Mainstream news channels and media outlets constantly keep us abreast of what is happening around us, albeit with a sense of shame and shock. News related to alarming levels of pollution, the rise in endangered species, racist violence, crimes against women, economic meltdown, rise in deaths due to diseases sends a shiver down our spines. As much as it is important to know what the world lacks and where we can contribute, daily news channels are left wanting in offering us hope we all crave for. Owing to the rapid pace with which we are approaching the holistic ‘oblivion’, a dose of inspiration, a piece of positivity and a slice of hope is what this world needs. Positive news portals (PNPs) fill this lacuna by showing a sanguine and a cheerful perspective of things happening around us. The billion dollar Mu Sigma story, The Story of Roshini Mukherjee who quit her job to teach 70k students online for free, an Innovator and an NGO who made solar bags for school kids and 9 Indian Ads that deliver a social message have been some of the most viral positive impact stories. Positive News Portals like The Logical Indian(TLI), The Better India(TBI), The Alternative(TA) and YourStory cover stories of ordinary persons and their extraordinary tales, communities and their fight for a social change and many such themes to inspire their readers. These portals share ideas about how technology, innovation & passion can be brought together to make a lasting difference through entrepreneurship and self-initiative.
History of PNPs
The concept of positive journalism started in 2008 when Dhimant and Anuradha Parekh, techie duo from Bengaluru started TBI. “While it is very important to point out what’s wrong with the country, we felt that it is equally important to point out what’s right. The idea that we believe in is that “news” can do something more other than just shock you. It can inspire you to bring an impact, it can move you to change things for the better,” said Dhimant Parekh. Currently operating with a team of 25-30 writers who voluntarily share articles, TBI attracts more than 2 lakh readers every month. As their experiment of bringing positive stories to the limelight worked well, a few more social journalism startups jumped into the space. While YourStory (2008) focuses on stories of entrepreneurship, small business, women entrepreneurs and social stories, The Logical Indian (2013) is a combination of Youth & Patriotism which initially started as a Facebook page to solve real life problems when young Indians started reaching out to them. The Alternative (2013) is India’s most popular magazine that educates about sustainable living by sharing stories of people who are working in that direction.
A young team of writers along with contributors who share the same passion of reporting positive stories fuel the content engine at theses PNPs. Aarti Mohan, Founder of TA and Sattva says, “At TA, we want people to be informed — about issues surrounding the environment, human rights, gender, clean living, low-impact travel — and associated problems and challenges”. The stories published on these platforms have been widely applauded and in turn impacted countless lives.
What they offer and what more is needed
Today, with entrepreneurship taking the center stage, these news portals offer advertising platforms for Small & Medium Businesses (SMBs), events and startups which also serves as a source of income for them. While they kicked off as positive news and content sharing portals, PNPs have given voice to social entrepreneurs, real life change-makers and innovators. Their encouraging acceptance among users can lead to an interesting possibility of a social news TV channel in the near future. Public broadcaster Doordarshan News has far greater viewership than private English news channels and can be a formidable channel to spread positive news.
Currently positive news remains a phenomenon mostly restricted to digital savvy urban reader. According to a study by Pew Research Center, only 20% Indians have access to the internet. This means PNPs still haven’t reached 80% of readers who stay in the hinterlands of India and are potential beneficiaries of such news. If this positive journalism could be covered in regional print dailies as prime news unlike the special and rare mentions in national publications, it could be a boon to every citizen who reads a newspaper in every nook & corner of India!