‘A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort’, taking a cue from this quote of Herm Albright, Chennai-based Lead Star Media and Communications has recently launched an online weekly magazine, christened theweekendleader.com, with a self-imposed mandate to focus exclusively on positive news and features.
According to Founder-Editor, PC Vinoj Kumar, “Theweekendleader.com (TWL) is a pioneer in positive journalism, a one of its kind media venture managed by experienced journalists with a self-imposed mandate to focus exclusively on positive news and features.”
Headquartered in Chennai, TWL’s vision is global and driven by universal values. The online magazine runs stories under 10 sections – Causes, Crusade, Culture, Dreams, Heroism, Innovation, Nature, Relationship, Resilience, and Success.
“We will feature people who are working for a change in this country; stories of courage, character, and resilience will get of pride of place here. Stories will be updated every Friday. We will soon be introducing a daily column on positivity, which will be updated Monday to Thursday,” Kumar said.
On Being Positive
So, what is positive journalism? Kumar replied, “This is not about standing in judgment and taking a moral high ground and saying everyone else is practicing negative journalism and we want to do positive journalism. TWL does not aspire to redefine news. We are aware that each media house has a way of looking at news and segmenting it. TWL will look at positive news. We hope to develop a new genre of journalism that would cover only positive news, as business media looks at business news or sports media looks at sports news.”
According to Kumar, positive journalism was nothing but doing positive stories and reports, but at the same time he added that it did not mean that it would be soft and pro establishment. “It can be anti-establishment also. We have sections called ‘Causes’ and ‘Crusade’. In these sections, we will focus on people who take on establishments, who are crusaders, fighters. They could be RTA activists. They could be human rights activists. On the positive side, we are also profiling innovators. For instance, we have done a story on a guy from Coimbatore, who makes herbal cigarettes,” he added.
While looking at these positive issues, TWL would also try to bring an element of entertainment so that the whole thing became complete, he said. The magazine was launched on September 3, 2010. “A week before we launched, we had a preview issue with seven stories. We update seven stories every week and one column called ‘Cheers! A Positive’ column,” Kumar said.
Speaking about the revenue proposition, he said that they would have advertisements on the website. “We are also planning to approach corporates. Corporates are already supporting social initiates and my pitch is that we are encouraging people undertaking social initiatives,” said Kumar.
He understands that it is difficult to retain readers considering that the online magazine is a weekly. In order to retain the readers, Kumar is planning to enhance the website’s presence in social media. “I am talking to some social media experts so that we can have regular updates on social media networks,” he informed.
The magazine also has a section on Citizen Reporters to encourage budding reporters and socially conscious citizens with some writing skills to report positive news from their region. Currently, the magazine has about 40 citizen reporters.
Kumar is an award winning journalist with wide experience in various print and online media. In a journalistic career spanning over a decade and a half, he has reported for a wide range of publications, including Sify.com, Mid-Day, Dainik Bhaskar, Meantime and Tehelka. After a five-year stint with Tehelka, a popular weekly and a respected name in the Indian media, Kumar quit his job in January 2010 to set up TWL, his dream project.
TWL’s Consulting Editor is Sam Rajappa, a veteran journalist with over five decades’ experience in media. Currently Director of The Statesman Print Journalism School, Kolkata, Rajappa started his career in journalism in 1960 as a sub-editor with the Free Press Journal in Mumbai. For about 15 years, since 1980, he was also the BBC’s South India Correspondent. He was an adjunct faculty member of the Chennai-based Asian College of Journalism from 2001-07.