The Messenger is founded at a time when trust in news media in many parts of the world is at an all-time low. Establishment media are no longer able to maintain a monopoly on publishing and broadcasting. Now anyone with a smart phone and a social account can self-publish, can share his or her view.
The technological revolution that brought about this change – involving the rise and spread of social media networks and mobile technology – has democratized the publishing field. Throughout Africa and the world, young people increasingly are no longer turning to establishment media to hear news and views – they are turning to each other.
While this is liberating in a way, it also leaves societies vulnerable to rumor, hysteria and false news. Governments can switch off social platforms. They can infiltrate social networks. They can employ trolls and leak fabricated documents or images. Interest groups can pay social media companies to run propaganda campaigns – advertising – passing it off as ‘news’. On top of that, without responsible journalistic moderation, the discourse on many social media sites has degenerated into shouting matches and insults.
It becomes harder and more tedious for citizens to cut through the noise, to separate truth from fiction, to know whom to trust and to find a place where they feel at home to read, reflect, discuss and challenge themselves and others in a peaceful and civil way.
A second major problem faces us on many parts of the African continent: state repression. Too many governments, political parties and interest groups believe that the media is merely a means by which to spread their propaganda. And many nominally ‘independent’ media are beholden to economic and political interests that prevent them from crossing unspoken red lines. In the meantime, efforts to address the ‘press freedom’ question by Western governments, which are funding media in a number of East African countries, have usually been ineffective at best, cynical and harmful at worst. They end up creating media that proclaim a political or development agenda without bringing out enough serious reporting and investigations.
In too many places and in too many ways, journalism is broken.
But that does not mean we should abandon it. What’s needed are initiatives by journalists for communities of readers that value journalism – truth-telling, story-telling, learning, discussion and discourse. Initiatives that tell the stories that establishment media have neglected. That pursue the line of inquiry just past where the establishment media stopped. That don’t cave to money or power. That build a relationship of trust with their audiences.
The Messenger is one such initiative. It’s not for everyone. It’s not “mass media.” It’s intelligent media. Our name says a lot about who we are: we’re that necessary intermediary between you and the story – a faithful messenger, a correspondent, a reporter – whatever you want to call it. Because somebody has to do the dirty work of traveling to where the story is, of putting the right questions to the politicians, photographing the event as it happens, and, ultimately, writing and dispatching that most important of messages – our reporting – to you, the reader.
What’s different about The Messenger?
- Superior readability
- Top calibre reporters, editors
- No pop-ups, no babble
- Exclusives, fact sheets and analysis
- Long-form and investigative journalism
- Founded and run by actual journalists
Unlike other media, where you may lose focus and energy scrolling past adverts, clickbait, inane commentary, irrelevant promotions, etc, The Messenger offers an alternative experience: smart news, intelligently curated, originally reported, cutting through the noise, leaving out the babble, honing in on the essential, the new, the outstanding, delivered to you directly at regularly scheduled intervals.
Reliable. Clean. Intelligent.
The Messenger offers a contemplative, in-depth, analytical experience for readers seriously interested in the society, politics, and economy of the East Africa region, including Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan and beyond.
We are independent, privately owned and operated. We offer coverage of diverse views, issues and areas within East Africa, aspiring to serve our readers without fear or favor.
How does it work?
We offer Reading Plans that encourage you to stay up-to-date on international news from East Africa without being overwhelmed. Our most basic Reading Plan (which is free) provides you with a selection of articles every week delivered to your email. Sign up now: