare, crime, disease, and corruption. Although many of these issues exist in Africa, I’ve also been overjoyed to realize that the spirit of human beings transcends such negative circumstances, as people in Kenya have proved to be warmhearted, loving, kind, and generous citizens in the midst of such dire environments.
My ultimate career goal, which is now being realized, is to develop a media company, which I’ve named “PositivePressAgency” or PPA, highlighting the good taking place in Kenya and Africa as a whole, in hopes of changing the global perception of the country/continent.
“PositivePressAgency” will use media in the form of radio, print, television, films, online blogs, and traditional African orature (theater, plays, spoken word, etc) to provide a comprehensive DIGITAL platform showcasing the great things Kenyans and Africans in general are doing to better their communities in order to contribute positive change.
Is PPA promising?
The timing of this launch is very strategic as we hope to be the voice of the voiceless during the upcoming General Election on March 4th. Our website, www.positivepressagency.com is currently averaging 100,000 viewers per month, with 30% of the views coming from Kenya.
At the moment, we are popular among the youth, as well as the middle class working population around the country who are savvy on social media or regularly receive their news off the web.
We have a team of about 20 young men and women in Nairobi who are passionate about promoting peace during the upcoming election, in addition to three members who are working from New Jersey, New York City and Rome (for the moment).
We also have a team of about 10 contributors from all over the world who will be sharing our content with their networks to help balance out the news that the international community is getting from CNN, Reuters, AP and BBC, while providing us with their local content so we can provide it for our readers.
Using our positive story telling model, we hope to showcase the positive things that Kenyans are doing in 2013 to make sure these elections remain PEACEFUL.
How will it sustain itself?
PPA has partnered with various companies in Kenya and around the world to provide a product and service that is unmatched in the market. We will be launching on March 2. Please attend to learn more.
Any competition in any of the countries you are in?
We don’t believe any media agency is doing what we’re doing in terms of telling the story using our positive model or focusing on Africa and our region in order to create wealth through the exchange of information and ideas.
How unique are you from them?
PPA will not advertise on our website using banners or other Pop up ads…We will always remain ad free — the way we will be able to work with companies is by TELLING their stories to consumers so that the people make up their own minds whether the product is for them.
Here are some examples of how we will market companies and organizations. –> http://positivepressagency.com/good-news-2/david-vs-goliath-tangaza-money-takes-on-m-pesa-in-mobile-money-transfers-tangazapesa1/
We also feature models, designers, music artists, poets, columnists, bloggers etc.
Any funding yet? How much? From who?
We are completely self funded at the moment.
The ups and downs of being a new company — the challenge of trying to change a model of telling the news that has been ingrained and entrenched within society — it will be hard to convince people that negativity doesn’t make a news story better or more compelling — the media has made that the norm, but that doesn’t have to be the case! That is our uphill battle, but we are more than ready to meet the challenge!
Any upcoming developments, like this this month, next month or in a few months?
There will be many events in the upcoming weeks surrounding PEACE and Breast Cancer Awareness. We are socially responsible FIRST –as a company, that is our foundation — so every few months we will support a new initiative.
Any achievements to date?
We are 3 weeks old as a company and we are at about 100,000 views per month — with over 60 percent coming from the States, but 30+ percent coming from Kenya — but Kenya is quickly catching up and should overtake America by May.
We have been approached and interviewed by http://www.africanachievers.org — nominated as one of the African Achiever Awards to be given out at a later date — and we are partnering with them in order to promote both companies here in East Africa — more details to come soon.