A number of publications in the Diaspora specialize in reporting to Africans abroad and on the continent. Some reach out to all Africans, while some appeal to specific African regions or ethnic groups. The on-line publication “Masharikileo.com” is one example of a regionally-focused publication. “Masharikileo” is Swahili for “East Africa Today.” It is published in Chicago.
Symon Ogeto is the editor and publisher of this online periodical. He told VOA English to Africa reporter Angel Tabe why “Masharikileo.com” focuses on a specific region.
“East Africa represents a unique niche for me because I am from Kenya myself, the cultures are not that varied and Swahili unites all these and… the diversity is hard to [document in one single publication], so Masharikileo is to slice Africa into a ‘bite what you can chew,’” he said.
Ogeto says focusing on one region has paid off far beyond his expectations.
“We actually have an average of 5,000 readers and 400 thousand hits. Google picked us up as one of its news outlets, something that we did not expect.”
Ogeto says publishing in the US has certain advantages.
“Objectivity is lacking in most African publications, and of course we don’t have a problem publishing credible copy. Something that The Monitor (A Ugandan newspaper) may experience because they are not on good terms with the government. Operating out of the United States we experience some press freedom.”
The editor explains the major goals of his publication.
“Getting people to understand the bigger vision of Masharikileo.com. We also want people who have investment interest in East Africa to go there and establish friendships.”
Ogeto says he is impressed by the growing number of cyber-cafes in East Africa and says this phenomenon can increase the readership of “Masharikileo.com,” and improve the communication of information to the region.
He says when Barrack Obama was running for an Illinois senate seat periodicals in Africa depended on his web-site for information.
“We happened to be the only publication on the ground. In fact, The Standard (a Kenyan newspaper) pretty much lifted a story from our publication to get the leaders in Kenya to know what’s going on with this emerging senator in Chicago who has got roots in Kenya. We [also] broke a story where a senior government official had actually been recalled, but nobody in Kenya knew about that. People have actually had information such as scholarships that we put up and pursued them; so, we actually have seen Masharikileo improving society as an informer.”
For additional information please visit the newspaper website: http://www.masharikileo.com/mm-specialfeatures.htm
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